Euro 2020 host cities must give their most realistic assessment of stadium capacities on April 7 amid continued uncertainty surrounding Glasgow and Dublin staging matches due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 12 hosts will be asked to effectively make a minimum guarantee by that date and tournament organiser UEFA anticipates the cities will wait until the last moment to commit themselves to a position.
They will be asked to consider the most realistic of four scenarios, ranging from a 100 per cent capacity venue to playing behind closed doors.
While in England a ‘road map’ has been set out for the return of fans – albeit based on a series of tests being met at each step – there is less certainty in Scotland.
The Scottish Government has been encouraged by early signs of the impact on Covid-19 transmission by the vaccination programme, which is scheduled to cover every adult by the end of May, but it wants more data before committing to a judgement on an event which is three months away.
Speaking on Wednesday, Scottish health secretary Jeane Freeman said: “Being part of the Euros for Scotland is a really big deal. The night we qualified was a cause of great celebration across the country and certainly in my own household. So I completely understand how important this is, what a great boost it is.
“Part of the answer is all of us abiding by the rules, doing everything we can to make sure the case numbers come down, the virus is suppressed… and, when we are called for vaccination, we take that up.
“If we can bring all of that together and the data continues to point us in the right direction, then we certainly should be able to celebrate our national team playing in the Euros, hopefully winning in the Euros, and we will see whether or not it’s possible at any point along that road for fans to actually be present to witness that.”
The Scottish Football Association said: “We remain in constant dialogue with UEFA and the Scottish Government regarding the co-hosting of the tournament in Scotland, given the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We will continue these discussions to ensure as many fans as possible can enjoy the four matches at Hampden Park.
“We also note UEFA’s restated commitment to holding Euro 2020 across the 12 European cities, with no other plans being pursued, and will continue to work towards UEFA’s submission deadline of April 7.”
UEFA is understood not to be anticipating that a majority of cities will say their matches have to be played behind closed doors on April 7, and nothing has been decided in advance that any city which cannot commit to admitting any fans will automatically have hosting rights withdrawn.
But if 10 or 11 cities still remain in the running, there is a possibility of matches being taken away from venues unable to admit fans and being split amongst the rest.
It is understood there has been no offer for England to host the whole tournament via any channel, and nor has UEFA asked any country to be on standby to act as a single host.
There are concerns within the European governing body of the dangers of committing to a single host, should that country suddenly have a spike in Covid-19 cases.
UEFA has an executive committee scheduled for April 19, where it is possible decisions on whether to withdraw hosting rights from one or more cities could be taken.
It has also asked hosts to provide an updated assessment of capacity limits on April 28, which should at least be equal to, or improve upon, what was guaranteed on April 7.
What it does not want is for a host city to scale back on a commitment made on April 7.