The European Football Championship begins a year later, the test of the pandemic era
Postponed for a year, the biggest sporting event since the coronavirus brought the world to a standstill opened on Friday at the Olympic Stadium in Rome-a milestone for European and world sports.
The first game of the European Football Championship will be held in the Italian capital. Italy is the first country outside of Asia to be affected by the pandemic and the first country in the world to implement a national blockade.
After experiencing the darkest chapter in the history of the African continent since World War II, this championship represents an important step forward on the road to recovery. More than 1 million Europeans were killed in the pandemic, including nearly 127,000 Italians.
Italian coach Roberto Mancini tested positive for COVID-19 in November without any symptoms. He said: “After everything that happened, the situation is improving now and I think it’s time to start serving the fans. Provide something that satisfies them.”
In March last year, when countries scrambled to control the virus outbreak and major sporting events around the world were cancelled or put on hold, the game was postponed.
Although major single-day sports events have been held in recent weeks-Super Bowl, Indy 500, Champions League final and Canelo Alvarez boxing match in Texas, attracting 73,000 fans-2020 The European Cup brought tens of thousands of fans across the continent in the stadium. Organizers hope that measures including crowd restrictions, staggered arrival times for fans, social distancing rules and a large amount of hand sanitizer will help prevent a recurrence of the virus infection, which has seen a sharp decline in the number of infections in Europe in recent months.
In Rome, fans entering the stadium must carry documents proving that they have been vaccinated against the virus, tested negative within 48 hours before the game, or are sick.
Competitions in 11 countries
After Colombia and Argentina withdrew from their hosting responsibilities due to pandemic-related reasons, the sports world is paying close attention to the game and the Copa America football game that opens in Brazil a few days later. If all goes well, the 2020 European Cup can boost confidence in other major sporting events, such as the Tokyo Olympics scheduled to open on July 23-also a year too late. If not, it will be a serious setback and may have an impact beyond football.
The virus has already had an impact on the tournament, and this is the first time it has not been hosted by one or two countries. The 51 games will be played in 11 cities on the European continent, with Rome and London participating alongside Amsterdam, Baku, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, Munich, Seville and St. Petersburg.
The final is now scheduled for July 11th at Wembley Stadium in London.
Italy’s first match against Turkey will gather the largest crowd in the country since the total blockade 15 months ago. It is estimated that there will be approximately 16,000 fans in the stadium, accounting for 25% of its capacity.
In Rome and elsewhere in Italy, most virus restrictions have been lifted. The midnight curfew and the requirement to wear a mask when going out are the most tangible ways that the pandemic still affects citizens’ daily lives.
Spain captain Sergio Busquets has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be absent from Monday’s first game against Sweden in Seville. Another Spanish player tested positive, as did the two Swedish players. The Spanish team was vaccinated on Friday.
On Friday, Russian winger Andrey Mostovoy became the first player to be waived by the national team after testing positive.