It was supposed to be the tournament that brought Europe together, with football fans from across the continent joining together in a festival of sport. 

The Covid-19 pandemic that has impacted so many aspects of society has in all likelihood put a stop to the hopes and aspirations that many had for Euro 2020, but although fans are now unlikely to be able to travel to matches, it hasn’t stopped UEFA taking them for a ride. 

I refer of course to the news that broke last week which saw UEFA announce that fans will be unable to get the refunds for clashes at Hampden and more beyond January 26th if matches are moved to a different venue.

READ MORE: EURO 2020: Fans have 12 days to claim ticket refund

The new ticket refund policy states: "In the event of the postponement of the match before kick-off for a reason of Force Majeure, the ticket will be valid for the rearranged playing of the match. The applicant will not be entitled to a refund of the tickets if they are unable to attend the rearranged playing of the match.”

Fans have been told that they will also be able to obtain a refund after the cut off if a match is cancelled, played behind closed doors, or moved to a venue where the ticket is not valid due to capacity or distancing.


Now before I go any further, let me get a few things straight. I am in no way stating that Euro 2020 is high on the list of priorities for the majority of people at the moment. There are without a doubt bigger issues impacting the nation, thousands are dying,  people have been unable to see their loved ones, and thousands are now without a job. 

I am also not a sports reporter - I do not often write about football or brave the elements even during lockdown to deliver match reports and more like my colleagues. Instead, I write this column simply as a fan, asking one simple question. How out of touch are the people at the top of the game?


Amid speculation that the multi-city hosting format could be scrapped, the powers that be have opted not to shed any insight on future plans and instead emailed fans offering just 12 days to decide whether they want a refund.

A decision, that could see the tournament go ahead as planned or move to one host nation, is expected to be made in March, and if fans haven’t opted for a refund and can no longer attend… tough.

What sort of message is that to send to fans that have spent a small fortune securing tickets, or fans who are holding out hope to attend a historic football tournament in their own country?

I thought that one of the small positives to come out of this pandemic would be compassion and humanity for others, but clearly, UEFA have not got the memo. 

No contingency plans have been revealed, no potential options have been shared. It is simply a stick or twist decision.

And even though refunds will be given if games are played in the planned venues and cannot host a full capacity, the short notice period from UEFA is more than just a concern for the wallet. 

Speaking personally, but perhaps for many, one of the hardest things to find during this global pandemic has been hope. Take for example the Christmas rules that were changed with a week to go until the 25th. One of the reasons there was such a backlash about the rules changing in my opinion was not because people had their plans scuppered - it was because the hope of seeing their loved ones for a day of normality was gone.

READ MORE: 'Now let's beat Covid': The warning as Scotland celebrates historic Euro 2020 qualification


For many, as silly as it sounds, the Euros at Hampden were a small source of hope. 

I am not ashamed to admit that the prospect of going to a football game with my dad and brother are thoughts I turn to in some of my lowest ebbs in this pandemic.

It is natural that normality is something many long for. Instead, fans are now faced with the prospect of seeking a refund and potentially missing out on matches, or holding out to that hope that life will return to some form of normality. Scotland fans in particular face losing out on seeing Scotland for the first time in a major tournament since 1998, or if plans change, losing a significant amount of money.  

I am one of those fans. I have three tickets to matches at Hampden, and in truth I do not know what I intend to do. What I do know is that even the cheap seats are a significant amount to risk with the prospect that come June I could be watching it on TV, although UEFA has made it clear there is an exemption if "reasonable travelling distances" are exceeded.


People who hold out in the hope that life may return to some sort of normality by June and games may take place at Hampden face being out of pocket if they do not cash in by January 26th

And that is what makes the 12 days notice from UEFA even more frustrating. As previously mentioned, a decision is likely to be made in March. There has been no indication of what could come to pass - and while a degree of uncertainty is expected with these things at the moment, it appears to be only the fans that will pay the price. 

While this piece references Scotland in particular, it is worth noting that this decision from UEFA is affecting the entire crop of fans who have obtained tickets. Fans have been told that refunds will be available beyond the January cut off under certain circumstances. However, for a tournament that puts connection at the heart of its branding, it seems that the short notice feels drastically out of touch.