Euro 2020: Welsh football fans face month of uncertainty

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image copyrightGetty Images
image captionIf Wales secure victory in the likes of Rome, fans who watch the game might be forced to miss the next one because they will need to self-isolate

Football fans hoping to travel to see Wales compete in the European Championship face an uncertain month.

The team is due to play matches in Azerbaijan and Italy - but both are currently on the amber list, and are countries where leisure travel is not recommended.

As a result enforced self-Isolation from travel could leave fans missing other games or having to extend trips.

Some fans say though it will be "worth it" to see Wales play, in June.

What is the problem?

People traveling from countries listed as amber must quarantine for 10 days at home on their return.

They must take tests on day two and eight of quarantine, although travellers can pay to take a Covid test after five days, which, if negative, will allow them to end quarantine early.

Games are also due to be played in Amsterdam, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, London, Munich, Seville and St Petersburg.

For fans also hoping to travel from Azerbaijan to Italy for Wales' third game, they may need to self-isolate for 10 days on their arrival in Rome, which would mean missing the game.

There are also limited direct flight options to and from Azerbaijan.

Other routes to the country's capital Baku include through Turkey, Germany, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

Because Turkey is on the red list of countries, even if fans only change flights here it could mean them having to pay to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days, at their own cost, on their return to the UK.

'Conflicting information'

image captionKieran Jones, of Football Supporters Association Cymru, has warned fans it could be costly to isolate in Azerbaijan

Kieran Jones, of Football Supporters' Association Cymru, said fans were struggling with "conflicting information" and a lack of travel insurance.

Mr Jones warned fans to factor in the costs of self-isolating if they test positive while out in Azerbaijan.

First Minister Mark Drakeford is expected to discuss travel restrictions on Friday, at his first Covid press briefing since winning the Senedd election last week.

In addition, with Wales' first game on 12 June, there is likely to be changes to the list of countries before then.

Mr Jones said he hoped Italy and Azerbaijan make it onto the government's green list in time for the games and said both countries wanted fans to travel.

He said it was more likely fans would be able to travel to Italy, but warned there would not necessarily be many tickets available with only 25% of the stadium in use and an unknown number of tickets allocated for away fans.

'I can't be bothered with all the red tape'

image copyrightGwilym Rees
image captionGwilym Rees (right) and his son Gareth watch a lot of sport together and were hoping to travel for a few of the matches

Gwilym Rees, 61, from Cardiff is hoping to still be able to travel to the games with his son this year.

Initially he had tickets for both games in Baku and in Rome but sold the latter earlier in the year.

He hopes Azerbaijan will be taken off the amber list in time for the games as he does not want to have to isolate.

He said: "I returned the Italy tickets as the others were cheaper but we will hang on to the others and see what happens.

"I paid for the tickets a long time ago, so if the money goes it is what it is.

"We've got accommodation booked and match tickets which we can cancel up to 14 days before hand so we will leave it till last minute to see what the advice is and see how the situation is

"I personally wouldn't want to isolate so I wouldn't go but my son may go."

Mr Rees is a big fan and missing live sport has been hard.

He said: "You're talking to a man who goes to over 100 live sporting events every year. It's what I do with my leisure time - the fact I haven't been to anything means I would be very excited to see these matches.

"I cant be bothered with all the red tape - that's the sort of thing that would put me off. If nearer the time we can go without much hassle I'll be up for it."

'I'd isolate for months'

image copyrightMarley Lovell
image captionMarley Lovell hopes to recreate his experience of the 2016 Euros this year

Marley Lovell, 21, from Cardiff, said he would "isolate for months" if it meant he was able to go the game in Rome with his girlfriend.

He said his experience in the 2016 Euros "was like a dream", where he saw several Wales games.

He said: "I always dreamed of watching Wales compete in a big sporting event and to see them do so well last time was just amazing."

Mr Lovell had initially planned to fly to Rome from Greece as his friends were getting married there, but the wedding there has now been cancelled.

He bought the tickets last year and said he plans to continue with the trip and would love to go to more games if he gets the opportunity.

He said any isolation would be "worth it".

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