BIRMINGHAM will not be getting an official Euro 2020 fan zone for tomorrow’s final, despite a campaign by Frankley councillor Simon Morrall.
Coun Morrall wrote to city council leader Coun Ian Ward, urging the authority to create a Covid-secure area for fans as has been organised in other cities.
In the letter Coun Morrall said: ” In the past you have said that Birmingham is a city that loves sport, although we don’t agree on much, in this case we absolutely do!
“Football is an incredibly uniting force, that brings people together from all backgrounds and following on from a year of lockdowns, loneliness and loss, this is an opportunity to lift the spirt of our great city.
“Sunday’s match will mark the first time that the England men’s football team have reached a final since 1966 – Brummies should have the opportunity to come together in a Covid secure zone fan zone to cheer the team on, like was the case for the cricket and is proposed for the Commonwealth games.
“This is also an opportunity for the city council to support the hospitality and events sector at the same time as supporting fans.
“That is why I also call on you to offer food and drinks stalls to small, local and independent traders so that they too can see a benefit from the event.
“Whilst I appreciate there are concerns in relation to Covid, it is surely better to encourage people into open air spaces in line with the hands, face, space, fresh air guidance from the government.
“There is also an added benefit of less people gathering in houses and spreading the virus in an enclosed space.
“I know all councillors and officers will join me and the Conservative Group in sending all our best wishes to the team ahead of the match on Friday and hope for an England win.
“I look forward to receiving your response.”
Coun Ward wrote back thanking Coun Morrall for his letter and adding he had enjoyed every minute of England’s journey to the Euro 2020 final, everyone should be extremely proud of the team.
“Like most people across this city, I will be backing Gareth Southgate and his players in Sunday’s final.
“I want people across Birmingham to enjoy the final – just as they have enjoyed every England game throughout the tournament, but I also want people to be safe.
“As you know, the Covid pandemic has not gone away. Restrictions are still in place and Birmingham continues to be an area of enhanced support as we are still seeing significant case numbers.
“In addition, several reports this week have highlighted the link between mass gatherings for the football and rising Covid cases – particularly among men.
“There is clearly an additional risk from these mass gatherings.
“Case rates are rising in Birmingham and our young population means that we still have a significant number of people who are not yet double jabbed.”
He added only 40.6 per cent of 18 to 29-year-olds had received their first dose and there were still 135,000 who had not had their first vaccine.
“So, with regret, I feel we are not yet at the stage where such a large mass gathering would be appropriate.
“As you will be aware, I have supported and championed Birmingham’s fantastic hospitality sector throughout the pandemic and we have a wide range of setting where people can enjoy Sunday’s final in a Covid-safe way.
“Hopefully we will all be celebrating an England victory on Monday morning.”