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FOOTBALL

Euro 2020: English residents in Italy first in line for Rome quarter final tickets

England will be counting on fans living in Italy for support in the Euro 2020 quarter-final against Ukraine on Saturday as Covid-19 restrictions have stopped supporters from travelling to Rome.

Euro 2020: English residents in Italy first in line for Rome quarter final tickets
Photo: JUSTIN TALLIS/POOL/AFP

The Football Association confirmed on Tuesday that it would not be selling tickets to the England Supporters Travel Club (ESTC), the official arm of England’s away supporters.

Fans will be unable to make the trip after the Italian government last week reinstated quarantine and testing requirements for all arrivals from the UK.

READ ALSO: Bars, house parties and fan zones: Where and how can you watch Euro 2020 matches in Italy?

Tickets will instead be made available primarily to fans resident in Italy, the FA said.

So how can Italy’s English residents get hold of tickets for Saturday’s match?

The game will be hosted at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, with capacity reduced to just 18,000. The FA is allowed to distribute 12.5% of the tickets, which means there will be around 2,000 seats available.

The estimated 30,000 British citizens resident in Italy will no doubt be keen to get hold of tickets – but it’s not yet clear how they’ll be able to do so.

There was widespread confusion on Wednesday after UK media reports suggested that the British Embassy would be helping to distribute tickets for the match, following a statement by the FA.

“Unfortunately, the FA will not be selling any tickets via the ESTC for this fixture given the travel restrictions in place across both countries, and as such are working with Uefa and the British embassy in Italy to facilitate as many ticket sales to English residents in Italy as possible,” the FA said in a statement to ESTC members on Tuesday:

EXPLAINED: How has Italy changed its rules on travel from the UK? 

However, the British Embassy in Rome told The Local on Wednesday that, contrary to reports, it “is not selling or distributing tickets for the match on Saturday in Rome”.

An embassy spokesperson did not respond to requests for details on who fans should contact for ticket information.

We will publish an update on how tickets to the match are being distributed as the details become available.

The British Embassy added: “Under the UK Government’s traffic light system Italy is currently listed as an amber country.

“The UK Government’s travel advice clearly states that fans should not travel to red and amber countries to protect public health in the UK from new Covid variants.

“The Italian authorities are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry into Italy. Its current guidance states that from June 21st, people travelling from the UK or those who have been in the UK in the previous 14 days must self-isolate for 5 days upon arrival in Italy, after which they must take a rapid antigenic or molecular swab test for Covid-19 and test negative for release.

“This means that fans travelling from the UK to Italy after 28 June will not arrive in time to be able to watch the Euro 2020 quarter-final in Rome on July 3rd 2021.”

 

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FOOTBALL

Putellas becomes second Spanish footballer in history to win Ballon d’Or

Alexia Putellas of Barcelona and Spain won the women's Ballon d'Or prize on Monday, becoming only the second Spanish-born footballer in history to be considered the best in the world, and claiming a win for Spain after a 61-year wait.

FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award.
FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award. Photo: FRANCK FIFE / AFP

Putellas is the third winner of the prize, following in the footsteps of Ada Hegerberg, who won the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or in 2018, and United States World Cup star Megan Rapinoe, winner in 2019.

Putellas captained Barcelona to victory in this year’s Champions League, scoring a penalty in the final as her side hammered Chelsea 4-0 in Gothenburg.

She also won a Spanish league and cup double with Barca, the club she joined as a teenager in 2012, and helped her country qualify for the upcoming Women’s Euro in England.

Her Barcelona and Spain teammate Jennifer Hermoso finished second in the voting, with Sam Kerr of Chelsea and Australia coming in third.

It completes an awards double for Putellas, who in August was named player of the year by European football’s governing body UEFA.

But it’s also a huge win for Spain as it’s the first time in 61 years that a Spanish footballer – male or female – is crowned the world’s best footballer of the year, and only the second time in history a Spaniard wins the Ballon d’Or. 

Former Spanish midfielder Luis Suárez (not the ex Liverpool and Barça player now at Atlético) was the only Spanish-born footballer to win the award in 1960 while at Inter Milan. Argentinian-born Alfredo Di Stefano, the Real Madrid star who took up Spanish citizenship, also won it in 1959.

Who is Alexia Putellas?

Alexia Putellas grew up dreaming of playing for Barcelona and after clinching the treble of league, cup and Champions League last season, her status as a women’s footballing icon was underlined as she claimed the Ballon d’Or on Monday.

Unlike the men’s side, Barca’s women swept the board last term with the 27-year-old, who wears “Alexia” on the back of her shirt, at the forefront, months before Lionel Messi’s emotional departure.

Attacker Putellas, who turns 28 in February, spent her childhood less than an hour’s car journey from the Camp Nou and she made her first trip to the ground from her hometown of Mollet del Valles, for the Barcelona derby on January 6, 2000.

Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas (R) vies with VfL Wolfsburg's German defender Kathrin Hendrich
Putellas plays as a striker for Barça and Spain. GABRIEL BOUYS / POOL / AFP

Exactly 21 years later she became the first woman in the modern era to score in the stadium, against Espanyol. Her name was engraved in the club’s history from that day forward, but her story started much earlier.

She started playing the sport in school, against boys.

“My mum had enough of me coming home with bruises on my legs, so she signed me up at a club so that I stopped playing during break-time,” Putellas said last year.

So, with her parent’s insistence, she joined Sabadell before being signed by Barca’s academy.

“That’s where things got serious… But you couldn’t envisage, with all one’s power, to make a living from football,” she said.

After less than a year with “her” outfit, she moved across town to Espanyol and made her first-team debut in 2010 before losing to Barca in the final of the Copa de la Reina.

She then headed south for a season at Valencia-based club Levante before returning “home” in July 2012, signing for Barcelona just two months after her father’s death.

In her first term there she helped Barca win the league and cup double, winning the award for player of the match in the final of the latter competition.

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