Varadkar: Euros have come round too soon for Dublin

Tánaiste says unless Uefa lower attendance threshold, Euro 2020 games won't be staged here
Varadkar: Euros have come round too soon for Dublin

General view of the ground before the UEFA Nations League Group 4, League B match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin.

The upcoming European Championship tournament has come “too soon” for Dublin to be able to host its four games, according to Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.

Ireland’s cautious approach to easing lockdown restrictions, coupled with a slow rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination, has left them among three outliers across the 12 countries due to stage matches in June's pan-European showpiece.

Dublin’s Aviva Stadium was due to host three fixtures in Group E, the pool Ireland would have featured in had they qualified, as well as a potentially blockbuster last-16 tie between England and Germany or France.

Monday had been set as the deadline for countries to guarantee at least 25 percent attendance and Uefa has planned to reassign Ireland’s matches.

However, the onset of the Super League proposals on the eve of their executive committee summit in Montreux prompted the European governing body to defer that decision until Friday.

Munich and Bilbao are the two other cities yet to pledge compliance to the demands, yet their obstacles are steeped in politics, with alternative cities within Germany and Spain on standby.

The extension is unlikely to afford Dublin the scope to change the stance of National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).

As indicated in the Irish Examiner last month, they are nowhere near the stage of permitting 11,500 fans into the Dublin 4 arena. It would take UEFA lowering their attendance threshold for the fixtures to be salvaged.

"I think if they (UEFA) continue to insist on that (having 25% of the stadium full), it'll be hard for it to go ahead quite frankly, which is unfortunate," Mr Varadkar told TodayFM this morning.

"We're just very cautious about that, we just think June is too soon."

Poland and Ireland’s conquerors in the play-offs, Slovakia, were due to contest the first match in Dublin on June 14 but Polish legend Zbigniew Boniek, the head of the Polish FA and a member of UEFA's executive committee, has suggested the games will be moved to London.

Losing the fixtures will be a blow to the Irish hotels and training facilities that were due to host Poland, Slovakia and Sweden during the tournament.

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