(Stadium corrections for friendly matches in the penultimate)
ROME, March 26 (Reuters) – Italy will host the opening matches of the European Championship as planned with the crowd at the stadium, according to Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina.
The tournament, which was postponed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, will kick off at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico on June 11 when Italy host Turkey.
“I am sure we will open the European Championship in Rome and we will do it with the stadium crowd,” Gravina told a news conference on Friday.
“I still don’t know how many spectators there will be, but there will definitely be a crowd.”
Italy is one of 12 host nations across Europe, and plans for a month-long tournament to go ahead as originally planned have been called into question as COVID-19 continues to spread.
European football governing body Uefa said after a meeting with host nations in January that it had moved the deadline for the federation to submit plans to house fans on the pitch until early April.
“We have invested two years of hard work and we are confident that on April 7 we will have some feedback to pass on to UEFA, who will not be able to ignore it,” added Gravina.
The FIGC announced on Friday that Italy had arranged Euro 2020 warm-up matches against San Marino and the Czech Republic.
The Sardegna Arena in Cagliari will host the match against San Marino on 28 May before the match against the Czechs on 4 June at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara Bologna.
Italy face Euro 2020 Group A rivals Turkey, Switzerland and Wales in Rome, while the Italian capital will also host the quarter-finals. (Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; Editing by Ken Ferris)