Another blow was expected to hit football fans in England as current nationwide restrictions may prevent them from watching Euro 2020 matches in pubs across the country. Government chiefs announced this week that they will extend their COVID-19 lockdown powers until July. The most glorious 24-team tournament will now take place from June 11 to July 11 in 2021.
Earlier this year, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a televised address that the country will be under a nationwide lockdown similar to what they imposed March last year. The measures, which include the closure of primary and secondary schools, restaurants and pubs, were effective immediately.Johnson also warned that the coming weeks would be the “hardest yet.”
Although the newly-formed powers do not mean a new strict lockdown, which were due to expire next week, the said rules will give local authorities the ability to close venues and tape-off public areas if they see fit to control the spread of the coronavirus infection. Johnson initially set a mid-February target for lifting restrictions, only to concede it is “too early to say” if that is still the case earlier this week.
Before the previous lockdown was lifted in UK last December, Johnson announced that spectators will be allowed to attend events in stadiums in England under tier systems. Under the tier system, outdoors stadiums in “tier 1” areas will be permitted to hold up to 4,000 spectators, while grounds viewed to be high risk will be on “tier 2” can welcome up to 2,000 fans or half of their maximum capacity.
At the time of writing, there are more than 3 million infected in the UK, with almost a million active cases and deaths. The country has among the highest death rates per capita from COVID-19 in the world. Before the New Year, a new strain of infection was found in Europe, which caused more infection in the region as this new strain is up to 70% more contagious than the previous.
England are currently scheduled to play two World Cup qualifiers in March 2021 before Euro 2020 kicks off in June. They were seeded in the top pot and were drawn against Poland, Hungary, Albania, Andorra and San Marino in the qualifiers in March and could continue for 12 months if England need the play-offs to reach Qatar in 2022. Southgate led England to the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
In 2019, Southgate’s Three Lions celebrated their 1,000th game in style as they booked their place in Euro 2020, thrashingMontenegro 7-0 to top Group A. Captain Harry Kane moved to sixth in England’s list of leading scorers as a first-half hat-trick took his tally to 31, overhauling Frank Lampard, Alan Shearer, Nat Lofthouse and Tom Finney.