Reports have resurfaced of plans by France and Germany to stop England and other British sides from playing at the European Championships following the semi-final triumph against Denmark on Wednesday.
In 2016, the EU’s two big powers prepared a petition to remove British sides in the event of Brexit. The Euros that year kicked off two weeks before the historic referendum to leave the EU.
A rather important fact that seems to have escaped Eurofanatic schemers is that European football’s governing body, UEFA is not remotely affiliated with the European Union – it is headquartered in non-EU Switzerland.
But reality never gets in the way of exaggerated pro-EU campaigning. In April 2016, details were leaked to the Telegraph of a petition to throw out British teams in the event of Brexit.
“Solidarity is a core principle in Europe, and this is true in the great game of football no less than trade or politics,” said Jurgen Loos, a German former footballer who masterminded the plan. “If Britain leaves, then we should be clear: ‘out’ means ‘out’.”
The Franco-German plans were so well developed that legal documents were drafted to set out contingencies for dealing with enraged England fans in the event their Euro 2016 tickets became void.
The proposal had gathered momentum following England’s 3-2 defeat of Germany in Berlin in March 2016.
UEFA spokesman, Yuro Baloni declined to make a statment until the petition was legally filed. The reason why Loos and his fellow plotters did not go ahead with it have not emerged.
Fast forward to 2021, Britain has left the EU, UEFA is holding the tournament across Covid-hit Europe a year late with both semi-finals and the final at Wembley and England are in the final, having knocked out Germany in their round of 16 meeting. Several of the matches, including a quarter-final between Denmark and the Czech Republic, were played in Baku, Azerbaijan, a country repeatedly in the dock for human rights violations, a cause celebre of the EU elite.
But this year’s tournament has been tinged with controversy at times. Italian prime minister Mario Draghi called for the final, in which Italy will face England, to be played at Rome’s dreary Stadio Olimpico because of rising infections in Britain, even though vaccination rates are much higher in the UK.
The German Daily Express ran the headline “Everything ready for the Euro-Brexit” above a cut out Three Lions crest with (now former) Germany manager, Joachim Löw’s head printed in place of the three beasts’ heads.
The heavily coiffed coach is now out of a job after his team lost to England.
We’re never going to get tired of saying that.