UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has expressed optimism that fans could be allowed to attend matches at the rearranged Euro 2020 finals this summer.
The governing body confirmed it was sticking with plans to stage games in 12 different cities across the continent.
Speculation had been growing that the finals – scheduled for June 11 to July 11 – could instead be focused in one country to cut down on travel at a time when considerable restrictions still apply and there is no timetable for them to be lifted.
But following a meeting of host associations on Wednesday, UEFA said it was not shifting from its original plan, under which games will be staged in locations stretching from Dublin to Baku, with the semi-finals and final due to take place at Wembley Stadium.
In a routine meeting with the host associations/organisers of the tournament, UEFA has repeated its commitment to holding UEFA EURO 2020 across 12 cities as per the already published timetable. Full details here 👇
— UEFA (@UEFA) January 27, 2021
Ceferin said: “UEFA is committed to holding Euro 2020 in the 12 cities originally planned. The Euro is the flagship competition for national team football in Europe and is a vital source of funding for grassroots and wider football development.
“I am optimistic that things are highly likely to be very different with regard to the virus as we move closer to the tournament and it is important that we give the host cities and governments as much time as we can to formulate an accurate picture of what will be possible come June and July.
“Fans are such a big part of what makes football special and that is true of the Euro as much as it is of any game. We must allow ourselves the maximum space to allow their return to the stadiums.”
Host associations had been asked to submit plans to accept fans in a number of different scenarios by March 5, but that deadline has now been extended until early April.