BORIS JOHNSON’S offer to stage the whole of Euro 2020 has been welcomed by European football chiefs.
Wembley is already due to stage SEVEN games at the tournament, including all three of England’s opening group matches, both semi-finals and the July 11 final.
But the PM’s invitation, exclusively revealed by The Sun, has opened the way for the ultimate summer of football across the country.
One source told The Sun: “It is great for us that England is so keen to play its part this summer.”
European football’s governing body Uefa plans to confirm the schedule for this summer’s delayed tournament by April 7.
That is the date Euro bosses have ordered the current 12 planned host cities to confirm their willingness to host games.
But Uefa is demanding that ALL hosts commit to staging games with fans inside grounds.
The Government announced last week that all Covid restrictions will be ended from June 21, opening the way for Wembley to allow a 90,000 full house in for the finale of the tournament.
That adds to the growing prospect of more matches being played on English soil.
At a video meeting held by Uefa chiefs last week, it was made clear that opening the turnstiles was an absolute condition for matches to be held in the proposed cities.
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EURO 2020: How many fans will be allowed in stadiums?
UEFA initially asked all host cities to rank their preferred options for crowds numbers.
They ranged from full houses down to no supporters.
But the roll out of the vaccine has changed the stance of Euro chiefs, who are now determined to see the turnstiles at least partially opened.
Last week’s Government announcement would allow crowds of up to 10,000 for the first two England group games, against Croatia and then Scotland.
Subsequent matches would see no further restrictions, meaning 90,000 fans could be allowed in to Wembley.
But it is expected that pleas from the FA to let more fans in might be met with a positive response.
That could mean 30 per cent of the Wembley capacity – adding up to 27,000 per match, for the group games, with attendances then being increased.
Uefa are happy with the idea of two tiers of fan thresholds as long as the number of fans increases.
But hosts will not be allowed to start with one capacity and then reduce it.
And that us why the upbeat assessment and plans by the Government have been welcomed by Uefa and its high command.
As well as Wembley, matches are due to be played at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Dublin, Amsterdam, Bilbao, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Munich, Rome, St Petersburg, and the Azerbaijan capital Baku.
So far, only nine cities have been able to give Uefa that commitment, conditional on Covid restrictions being eased.
Dublin appears to be one of the venues in doubt, with Jonathan Hill, head of the FA of Ireland, admitting the issues being faced.
He said: “We know we can deliver fans safely into the Aviva Stadium, so it is a question of how many we can deliver.
“We are having those conversations with Uefa but they have real people who have bought real tickets.
“At some point soon they are going to have to take decisions in relation to the structure of the tournament.”
But despite the confident promises of the nine countries, the concerns of the Irish Government are also shared by Italy, Spain and Germany among other countries.
None of those three nations have yet even suggested a roadmap which will allow the return of fans, in stark contrast to the pathway offered by the vaccine roll-out in England.
Uefa chiefs are huge fans of Wembley, which has already hosted two Champions League Finals since it was reopened in 2007 and will also stage European club football’s biggest match in 2024.
The Swiss-based body was also hugely grateful to the FA when it agreed to take on the four games which were initially due to be hosted by Brussels when the format of the tournament was announced in 2012.
Now English football could come to the rescue of Europe again if Uefa accepts it cannot hold the tournament as planned as a result of the pandemic.
If next month’s decision is to ask the FA to stage the entire event it could see Old Trafford and the Etihad Stadium in Manchester used.
Anfield in Liverpool, Villa Park in Birmingham and both St James’ Park in Newcastle and Sunderland’s Stadium of Light could also be used.
In the capital, Wembley could be one of four venues.
The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Arsenal’s Emirates and the London Stadium used by West Ham are the other three.