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Will Uefa stick to 12 cities plan for Euros and what are prospects for Tartan Army to attend games?

Hampden before a Scotland game.
Hampden before a Scotland game.

Now Scotland have qualified for the Euros, eager members of the Tartan Army will be desperate for confirmation of where the group games are taking place.

More important, will be their desire to know whether it’s likely they can attend the Dark Blues’ first major tournament campaign for 22 years.

‘It’s the monkey off the back now’: Scotland goal hero Ryan Christie elated as Steve Clarke’s side book Euro 2020 place

UEFA’s plan for Euro 2020 – already delayed from this summer to next because of the Covid-19 pandemic – is to host matches in 12 cities across 12 different countries, including at Hampden in Glasgow.

As a result, Scotland’s games in group D against the Czech Republic (Hampden, June 14), eternal rivals England (Wembley, June 18) and Croatia (Hampden, June 22) are a dream, set to be close to home for Scotland players and fans alike.

A change of plan?

Recent reports suggested, because of coronavirus and the inherent difficulties of air travel when different countries have varying restrictions, the European governing body was now considering holding the entire tournament in Russia, abandoning the 12 cities plan.

Russia hosted the last World Cup, in 2018.

However, Uefa released a statement denying the change of plan, although they added the unsurprising caveat about the Covid-19 pandemic being a fluid situation, saying: “UEFA intends to hold Euro 2020 in the format and the venues confirmed earlier this year and we are working closely with all host cities on preparations.

“Given the uncertainties surrounding Covid – over which neither UEFA nor the local organising bodies have control – it is currently too early to say whether those games in June and July will have restrictions either on fans or even their staging.

“UEFA’s efforts are currently focused on planning for a tournament in all 12 venues with fans.

“Decisions that run counter to that plan could be made much nearer the time if necessary, but there are presently no plans to change any venue.”

So, with recent good news about the prospect of an effective coronavirus vaccine on the horizon for spring, and the fact national teams have frequently been travelling to play games during amid the pandemic already, it appears there is still hope Scotland’s group games will go ahead at Hampden and Wembley in June.

Will fans be able to cheer Scotland on?

The original aim of hosting the Euros across the continent was to open up access to as many supporters as possible in its 60th year.

Whether supporters will actually be allowed to attend games and in what numbers is a harder question to answer at the moment, although from Uefa’s statement above it is clear they are hoping fans will be in the grounds for the matches.

Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin recently told German media contingency plans are being made, saying Uefa “are considering how to do it with fans, without fans, or with 30, 50 or 70 percent (of capacity in stadiums)”.

In Scotland specifically, the five-tier system introduced by the Scottish Government, and the subsequent relaxation of the rules in some areas, has started the process of fans coming back to football stadia.

At the weekend, 300 fans watched Ross County draw with Livingston in Dingwall, with hopes teams like the Staggies will be able to steadily increase numbers of supporters over the rest of the campaign.

Fans return to the stands at Dingwall as the Highlands are moved into tier 1 of coronavirus restrictions.

Of course, Glasgow is in tier 3, not tier 1 like Dingwall, but Scotland fans across the country will hope a reduction in cases and improved medical means to prevent the spread of coronavirus at the beginning of 2021 will see grounds in the Central Belt, like Hampden, open up again.

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