Visiting football VIPs could be exempted from self-isolation rules on arrival in the UK under plans to allow them to attend the final matches of Euro 2020.
The Government is said to be approaching a compromise deal that would require Uefa and Fifa officials, politicians, sponsors and broadcasters to agree to only attend football matches – effectively placing them in “bubbles”.
Many VIPs are expected to fly in and out of the country on the same day, or stay overnight in hotels block-booked for the tournament, the Times reported.
The Government announced on Tuesday that more than 60,000 football fans will be allowed to attend the semi-finals and final at Wembley if they have a negative Covid-19 test or prove they are double vaccinated.
Uefa is thought to be pushing for 2,500 VIPs to attend the competition’s final on July 11 without being subjected to quarantine requirements that apply to other international travellers.
The Government and Uefa have been engaged in talks over travel restrictions, which a UK source said were “positive” and that “final details are being worked through”, although ministers had indicated that some restrictions would remain in place.
Earlier reports had suggested the final could be moved to Budapest if a deal could not be reached, and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi also said that Rome could provide an alternative venue.
But in a statement, Uefa said: “Uefa, the English FA and the English authorities are working closely together successfully to stage the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020 in Wembley and there are no plans to change the venue for those games.”
Meanwhile, British travellers continue to face restrictions over taking holidays abroad.
Attendance capacity for the tournament’s closing matches at the stadium has been increased to 75%, which could see some of the largest crowds for a sporting event in the UK since the start of the pandemic.
All ticket holders will be required to have a negative coronavirus test or provide proof of two doses of a vaccine 14 days before a game.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “As we continue to make progress on our road map out of lockdown, keeping the public safe remains our top priority.
“We have worked extremely closely with Uefa and the FA to ensure rigorous and tight public health measures are in place whilst allowing more fans to see the action live.
“The finals promise to be an unforgettable moment in our national recovery from the pandemic.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the matches “will show that when it comes to great sporting events, London simply cannot be beaten” and urged Londoners to stick to Covid rules during the tournament.
Mark Bullingham, FA chief executive, said: “We hope that this programme lays the foundation for the safe return of fans in stadiums all across the country next season.”
The matches will form part of the Government’s events research programme (ERP) which has seen test events held at sporting, music and other venues to assess the impact of crowds on Covid-19 infection rates.
The announcement came just a day after Covid-19 restrictions in England were hoped to be further lifted, before the Prime Minister pushed this back by up to four weeks amid concern over the Delta variant.
It meant ongoing curbs on other events in England, such as weddings where the size of a guest list now depends on how many people a venue can safely accommodate.
Some couples due to marry this week voiced their frustration at continued limitations while large-scale sporting events can welcome back crowds.
Pilot events under the ERP include the Royal Ascot horse racing meeting being permitted to host crowds of up to 12,000 spectators per day, while the first week capacity of the Wimbledon tennis championships will be capped at half of normal levels – 21,000 people.
Other test events have included the FA Cup final at Wembley, the Brit Awards and the World Snooker Championship.