Dublin looks set to miss out on hosting Euro 2020 games this summer after the Irish government conceded it does not expect to meet Uefa’s demand of filling stadiums to 25% capacity.
The delayed tournament is due to be hosted in 12 cities across Europe from June with Uefa set to make a decision on Munich, Bilbao and Dublin on Friday.
Those three cities have been unable to guarantee spectator attendance.
“We think June is too soon,” said Irish deputy prime minister Leo Varadkar.
“I think if they continue to insist on [having 25% of the stadium full], it’ll be hard for it to go ahead quite frankly, which is unfortunate.”
While the Republic of Ireland has one of Europe’s lowest incidence rates of Covid-19, the government plans to reopen sectors very gradually with most shops due to stay shut until at least May and hotels potentially only opening in June.
The Republic of Ireland, whose team failed to qualify for Euro 2020, is due to host three Group E matches between Poland, Slovakia and Sweden at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium from 14 June, followed by a last-16 tie.