With less than five months to the European Championships commencing, there remains a great level of uncertainty and lack of clarity on how the tournament will play out.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and mass travel restrictions across Europe, fans at matches remains highly improbable and the current format may be ditched for a more centralised tournament, although nothing official has emerged to suggest otherwise.
A report in Marca has now outlined how this uncertainty has impacted upon Bilbao – the one host city in Spain, which is set to host three Group E matches and one Round of 16 clash.
Spain’s fixtures against Poland, Sweden and Slovakia are all due to be held at the home of Athletic Bilbao, but it is highlighted how this was never a particularly attractive proposal for the city council (the most important voice), the Basque Government, the Provincial Council and Athletic themselves.
It has never been the natural home for the Spain national team due to many locals identifying as Basque rather than Spanish and even supporting the idea of an independent Basque Country.
The lack of away fans and tourism will also remove the key benefit to the city housing the games, and it can not be ruled out that the games will be moved away from the city.