With the covid-19 pandemic sending parts of Europe back in lockdowns, chances of a crowd at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 were decreasing rapidly. However, there may be a shimmer of hope coming back now. According to newspaper De Telegraaf, Dutch football federation KNVB are working on a plan to allow fans to attend football matches during Euro 2020…
Euro 2020 with a crowd
The football federation has worked together with other responsible parties in Dutch football to create a plan that should guarantee a crowd being possible for football matches. The plan should definitely make sure the next Eredivisie season, starting in August, will have crowds there. However, the plan doesn’t stop there.
In addition, the Netherlands are hosting four matches during Euro 2020. The European Football Championship is currently set to start on 11th June, with Amsterdam hosting three group stage matches and a match in the round of 16. The KNVB plan currently also includes an attempt to allow a crowd to attend these matches, as they feel Euro 2020 shouldn’t be held in empty stadiums.
Vaccines and rapid tests
KNVB have not yet published the full plan, but reports suggests they want to introduce a strict entry policy in stadiums. The policy will entail conditions which visitors would need to fulfill upon entering the stadium. Currently, two options are on the table.
The first is evidence of being vaccinated. Currently, the Netherlands are the last EU country to start a vaccination process and by the time Euro 2020 will start, the majority of the population will still not have received a vaccination. Secondly, a rapid test for covid-19 might be required to enter the stadium. Previously, the lack of symptoms and a quick temperature check were the only requirements for some events. However, with the number of asymptomatic cases of covid-19, that is no longer sufficient.
By requiring either proof of vaccination or a negative rapid test for covid-19, KNVB and its partners are hoping to allow fans in the stadiums whilst at the same time keeping covid-19 out.
Hope for Eurovision?
If the KNVB plan is approved, there may be a shimmer of hope for fans of the Eurovision Song Contest. Just today, Prime Minister Mark Rutte confirmed that the lockdown, currently in place until 19th January, will probably be extended. A new end date is not in sight yet, with close to 10,000 positive tests a day. The chances of over 10,000 fans attending the Eurovision Song Contest in May therefore seem small.
However, the KNVB plan may just bring an audience at Eurovision 2021 a little closer. After all, there are just three weeks between the start of Euro 2020 and the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam.
Previously, EBU and host broadcaster NPO announced four potential scenarios for the Eurovision Song Contest 2021. With lockdowns all over Europe, Scenario D – with a contest where all acts perform from their home country, seemed likely. However, as previously mentioned, the KNVB plan may change this.
UPDATE: Executive Producer of the Eurovision Song Contest Sietse Bakker has spoken to ESCXTRA.com and stated the following:
We are working together closely with the entire Dutch event industry as part of the Alliance of Event builders. Needless to say we are all looking for ways to responsibly welcome the audience we missed so much to our events, wether it’s sports, Formula 1 or the Eurovision Song Contest. In the end this will come down to what is responsible and what is allowed. Our job is to be prepared once the opportunity arises!Sietse Bakker to ESCXTRA.com (5th January)
ESCXTRA.com will keep a close eye on the developments in the Netherlands regarding the current lockdown. We will update you once there is more information on possible crowds and audiences at events. Stay tuned!