England's Euro 2020 games won't get big screen treatment in Portsmouth
ANY hopes of a crowd watching England play on the big screen have been dashed.
Back in 2018 there were hopes fans could watch England in the semi-final of the World Cup in Guildhall Square or Southsea Common.
But this year lockdown restrictions and concerns over the spread of Covid-19 mean that idea is a complete non-starter, a top councillor has confirmed.
Fans will have to go to a pub or stay home to watch Gareth Southgate’s men playing Ukraine on Saturday, and possibly then either Czech Republic or Denmark depending on who wins the other quarter final.
Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘We have been told very clearly by the government that we are not allowed to get people gathered together.
‘We couldn’t do anything for Armed Forces Day and we aren’t able to encourage people to get together for the football either.
‘I just don’t think it’s possible to do something for the Euros – we simply can’t chance it.’
Rising Covi-19 infection rates mean it would be ‘foolish’ to undo the hard work done during lockdown, he added.
He said: ‘Our infection rate is going up all the time, and very quickly at the moment.
‘We simply cannot have people gathering and that is the message from central government too.
‘Every single one of us wants to have the restrictions lifted sooner rather than later – why throw away everything we have sacrificed like that?’
Over the past seven days there have been 325 new cases of Covid-19 in Portsmouth.
England will kick off against Ukraine at Stadio Olimpico in Rome at 8pm on Saturday.
The game will be broadcast on BBC One, and people can also watch online via BBC iPlayer.