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UEFA warning shows football is not just about the fans

UEFA warning shows football is not just about the fans

“Custodians of football”

It was not that long ago that the stance taken by UEFA against the attempted creation of the European Super League was lauded by most, who labeled them as the custodians of football. But that view may quickly shift amidst threats from the governing body that Wembley could lose its status as the host venue for the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020.

Per The Times, UEFA has warned that England’s national ground will be stripped of its status if the UK government does not provide quarantine exception status for up to 2,500 officials. This would mean that the VIPs in question would not have to remain in 10-day isolation upon entering the country, and would also be allowed to attend national team training sessions, government-level meetings, and also attend the semi-final and final matches.

Concerns were immediately raised that this could have an effect on the country, potentially increasing Covid-19 infections, whilst also causing considerable backlash from the British public amidst the notion that those of a certain social stratum are not subject to the same rules and restrictions.

UEFA already receiving criticism

Crystal Palace midfielder Andros Townsend already took to social media in the wake of the statement made by UEFA, with the Eagles forward referencing previous remarks made by the governing body regarding the notion that football is for the fans. UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin was widely praised for his stance on the Super League, directly stating that the competitive nature of football is closely tied to an undeniable emotional bond for fans and the general public as a whole.

But taking the semi-final and final away from English fans – many of whom expect the Three Lions to potentially feature in those matches – would certainly not go down well, after supporters of Premier League clubs that backed the Super League fought tooth and nail to make their voices of displeasure heard. The status of 2,500 designated VIPs should not trump the visceral – and so-often – life-altering experiences that everyday supporters go through, just to have the chance to attend a major tournament hosted in their backyard.

Calls for an independent governing body to oversee football in England – in a bid to address the looming threat of further attempts to create a Super League – have already mounted in the aftermath of that fiasco, and should UEFA continue to flex its muscles this summer, it is likely that they themselves will be subject to backlash of a similar vein.

This article was edited by Conor Laird.