Scotland and Euro 2020: Tartan Army faces Wembley ban in attendance shake-up

Scotland fans face being locked out of Wembley for this summer’s European Championship group match with England – even if crowds are allowed to attend.

Wembley will host the Auld Enemy clash, as well as a semi-final and the final of Euro 2020 (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

The Auld Enemy clash, scheduled for June 18, has been a red letter day for the Tartan Army since qualification was secured against Serbia in November.

However attendance at the game – and the other two group stage matches at Hampden – is still up in the air with the on-going coronavirus pandemic and travel restrictions combined with the knock-on effect for football, large-scale gatherings and the tournament itself.

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Organisers UEFA this week re-iterated their commitment to staging the competition, as planned, this summer – shared between 12 host cities across the continent, including Glasgow.

Steve Clarke, Scotland manager, has led the national side to the first tournament since 1998 (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

But they could implement a change of rules that would affect thousands of supporters and prevent them from travelling to ‘away’ games in the group stages – and that would mean the Tartan Army being locked out of Wembley for the Group D encounter on June 18, Scotland’s second game of the summer competition.

Tournament officials discussed new measures at a meeting earlier this week and hope the proposal early in the tournament could persuade governments to allow at least partial crowds and increased attendances to include both sides’ supports in the latter stages, the Times reports.

The expectation is that the tournament itself can still go ahead with teams travelling around the host cities in groups and contact bubbles – but the question over fans differs from country-to-country and is dependent on rules and restrictions in place at the time. Of the 12 host countries, nine national teams have qualified for the competition itself, which in itself reduces some travelling requirements.

Hampden is earmarked for four matches including Scotland’s two ‘home’ games against the Czech Republic and Croatia either side of the trip to London. Supporters are currently banned from attending domestic football games as part of the Scottish Government’s Tier 4 restrictions, but clinical director Jason Leitch has previously held out hope for partial attendance at the summer games though an ongoing caution remains and a definitive decision is yet to be made in light of the changing nature of the virus.

Scotland secured qualification in dramatic style in Belgrade with the penalty shoot-out win over Serbia (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

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Banning away supporters would see UEFA refund more than 1.5million tickets already purchased. However, Scotland fans have not yet been given the chance to buy up briefs after their late entrance to the competition via the dramatic penalty shoot-out in Belgrade.

Hampden tickets had been available in earlier sale rounds despite the full fixture line-up being undecided and some fans may have invested in hope, or even expectation, of Steve Clarke’s side being involved. But the tranche of tickets for the final four qualifying teams including Scotland, Hungary, Slovakia and North Macedonia is yet to go on sale.

Amongst the complications of the new suggestion is how UEFA would decide upon the validity of already purchased tickets for reduced capacity stadia, or if the current ticket sale process should be scrapped altogether and started afresh in light of the now known participants and ongoing restrictions.

The tournament kicks off in Rome on June 9.

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