Football VIPs will be allowed to visit the UK without having to quarantine as part of a deal to keep the Euro 2020 finals in England, according to reports.
Ministers are reportedly set to agree a deal with UEFA which will exempt officials, politicians and sponsors from the UK’s travel restrictions in order to attend the semi-finals and final at Wembley.
But the VIPs, who are thought to number in the ‘low thousands’, will have to remain in a ‘bubble’ during their visit, reports suggest.
The reported deal comes after UEFA threatened to move the semi-finals and final of the tournament to Hungary unless the UK Government eased travel restrictions for its officials and sponsors.
As part of the deal, around 2,500 VIPs would be allowed into the country and be given special permission to bypass usual travel restrictions, according to the Times.
Currently, most of Europe is on the UK’s ‘amber list’, which would usually force arrivals into a self-imposed quarantine for 10 days.
But, under the plans, which according to the Telegraph were negotiated by Boris Johnson’s football-loving chief of staff, Dan Rosenfield, a window for quarantine free entry will be opened for Uefa VIP’s a day before the first semi-final at Wembley on July 6.
Football VIPs will be allowed to visit the UK without quarantine as part of a deal to keep the Euro 2020 finals in England, according to reports
As part of the deal, around 2,500 Uefa VIPs would be allowed into the country and be given special permission to bypass travel restrictions, according to the Times. Pictured: Fans arrive at Wembley on Tuesday for the game between England and Czech Republic
According to the paper, the window will remain in place until after the final, which is being played on July 11.
The VIPs will need to provide a negative test before leaving for the UK, and will have to undergo testing during their stay, according to the reports.
Only arrivals from a handful of countries are on the UK’s travel green list (pictured) and are allowed to enter without having to quarantine. Most of Europe is on the amber list, which requires up to 10 days in self-isolation
The VIPs will also be restricted to staying in selected hotels and to official meetings and matches.
However, according to the Times, most of the VIPs will fly in and out on the same day as the match they are attending.
It comes as the Government yesterday confirmed 60,000 fans will be allowed to attend the semi-finals and final at Wembley next month.
The move means the London-stadium, the England team’s national ground, will be at 75 per cent capacity.
Yesterday, Aleksander Ceferin, the president of Uefa, said: ‘It is great news that so many fans will be able to watch the final three matches of the Euro 2020 at Wembley.
‘The last 18 months have taught us — both on and off the pitch — how integral fans are to the fabric of the game.
‘This tournament has been a beacon of hope to reassure people that we are returning to a more normal way of life and this is a further step along that road.
‘I am grateful to the prime minister and the UK government for their hard work in finalising these arrangements with us, to make the tournament final stages a great success in Wembley.’
It is understood that Uefa chiefs had raised concerns about the UK’s travel restrictions and are believed to have considered moving the semi-finals and finals to the Puskas Arena in Hungary (pictured)
Yesterday, Aleksander Ceferin (pictured left), the president of Uefa, described the decision to allow more fans at Wembley as ‘great news’. Meanwhile, former Cabinet Minister David Davis (pictured right) told the Telegraph he thought the deal to allow VIPs in without quarantine was ‘morally inconsistent’
However, the move to allow VIPs quarantine-free travel has been criticised by Tory MP’s, who described it as ‘morally inconsistent’.
Former Cabinet Minister David Davis told the Telegraph: ‘We have been talking about restricting our own citizens on the basis they are, or are not, vaccinated, yet just because we came under a little bit of pressure we give in to allowing 2,500 people who don’t need to be here.
‘It is morally inconsistent with the stance that we have taken with our own citizens.’
It comes after Mr Ceferin told the Government last week the UK’s border restrictions were too strict compared with those in the EU and that other cities were willing and able to host matches due to be played at Wembley.
There were concerns that Uefa could dramatically move the two semi-finals and final to Budapest, which has hosted two games of the European Championship in front of a full, 60,000 capacity at the Puskas Arena.
Meanwhile, there were 22,500 fans at England v Scotland at Wembley on Friday.
Primer Minister Boris Johnson admitted yesterday that the Government would speak to Uefa and ‘see if we can make some sensible accommodations, but the priority obviously has to be public health’.
Yesterday a top epidemiologist said that an exemption for VIPs would not be that big a deal.
Capacity was capped at 22,500 for England’s game against Scotland at Wembley on Friday
Sage member Professor John Edmunds told Times Radio: ‘The rates of cases in Europe are generally lower than they are here in the UK. And in particular, if we look at the things that we’re really nervous about, which would be the Delta variant, and then the rates are much, much lower than they are here. So you know, overall … I don’t think it’s really going to be the major problem for us.
‘I don’t think it’s going to change the course of the epidemic in the UK.’
With the exception of England, Wales and Scotland, every national team competing at Euro 2020 apart from red-listed Turkey is on the amber list.
Up to 10 days’ self-isolation is needed for those returning from amber and red destinations. If approved by the Cabinet’s Covid-O committee and passed by Parliament, the changes could result in a small number of red-list travellers avoiding quarantine.
Last month, the Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea was almost moved to Wembley but the government were not prepared to budge on restrictions on VIPs, so it was played in Portugal.