AP Photo/MTI, Tibor Illyes, FILE
Finland’s public health institute has asked football supporters to watch the UEFA Euro 2020 (it still retains its name despite taking place in 2021) from home this summer.
The country qualified for the European Championships for the first time in its history, but authorities have still warned against traveling abroad.
“Due to the coronavirus epidemic, all travel from Finland abroad and also within Finland should be limited to what is necessary,” Finland’s Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) said in a statement.
“This also applies to the European Men’s Football Championships … in June and July.”
Finland are due to face Denmark in their opening game of the tournament in Copenhagen on June 12. They will then travel to St. Petersburg to play neighbours Russia on June 16 and Belgium on June 21. Up to 5,000 supporters were expected to travel to the matches.
“Finland’s entry into the European Championships is a huge thing,” said Mika Salminen, director of the THL, who also admits to being a football fan.
“However, the corona pandemic has not disappeared anywhere, and the same recommendations apply to the Championships as to any other form of travel. Unfortunately, it’s worth watching the matches at home.”
The THL added that while case numbers are low in Finland, the risk of infection is higher in Denmark and Russia.
“Traveling to on-site games carries a significant risk of infection because, although audiences are limited, there are thousands of spectators in stadiums and some of them may come from countries where infections are still high,” said Salminen.
Denmark currently requires visitors to present a negative PCR test upon arrival, while Russia is yet to announce conditions for tourists during the European Championships.
The THL says they are in contact with the Finnish Football Association regarding Euro 2020 arrangements.
“The aim is to work together to ensure that those traveling to the Championships receive instructions on how to protect themselves from the coronavirus during the trip,” the THL added.