The Football Association has said tickets for England’s Euro 2020 quarter-final against Ukraine in Rome on Saturday will soon be made available, as Italian officials warned fans travelling from the UK to respect quarantine rules.
The FA said on Wednesday that if fans were not subject to travel restrictions and wanted to buy a ticket for the match at Rome’s Olympic Stadium, general access tickets would be sold via Uefa’s ticket portal.
“The date and time for this sale will be communicated, once known, via both Uefa and the social channels of the British embassy in Italy. Tickets will remain on sale until they are sold out,” the association added. It will not itself be taking an official allocation of tickets due to the travel restrictions.
The FA caused confusion last night after saying it would give English residents in Italy priority for tickets, sold via the British embassy in Rome, as Covid restrictions prevented fans travelling to Italy from the UK.
English people living in Italy were then left frustrated and disappointed as they scrambled to book seats.
Caught off-guard by England’s historic win over Germany on Tuesday night, many English fans in Italy initially searched for tickets online, only to be faced with what one described as a “slow and cumbersome” Uefa website or other sites selling tickets at extortionate prices.
The FA told members of the England Supporters Travel Club (ESTC), the official arm of England’s away support, that it would not be selling tickets for the fixture via the ESTC, given the travel restrictions in Italy and the UK, and was instead working with Uefa and the British embassy “to facilitate as many ticket sales to English residents in Italy as possible”.
However, the embassy said it was “not selling or distributing tickets for the match on Saturday in Rome and it is incorrect to report that it is”.
“It’s a disgrace … All this mixed messaging,” said Neil Marsland, who lives in Rome. “There is no clear guidance – are there any tickets available and, if so, how do we get them? Maybe it will get resolved, as one would have thought there would be a number of tickets available for English residents in Italy.”
His friend Nick Norvell said: “We’ve been trying to find tickets via Uefa, but the site is super-slow and cumbersome … and probably everyone else is searching too.”
Italy reimposed a five-day quarantine rule on travellers arriving in the country from the UK in mid-June amid fears over the spreading Delta variant. That means fans, who also need to test negative for coronavirus 48 hours prior to travelling, would have needed to have arrived in Italy by Monday in order to watch the game at Rome’s Olympic stadium on Saturday. Anyone caught breaking quarantine could be fined €450 (£385).
The stadium can host a maximum of 16,000 spectators, with 68% of the tickets sold before it was known who the quarter-final contenders would be, according to the local newspaper Roma Today. The remaining tickets were split between the two competing countries’ football associations, which would mean the FA distributing roughly 2,500.
“We were jumping up and down with joy when England beat Germany,” said Jessica Hyde, who lives in Lombardy. “I told my son, Joshua, that there was a possibility he could go to Saturday’s match and he got really excited.”
Rachael Martin, another Lombardy resident, said there was similar excitement in her household when the family heard there might be tickets available from the embassy. “It’s disappointing as it would have been a nice touch, especially as football always brings everyone together,” she added.
Some English fans are said to have bought tickets for the match and travelled to Italy before knowing the national side would reach the quarter-final. Alessio D’Amato, health councillor for Lazio, the region surrounding Rome, said: “It must be remembered that, in order to fight against the Delta variant, there is a five-day quarantine rule in place for everyone coming from Great Britain, and this must be respected.”
Rachel Greenwood, in Umbria, said: “I’m pretty gobsmacked that England beat Germany, and would really love to see the match in Rome.”