By Simon Evans
MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) -Crowd capacity at Wembley Stadium will be increased to more than 60,000 fans for the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020, the British government said on Tuesday.
The new levels mean the stadium will be at 75% capacity for the final three games, which conclude with the final on July 11.
All ticket holders will need to have either a negative COVID-19 test or proof of full vaccination – two doses received 14 days before the fixture.
The announcement came after Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi called on Monday for the final to be moved from England due to rising COVID-19 cases in the country.
Wembley’s capacity has been set at 22,500 for the three group and the round of 16 match between Italy and Austria on June 26 but will rise to 40,000 for the other round of 16 match on June 29 which could feature England.
“We are thrilled that more fans will now be able to walk through the Wembley turnstiles and enjoy the finals of Euro 2020,” said culture secretary Oliver Dowden.
“As we continue to make progress on our roadmap out of lockdown, keeping the public safe remains our top priority. We have worked extremely closely with UEFA and the FA to ensure rigorous and tight public health measures are in place whilst allowing more fans to see the action live,” he said.
UEFA has been negotiating with the UK government about relaxing quarantine restrictions on overseas fans travelling to London for games but there was no mention of any change in the statement.
Currently, COVID-19 regulations require visitors from most European countries to quarantine for 10 days after arriving in the UK.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin welcomed the increased capacity and thanked the UK government for the move.
“This tournament has been a beacon of hope to reassure people that we are returning to a more normal way of life and this is a further step along that road,” he said.
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Simon Jennings)