Scotland 'absolutely intent' on hosting Euro 2020, says Sturgeon

FILE PHOTO: Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attends the First Minister's Questions at the parliament in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain March 4, 2021. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne/Pool

(Reuters) - Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Friday the Scottish government was intent on hosting Euro 2020 matches at Glasgow's Hampden Park amid uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tournament was postponed by a year to June due to the pandemic and there remain questions over UEFA's plan to host the event in 12 cities across the continent.

European soccer's governing body UEFA wants each of the countries staging matches to submit their plans -- including for the safe return of fans -- by April 7.

Speaking at a daily coronavirus briefing, Sturgeon said: "Nobody wants to lose the Euros and I don't think we should be in the position right now of thinking that is the case.

"There is a deadline that all countries have to give an indication to UEFA what they think will be possible in terms of fan attendance and fan zones.

"All countries are grappling with this, not just Scotland."

Hampden Park is scheduled to host Scotland v Czech Republic on June 14, Croatia v Czech Republic on June 18, Croatia v Scotland on June 22 and a round-of-16 match on June 29.

Sturgeon said it was difficult to look as far ahead as the summer but remains optimistic about bringing the tournament to Scotland.

"Let me be very clear. We are absolutely intent on having the Euros, having Hampden as one of the host stadiums of the Euros. We have always been intent on that," she added.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK could host additional matches during the tournament if other host cities were unable to fulfil their commitments.

UEFA said it was confident it would not need to take up Johnson's offer, insisting it would continue to work on existing plans with a decision due next month about fan levels at specific venues.

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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