Uefa ‘out of order’ in setting spectator number condition, Martin says

‘Putting obligations on countries to force spectators in prematurely was a wrong call’ Taoiseach says

Taoiseach Micheal Martin  said it was not a realistic proposition to expect certain numbers of spectators to attend given the Covid-19 pandemic. Photograph :Gareth Chaney/Collins

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said it was not a realistic proposition to expect certain numbers of spectators to attend given the Covid-19 pandemic. Photograph :Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Uefa was “out of order” in setting obligations on Ireland to ensure that a certain number of spectators attend matches, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said.

Uefa last week stripped Dublin of its hosting of four Euro 2020 matches with the games being moved to St Petersburg and Wembley.

Following a meeting of their executive committee, Uefa confirmed to the FAI that the four games have been moved due to the public health situation in Ireland. Uefa had required an assurance of a minimum of 25 per cent spectator attendance at each game which the Irish Government was unable to meet.

Mr Martin said it was not a realistic proposition to expect certain numbers of spectators to attend given the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I thought Uefa were out of order quite frankly putting that condition on countries. If you look at what is happening all over Europe in terms of the B117 variant and in terms of the high incidence, to sort of be putting obligations on countries to force spectators in prematurely was a wrong call by the footballing authorities. I never thought it was a realistic proposition if I am honest. I think we need to learn from previous experiences.”

Mr Martin said there was nothing he would love more than to be a club championship game. He said it may happen “towards the end of the summer.”