Anger at UEFA grows: Almost 2000 Scottish fans infected at European Championship

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Instead of diffuse worries, there are now hard numbers for Scotland: 1991 Corona cases are attributable to the European Football Championship, according to authorities. The receipt for the games in London and the game in Russia will follow. German politicians are furious with UEFA.

Nearly 2000 Corona cases in Scotland can be linked to European soccer championship games, according to official figures. Two-thirds of those who tested positive in 1991 were fans who had traveled to London for games against advice from the north, according to Public Health Scotland. On June 18, the Scots had played England in London. Nearly 400 infected people from Scotland were said to have been in the stadium, while thousands more fans packed streets and squares in the city center.

The infection figures refer to those who tested positive and attended European Championship matches or fan events during their infectious phase – between June 11 and June 28. Three-quarters of those infected were between 20 and 39 years old, according to the authority, and nine out of ten were men. Three days after the match on June 18, Scotland’s shooting star Billy Gilmour tested positive for Corona. The Chelsea FC pro had to watch the decisive group match against Croatia in quarantine. For the rest of the Scottish team, the European Championship was over after the defeat in Glasgow on June 22.

Tuesday’s Germany vs. England round of 16 match took place in front of the biggest crowd yet, with nearly 45,000 spectators. Spacing and masks were a rarity at Wembley Stadium. How many fans and observers were infected there will be seen in the coming weeks. For the semifinals and the final, even 60,000 spectators should be allowed. Because Corona numbers recently rose again in Great Britain as a result of the Delta variant, the move is controversial.

Vice Chancellor and SPD candidate for chancellor Olaf Scholz expressed alienation at UEFA. “For all the joy about the spectacular games of this European Championship, I find it alarming how many spectators are now being allowed into some stadiums,” Scholz told the “Süddeutsche Zeitung.” “With great difficulty and effort, we have gotten the pandemic under control in Europe, and we should not put that at risk now.” SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach also expressed concern. “Yesterday’s game showed once again how close fans are, how often they hug and shout at each other. Hundreds have certainly been infected and these are now in turn infecting thousands,” Lauterbach wrote on Twitter. “UEFA is responsible for the death of many people.”

Many are now looking anxiously to St. Petersburg. Ahead of the first quarterfinal match between Switzerland and Spain this Friday, the situation in the Russian port city, which is considered a Corona hotspot, is becoming increasingly tense. However, no changes or even a postponement of the match are planned on the part of UEFA, the European Football Union explained in response to a question from Deutsche Presse-Agentur. “The final decision regarding the number of spectators always lies with the respective local authorities.” A stricter hygiene concept for Friday’s match at the stadium is not necessary, Russian organizers say, according to state agency Tass. They say that 50 percent of the more than 60,000 seats in the Gazprom Arena may be filled for Spain’s match against Switzerland.

Sources: ntv.de, mau/dpa/picture: pixabay.com

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