England fans urged not to travel to Rome as ticket holders miss a key game

Fans have been urged not to travel to Italy to watch the Euro 2020 quarter-final match between England and Ukraine as coronavirus restrictions mean those who were lucky during polls cannot use their tickets.

Downing Street said people shouldn’t travel to Orange List countries like Italy and urged fans to follow the rules.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said on Wednesday: “Obviously we appreciate the way the fans will want to go out of their way to support the England team, but we have to balance that with the need to protect health public.

“We urge everyone to abide by the guidelines and rules we have in place. “

England’s historic 2-0 loss to Germany set up the clash in Rome, but rules in Italy for UK arrivals mean fans would face five days of quarantine, which would see them miss Saturday’s game.

The Three Lions face the pitch without the vocal support of their staunch supporters, who were only recently allowed to return to Wembley as fans who bought tickets years ago cannot attend and the Football Association said it would not take its ticket allocation.

The FA was entitled to an allocation of 2,560, which equates to 16% of the agreed capacity of 16,000 at the Stadio Olimpico, but will not accept it, meaning these tickets will go on general sale.

He added that he was working with UEFA and the British Embassy in Italy to “facilitate” the sale of tickets to English residents in Italy, which is also on the UK’s orange list requiring self-isolation during 10 days upon his return.

In a letter to the England Supporters Travel Club, the FA said: “Please note that unfortunately the FA will not be selling any tickets through the England Supporters Travel Club for this match given the travel restrictions in place in both countries, and as such we are working with UEFA and the British Embassy in Italy to make it as easy as possible to sell tickets to English residents in Italy.

In a statement posted on its website on Wednesday afternoon, the FA said fans who were not subject to restrictions could try to purchase a match ticket through the UEFA ticket portal and that tickets would remain on sale until sold out.

Mary Handley, originally from Halifax but who has lived in Italy for about 40 years, told the PA news agency she was “desperate” for a ticket.

She added, “I’m constantly fighting all over the place to get one, but there’s a lot of confusion here.

“I’ve been trying all morning to navigate through the systems there and couldn’t find anything to be completely honest, it’s really hard.”

English football fans in Piccadilly Circus celebrating England’s victory over Germany (Yui Mok / PA Images)

The 68-year-old said she didn’t know how many expats there were, but that there was potentially ‘a whole army’ that could come forward to cheer on England.

Ms Handley added: “There is a large network of English residents in Italy and you can travel (to Italy) quite easily.

“I think expats will react to this, especially since the expat community tends to be, how can I put this in the older bracket, so we probably have all of our Italian vaccines and we can get into the stage without jumping over hoops.

“Personally, I don’t know the number, I saw 30,000, but it seems quite low to me.

“But I think there’s a whole army out there that could show up.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said the UK government’s travel advice said fans should not travel to amber countries such as Italy.

He also pointed out that the British Embassy in Rome does not sell or distribute tickets for the match.

The embassy has posted a link to the UEFA website for the tickets on its Twitter and Facebook pages.

Fans watch England vs Germany
England won’t have the crowd buzz behind them on Saturday (Zac Goodwin / PA)

On Wednesday, Boris Johnson opened the Prime Minister’s questions by congratulating the England team on their victory at Euro 2020 against Germany.

The Prime Minister told MPs: “I know members of this House will want to congratulate Gareth Southgate and his team on their 2-0 win over Germany at Wembley last night, the first time a men’s team has beaten the ‘Germany in 55 years in a knockout match.

“We wish them all the best for their game against Ukraine on Saturday and we will all be hopeful that this time football finally comes home.”

When asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today show whether tickets should be made available to English expats in the rest of the EU other than Italy who can travel to Rome, the Minister for the Energy Anne-Marie Trevelyan said, “I am sure those with these powers will listen and will hear it.

“This is something that I’m sure they are going to look at and make sure it gets fed.

“Certainly those of us in the UK who cannot travel will applaud so loudly our team will hear us in Rome.”

Under Italian guidelines, travelers from the UK must self-isolate for five days upon arrival, then pass a rapid antigenic or molecular swab test for Covid-19 and a negative test for release, which means that someone should have arrived on Monday to be cleared for Saturday.

Fans watch England vs Germany
English fans celebrate in Trafalgar Square (Victoria Jones / PA Images)

The FA warned fans traveling from the UK would not arrive on time and those who did not follow the rules could face a fine of up to 3,000 euros (£ 2,576) and even lawsuits.

The association said: “Anyone who violates restrictive measures will be liable to a fine ranging from 400 (£ 343) to 3,000 euros and possible criminal prosecution.”

A fan from England with tickets to Saturday’s Euro 2020 quarter-final against Ukraine said he was frustrated not being able to attend due to Covid travel restrictions.

Warrick Howard of Leicestershire bought tickets through the voting system in 2019 for € 140 each, but his plans for the match were curtailed by Italy’s five-day quarantine requirement on arrivals in the UK United.

“Given the enormous pressure to get everyone vaccinated, there were ways to make it work for the fans attending this tournament, but UEFA and the EU made no effort to do it, “the 37-year-old told the PA News Agency.

“I guess they were too busy organizing thousands of ‘no quarantine required’ exemptions for their few thousand VIPs.

“I thought about flying to Italy on Sunday June 27 and doing my five-day quarantine in an AirBnB apartment, so I would be free for the game if England were successful… but it would have taken a week of leave.

UEFA said fans have been offered four chances to return their tickets in the past year, but there will be no more refunds.

The restrictions are even stricter for Ukrainian fans. They will not be able to make it to the match, non-essential travel from Ukraine to Italy is currently not allowed.

Manchester City striker Raheem Sterling and Tottenham striker Harry Kane struck twice in 11 minutes to secure a memorable 2-0 win over Germany in the round of 16 at Wembley on Tuesday.

It was England’s first victory over Germany in a knockout match in a men’s tournament since the 1966 World Cup final.

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