UEFA EURO 2020 was the first EURO tournament to be hosted across the continent, from Seville to St Petersburg, Copenhagen to Rome and Dublin to Baku. Wembley Stadium in London hosted eight matches, including both semi-finals and the final.
The Greater London Authority and The Football Association (FA) were the delivery partners for the matches in London. The scale of the tournament and its unique format presented particular challenges around moving fans in and out of the country and around London between the stadium, the fan zones, and the centre of the city.
The project was led by Simon Hall, who devised the ‘On the Ground’ operation and Ed Robinson, who led the delivery of all UEFA Tournament services.
There were four key issues to resolve when we joined: securing permission for night flights to enable players, officials and fans to fly back to their base camps after matches; finding coach parking for fans, given the Wembley coach parks were taken by broadcast and hospitality commitment; exploring the options for free public transport for fans; and ensuring sufficient services were running to and from the stadium to move fans back to the city centre, given the late kick-off times.
These were all made more difficult by the tournament’s postponement by a year and the COVID restrictions in place.
How we helped
Our previous work at Wembley and with the Greater London Authority on ceremonial events gave the delivery partners confidence to deliver this challenging tournament.
We created monthly operations groups with the key players in London’s air and rail industries, including train operating companies, Network Rail, airports and industry bodies such as NATS and Airports Coordination Limited. These sessions were used to review the challenges (frequently changing as COVID restrictions changed), present solutions that had been worked up in the previous month and identify actions for the next month.
Ed Robinson was then in place in the Transport for London control room during the tournament, liaising between transport stakeholders and the wider project team. He was also responsible for directing mobility-related communications through the UEFA app to fans.
Successes and outcomes
All the work was stress-tested during the tournament itself: COVID restrictions continued to change throughout the tournament and resulted in staff absences for transport operators, fan behaviour was challenging, and each of the semi-finals and the final went to penalties. Despite this, there were no significant issues with the transport network.
Watch and discover how Steer assisted in delivering the UEFA Euro Championship 2020.
In this four-part series, Ed Robinson discusses the initial challenges and how we overcame them, as well as the championship being postponed by a year due to the COVID pandemic and the new demands that arose as a result.