Euro 2020: Nicola Sturgeon says getting Tartan Army to Hampden to cheer on Scotland is reason to stick to Covid rules
Nicola Sturgeon has said she is hopeful that Scotland can host Euro 2020 matches this summer – but she insists it is too soon to tell if fans will be in attendance.
Hampden Park is set to host four games – three group-stage fixtures including Scotland s clashes with Czech Republic and Croatia, as well as a last-16 clash – but the national stadium risks being dropped as a venue.
According to reports, the European governing body are growing increasingly concerned over the Scottish Government’s lack of commitment when it comes to admitting fans during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tournament host cities have been told to give their most realistic assessment of stadium capacities by April 7.
However, in response to whether or not Euro 2020 matches will take place at Hampden this summer, Ms Sturgeon said during the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing on Friday she is “hopeful” the games can go ahead at the national stadium.
The First Minister told the briefing: “I certainly hope so. Nobody wants to lose the Euros, and I don’t think we should be in the position right now of thinking that is the case.
“There is a deadline that all countries have to give and indication to UEFA what they think will be possible in terms of fan attendance and fan zones.
“All countries are grappling with this, not just Scotland, and as Jason [Leitch] has just said in relation to international travel, we are standing here on March 5 and while we are really hopeful, and I think you are getting signs of a lot of optimism from us today.
“Looking too far ahead is just difficult to do, but let me be clear, we are absolutely intent on having Hampden as a host stadium for the Euros.
“We’ve always been keen on it – and now more so that we have the opportunity to see Scotland play there as well.”
Commenting on Ms Sturgeon's statement, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “As a huge fan of our national team, I know how terrible it would be if Scotland could no longer host these fixtures.
“Public health must always be the number one priority but I would urge the SNP Government to get round the table with the footballing authorities as soon as possible.
“Our fans deserve to see Euros matches kick off in Scotland and every effort must be put into making sure that happens.
“The UK's world leading vaccine rollout has made the possible return of fans possible. Let's hope the SNP get this right and find a solution.”
During Friday’s briefing, Ms Sturgeon said: “The good progress of the vaccination programme and also the declining number of people catching or falling seriously ill with Covid should give us all real encouragement just now that greater normality is firmly on the horizon.”
The First Minister also said that she was “hopeful” the Scottish Government may on Tuesday be able to announce some “relatively minor but important changes” to the rules around meeting people out of doors and young people seeing their friends out of doors.”