Host city St Petersburg hit by rising Covid cases
The delayed tournament is being played across the continent for the first time
Thousands of fans are set to descend on St Petersburg for Europe’s biggest football extravaganza, Euro 2020, even as coronavirus cases are surging in the city.
Russia’s second city has been selected to host seven matches — including a quarter-final — in June and July after the tournament was postponed for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Moscow Times reports that organisers are promising necessary measures will be taken to protect players and spectators, but critics say the city — Russia’s worst hotspot after Moscow — long ago threw caution to the wind.
“The city lives as if the pandemic is over,” Anton Barchuk, an epidemiologist at the European University at Saint Petersburg, told AFP.
“The pace of vaccinations leaves much to be desired,” he added.
Organisers of Euro 2020 in Russia say fans will be required to wear masks during matches and the city’s showcase stadium, Gazprom Arena, will be filled at 50% capacity.
“We’re sure we can provide for all safety measures. We’re not afraid,” the head of the organizing committee for Euro 2020 in St. Petersburg, Alexei Sorokin, told reporters last month.
Isle of Man issues stamps
Isle of Man Post Office has issued a set of stamps celebrating the UEFA EURO 2020 tournament and featuring images of the stadiums hosting matches.
They have been designed by local agency Isle of Man Advertising and celebrate the ways through which football can bring people together. They feature eight of the 11 host cities.
Maxine Cannon, general manager Isle of Man Stamps & Coins, said: “The tournament theme of togetherness through football is very fitting which, along with the re-introduction of fans back to stadiums, symbolises a return to normality following the difficult period of the Covid pandemic and the postponement of the tournament last summer.”
The stamps will be issued on 11 June as Set, Sheet Set, Presentation Pack (limited to 3000), First Day Cover (limited to 5000), and premium stamp collection in a limited edition of 1250 worldwide.