19/01/2021 14:51 GMT

Labour MP Calls For Emergency Workers To Get Free Euro 2020 Tickets

Exclusive: Apsana Begum tells HuffPost UK Wembley tickets would be "a wonderful way of saying thank you" to England's "Covid heroes".

Covid heroes” who have worked in the emergency services during the pandemic should be given free tickets to England’s Euro 2020 matches, a Labour MP has said.

Apsana Begum said thousands of complimentary tickets should be reserved for the England men’s football team group games at Wembley for NHS staff, care workers and paramedics.

England play Scotland, the Czech Republic and Croatia at the 90,000-seater stadium in June and reports suggest the FA is preparing to admit crowds of at least 30,000 and potentially more given the speed of the UK’s vaccination programme.

Begum told HuffPost UK that if coronavirus rules allow large crowds, a “substantial” share of England’s allocation should be reserved for emergency workers who risked their lives to save others.

She said the package could be delivered by the English FA, the Premier League and sports broadcasters, with backing from the government.

The Poplar and Limehouse MP said free tickets should be given to as many emergency workers who want them, staggered over the three fixtures at Euro 2020, which has not been renamed after being postponed last year.

But if demand outstrips supply, a ballot could be held to allocate seats.

Matthew Childs / Reuters
Wembley stadium is seen lit up blue for the Clap For Our Carers campaign in support of the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic in March

She said: “Euro 2020 will be a fantastic celebration of world class international football. 

“This tournament will be ever more the sweeter after the tragedies and hardships we have all suffered during the pandemic.

“Giving free match tickets for England’s games to the key workers in the NHS care homes, emergency services and others who selflessly brought food and provisions to the vulnerable, would be a wonderful way of saying ‘thank you’.

“The football leagues and authorities, the broadcasters, as well as the UK government, should work together so that thousands of tickets are reserved for these Covid heroes.

“This has to be dependent on safety and Covid rules, but the availability of vaccines and the substantial capacity of Wembley, hopefully make it a realistic prospect.

“Ideally all emergency workers who want tickets should be accommodated, but if there are issues there could be allocations for different groups for the three games so that no one is left out, or even a ballot.

“However, the main thing is that we establish the principle of making sure that we give our Covid heroes the opportunity to enjoy live football at Euro 2020.”

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has been approached for comment.