Merkels Euro 2020 nightmare: Germany on thin ice as panic over tournament erupted

Angela Merkel: German citizen slams COVID-19 rule 'chaos'

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EU leaders have been pushed by Mrs Merkel to tighten quarantine rules on tourists arriving from Britain. The move is intended to stop the spread of the delta variant which accounts for almost all coronavirus cases in the UK. A number of EU top brass have now sided with Mrs Merkel, including the likes of French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minster Mario Draghi.

Her urgent calls have even spread to the Euro 2020 games that have taken place across Europe.

Since the beginning of the tournament, strict quarantine rules in Germany have thrown into question the logistics of teams travelling to and from the country.

Britons arriving in Germany must self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.

Yet, two teams from last 16 qualifiers Belgium, Portugal, Austria and Italy are set to have their quarter-final showdown in Munich.

Many are currently unsure how this might pan out.

This week, Mrs Merkel further hinted at Euros pandemonium after she addressed the Bundestag.

Talking to lawmakers, she said: “The pandemic is not over yet.

“We are still on thin ice.”

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Germany’s coronavirus restrictions will force UEFA, European football’s governing body, to make a decision on the games in the near future.

DW.com noted: “Unless UEFA negotiates an exception, this game would seemingly not be able to take place as planned. London’s Wembley Stadium is hosting the semi-finals and final of the Euros.

“Additionally, it would appear that Germany players would have to quarantine for two weeks on their return to Germany should they play in the latter stages in London.

“There may be other major knock-on effects for teams playing in London and Glasgow who may end up playing in Munich.

“Non-German residents are currently not allowed in at all if coming from Britain.”

UEFA said it was looking into the matter.

Mrs Merkel’s own party has backed her plans, many even urging the Chancellor to go further.

Peter Liese, a German MEP of her CDU Party, urged the footballing body to move matches from the UK.

In a statement, he said: “Our health is a priority.

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“The spread of the Delta variant makes it impossible for 40,000 spectators to view the final match in London’s stadium.

“The alternative venues should not be chosen by UEFA according to where the most spectators are allowed, but according to which stadium or city has the best hygiene concept and where health protection is best guaranteed.”

The Chancellor has fallen short of suggesting games be taken away from the UK.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has voiced “concern” about lockdown restrictions easing in hoisting Euro 2020 countries.

This week, the UK announced that it would increase the number of people who can attend Wembley for the semis-final and final of the competition to more than 60,000, 75 percent of the stadium’s capacity.

It means the events will see the largest crowds at UK sporting events for more than 15 months.

On hearing the news, WHO official Robb Butler told Sky News: “WHO is concerned about easing of restrictions in some of the host countries.

“A few of the stadiums hosting the tournament are now increasing the number of spectators allowed in the stadium to watch a game.

“In a few of the host cities, COVID-19 cases are already on the rise in the area where matches will be held.

“Learning from experience, we must act fast on signals showing increasing cases – expanding testing and sequencing; stepping up contact tracing; and building very high vaccine uptake fast among those vulnerable and most at risk.”

The WHO’s comments will likely boost Mrs Merkel’s calls.

Currently, all ticket holders for the matches on July 6, 7 and 11 must be able to show a negative COVID-19 test or proof of full vaccination, 14 days before each fixture.

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