The UK could host next summer’s Euros, Sportsmail has learned, with talks having already taken place between the FA and Uefa about switching the tournament to these shores.
While UEFA’s Plan A remains to host the event in 12 cities across Europe, alternatives are being explored because of the Covid-19 pandemic and discussions have been held over a move which would see the UK stepping in as sole host. The FA declined to comment, but sources here and at UEFA HQ in Switzerland confirmed that talks are ongoing.
Scotland are due to play their group matches — bar the Wembley clash with England on June 18 — at Hampden Park and this would still be the case if the tournament were switched entirely to the UK.
The UK could host next summer’s Euros with talks having already taken place with FA and UEFA
Alternative plans are being explored because of the Covid-19 pandemic and discussions
It is unclear what the move would mean for Wales, who are due to play two matches in Azerbaijan and one in Italy, but they could make a strong case to stage their games in Cardiff. The Euros were originally scheduled for last summer, with Wembley hosting the semi-finals and final, but the pandemic forced a postponement.
UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin is keen to keep the tournament format unchanged but there are growing fears that using a dozen different venues is unfeasible.
Russia were reportedly in talks over solely staging the event, but that now seems unlikely, with the FA expecting UEFA to make a decision within two months. A UEFA spokesperson said: ‘UEFA’s efforts are focused on planning for a tournament in all 12 original venues with fans.
It is unclear what the move would mean for Wales who are set for games in Azerbaijan and Italy
‘Decisions that run counter to that plan could be made much nearer the time if necessary, but there are presently no plans to change any venue.’
Meanwhile, the FA are increasingly confident fans will be allowed into whichever games do take place in this country.
While accepting it is unlikely Wembley will be full for group games against Croatia, Scotland and the Czech Republic, the governing body are determined that a significant number of fans will be present.
The FA are looking at a range of options as they await news on a Covid vaccine.
One possibility is that all fans are tested for the virus at centres up to a mile from the stadium on matchday. Only those with a clean bill of health would be allowed to proceed to the game.
Scotland are due to play two group matches at Hampden Park, which would remain the same
The FA have had a difficult week following the resignation of chairman Greg Clarke.
The 63-year-old stood down after referring to black footballers as ‘coloured’ and describing being gay as a ‘lifestyle choice’.
Head-hunters who have been instructed to find a successor have been told to assemble the most diverse list of candidates they can.
It is likely Clarke’s replacement will be younger but not necessarily an ex-player — though moves are afoot to freshen up the board with that in mind — and one of their main roles would be to lead bids to host tournaments.
It is thought unlikely, though, that a British and Irish bid for the 2030 World Cup would be a success. Portugal and Spain are in the running and UEFA would prefer not to have rival bids from the continent.
Additional reporting by IAN LADYMAN and SAMI MOKBEL