Collaboration with Healthy Stadia and Loughborough University.
The UEFA EURO 2020 football tournament will be the first Sporting Mega Event (SME) to take place during the COVID-19 pandemic. The event is scheduled to take place in 12 host cities in 12 countries across Europe. UEFA has stated that they would prefer to see supporters at the matches provided certain mitigations measures are in place and where local restrictions permit. This provides a unique opportunity to study what guidelines are issued overall at EURO 2020 matches to limit the transmission of COVID-19 and how these are applied locally in the various host nations. It also provides an opportunity to explore to what extent those attending EURO 2020 matches comply with measures to mitigate COVID-19 transmission and what factors influence compliance. SMEs pose a particular risk to the transmission of COVID-19 due to the circulation of international athletes and attendees which pose new issues for different risk environments such as transport hubs, the host cities themselves and the stadia. This study will adopt a mixed-method approach incorporating three studies: Study one will aim to contextualise UEFA’S policies with current practice regarding COVID-19 in each of the host countries by analysing existing policy documents and guidance on Government websites; Study two will involve participant observation and image gathering at various tournament sites in order to monitor measures to mitigate COVID-19 transmission in the host cities and venues; Study three will measure compliance with COVID-19 mitigation measures through an online self-reported questionnaire with those who attended matches at UEFA EURO 2020.
Studying how the EURO 2020 tournament responds to the COVID-19 pandemic will provide vital knowledge to address fundamental gaps in the knowledge base regarding the safe hosting of a SME in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings from this study will provide practical evidence regarding factors which influence best practice to mitigate transmission of the virus for future SMEs.