England fans tempted to travel from the UK to Italy for Saturday’s Euro 2020 quarter-final tie have been told they should “watch from home” – and players will have to “make their own atmosphere” in the stadium.
The Three Lions beat Germany last night to set up a showdown in Rome with Ukraine – but travel restrictions mean most England fans will not be able to soak up the atmosphere – and the summer heat – in the Eternal City.
Italy is on the UK’s amber travel list, and all UK arrivals in Italy currently have to isolate for five days.
Speaking to Sky News, government minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan called on England fans to “watch from home and to cheer on the team as loudly as you can”.
“Obviously it is very difficult not to smile just to see all those wonderful flags waving, it just makes you so proud of our team doing so well last night,” she said.
“But really, the ask is to watch from home and to cheer on the team as loudly as you can.
“I think the challenge is can they hear us from Rome? And I’m sure we’ll take up that opportunity to be as supportive as we can of our amazing England team.”
The rules for those hoping to head to Italy for Saturday’s game
- Those visiting Italy must have proof of a negative coronavirus test taken in the 48 hours before they travel.
- Upon arrival, all passengers from the UK must fill out a passenger locator form before completing five days of isolation.
- If they have proof of a negative COVID test, a traveller can be released after those five days.
- However, this means even if fans board a flight to Italy on Wednesday, they will still have to isolate until at least Sunday – likely having to watch the game from a hotel room.
- Exceptions to the quarantine rule are transport crew members and those who can prove they are in Italy for “work, health or emergency” – but they must only be in the country for no more than five days.
- Those transiting through Italy as part of their journey are also exempt from the isolation period – so long as they have left Italy within 36 hours – as are EU officials, diplomats and international students returning to study.
- England fans should also be aware that breaking the rules could be pricey, with anyone caught trying to escape their five-day quarantine facing a fine.
- Last year, Italy introduced financial penalties of 3,000 euros (£2,580) for anyone who even tried to travel between regions.
- If supporters do make it to Italy, getting a ticket to the game will also be a challenge, as the FA has said it will not be selling tickets for the match to the England Supporters Travel Club (ESTC) due to COVID restrictions.
- It is likely that any England expats in Italy will be offered tickets instead, with a statement due to be made by the FA on Wednesday.
- And fans who do make it all the way to Rome will still have to self-isolate for 10 days upon their return to the UK, as Italy is on the UK’s amber list.
- Passengers can use the “test to release” scheme and pay for a private COVID test on day five of their quarantine which, if negative, brings their period of isolation to an end.
Former England international John Barnes told Sky News that England’s players will have to create their own atmosphere in Rome.
“Well I’m hoping for it not to have an impact because of course it is great to have your fans there,” he said.
“If you look at the Premier League season whereby people have been playing without fans and they have been playing well nevertheless.
“They have to make their own atmosphere,” he said.
Those in Rome for the fixture can expect clear skies and highs of 32 degrees, according to the Met Office.
Meanwhile, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) subcommittee on behavioural science warned that the UK is in danger of repeating last summer’s mistakes.
Professor Stephen Reicher, from the University of St Andrews, told Times Radio: “My fear is that we’re on line to repeat the mistakes of last summer – if you remember, the prime minister told us it was our patriotic duty to go to the pub, that people should go to work or they might lose their jobs, we had eat out to help out.
“The consequence was we never got infections low enough to be able to deal with the disease and so when conditions changed in the autumn, when schools went back and people went back to work and universities went back and the weather got worse and we went inside, so infections spiked.”
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