Euro 2020 is set to hit Glasgow next week with fans flocking to Hampden and official ‘fan zones’ to cheer on the national team in their first major tournament in 22 years. However, what would normally be a hugely celebrated occasion is now one of division and restrictions due to the ongoing pandemic.
The 12,000 spectators at Hampden have been allocated timed slots on when to arrive with some being told to arrive five hours before the game kicks off to minimise crowds at the turnstiles. They have also been told no food or drink will be served from the stadium’s kiosks to avoid crowds forming but they will be selling Euro merchandise out of kiosks around the stadium. Fans have been given permission to bring snacks to the games but it must be sandwiches, crisps and other similar products, they can’t however bring their own water or juice as bottles and cans are forbidden and all food must be brought in a see through bag for inspection. However, fans will be given water at periodic times. As of yet there is no confirmed guidance on whether spectators must return a negative covid test before the game or if they must be vaccinated with one or both doses before they can enter.
Fans must also sit in the seat number printed on their ticket, can’t make physical contact with anyone else in the stadium and must remain 1.5 meters apart at all times.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “Both me and the SFA will be lead by Public Health and the clinicians that are experts. They’ll tell us that the mitigations in place with fans going into the stadium is a low risk event, as is the fan zone because of the mitigations in place.
“Can we make it more low risk? That is the question I will be discussing with the SFA later on.”
The Health Secretary’s comments has sparked outrage as parents remain angered that covid guidelines have deemed outdoor sports days for younger children and outdoor graduation ceremonies as too high risk, but the mass crowds to watch the Euros has been deemed as low risk. Many big milestones in children’s lives have been cancelled or altered under the guise that it’s for the better of their health and the health of those around them. Many parents quickly pointed out that the fan zones and Hampden will have thousands of people present but 30 parents at an outdoor ceremony being deemed a higher risk is a big contradiction.
The comments have also angered football fans across the country. In the last three months Rangers FC and the SFA all made proposals to the Scottish Government to allow fan zones at Hampden and Ibrox so that fans wouldn’t form crowds during Rangers’ last game of the season and during the Scottish Cup final. They were denied as it was seen as ‘too dangerous’ which may have indirectly lead to the scenes displayed at George Square on the 15th of May following Rangers lifting the League trophy.
Accusations of hypocrisy and unfairness have been made against the Scottish Government over their decisions involving covid guidelines in recent months. Football fans feel lied to and betrayed as they were told repeatedly since March 2020 football stadiums weren’t safe to visit, even when cases were significantly lower than they are the now. Some fans even went on to say that the fan zones are a “slap in the face” to all football season ticket holders.
Whether the Scottish Government and the SFA are making their decisions based on people pleasing, scientific data or profits is up for your own personal debate. However, there is no doubt that the Scotland national team have provided a great beckon of hope and joy for Scottish people in a year where misery was prevalent. One could argue Scottish fans going to the fan zones are selfish, but the fan zones, how they’re ran and the impact it has on cases will be vital in navigating what the future of live entertainment could be like in a post-covid world.
If you plan on watching the Euros with friends or family or are attending one of the fan zones please do so safely.