Former Arsenal and Russia star Andrey Arshavin says his hometown St. Petersburg will probably be more than prepared to step in and host more matches at Euro 2020, with UEFA probably set to relocate games to town from Dublin.
UEFA is reportedly planning to relocate matches at this summer season’s championships after the Irish capital was unable to give assurances over fan numbers.
Several Russian sports activities retailers have reported the information that St. Petersburg will probably be one of many beneficiaries, citing sources conversant in the scenario.
Dublin was set to host three group-stage matches involving Poland, Slovakia and Sweden, as effectively as one quarter-final, however the internet hosting rights had been at threat of being axed if they might not assure a restricted variety of spectators.
Earlier this month, the Irish FA notified UEFA that it could not present assurances on a minimal 25% of spectator capability, however was given an prolonged deadline to asses the scenario. That time now seems to be up, nevertheless.
“On Friday UEFA will announce its decision that St. Petersburg will be granted the right to host three more [group] matches – those which should have taken place in Dublin,” mentioned Match TV commentator Nobel Arustamyan said.
“My sources have confirmed this information. Russia’s Euro 2020 Organizing Committee is ready for UEFA’s decision.”
Russia’s Euro 2020 Organizing Committee mentioned the stadium in St. Petersburg will probably be crammed to 50% capability – the joint highest variety of any of the 12 host cities, and a determine which may even be elevated nearer to the match, ought to the circumstances enable for it.
St. Petersburg was already due to maintain three group matches and one quarter-final at the 68,000-seater Krestovsky Stadium residence of Russian Premier League champions Zenit.
The venue, which additionally hosted matches at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, will seemingly now profit from even more games.
Local soccer hero Andrey Arshavin, who received 75 caps for his nation and famously starred in Russia’s run to the semi-finals at Euro 2008, mentioned town is more than prepared to tackle the additional load.
“As I see it and understand, our city has been ready for the Euros for a long time. It was ready a year ago, and even more so is ready now,” Arshavin told RT Sport on the sidelines of an event on Thursday at the Krestovsky Stadium to mark 50 days to go until the tournament begins.
“I don’t think extra matches will bring any extra difficulties to organize.
“Plus one of our advantages is that there’s almost a 100% guarantee that we can have 50% capacity. That can change in 50 days, but only for the better.
“I think matches with fans in a beautiful city like this means St. Petersburg can use this advantage to host more games.”
During the pandemic, Russian champions Zenit have received reward far and broad for his or her scheme to supply soccer followers the Covid vaccine earlier than residence matches – a measure which Arshavin praised.
The #SputnikV vaccination programme is effectively underway right here at the Gazprom ArenaWe’ll offer free vaccinations to supporters at everybody of our residence games for the remainder of this season! pic.twitter.com/AApj784mCN
— FC Zenit in English✨ (@fczenit_en) March 13, 2021
He additionally identified that not like another elements of Europe, Russia was not in a state of lockdown.
“Speaking to my friends and people I know in Europe, or who have just come back from Europe, if we look at the rhythm of life in Moscow and St. Petersburg, on the whole you won’t find any major differences with life before the pandemic,” said the 39-year-old former Arsenal ace.
“In Russia, life is practically returning [to normal], part of that is connected to the vaccine. Well done to Zenit for organizing that.
“The more people are vaccinated, the lower the chance of spreading the virus. So I think that’s another advantage for our country and city for hosting more matches.”
Organizers in St. Petersburg have even urged that followers visiting matches at Euro 2020 within the metropolis is also in a position to get a Covid jab.
Euro 2020 was postponed from final 12 months and will probably be held between June 11 and July 11 this summer season. The hopes had been that the competitors may retain its pan-continental format for a novel version of the occasion.
However, Bilbao already appears to be like to have been dropped after the Spanish metropolis failed to assure capacities of at least 25% at San Mames Stadium. A choice can also be nonetheless pending on Munich.