As the temperature has been creeping up, and with the beer gardens opening, it is beginning to feel similar to the summer of 2018.
The excitement over the World Cup was growing – football was indeed coming home – and the combination of watching an England game and then catching Love Island later that evening was something which has yet to be replicated.
However, this summer will inevitably look different. With just weeks to go before our long-awaited 2020 summer of sport is scheduled to begin, what does the calendar look like and will everything go ahead?
UEFA Euro 2020
When?: 11 June-11 July
Where?: Across Europe
EURO 2020 – no, they didn’t change the name – was postponed from last summer with most domestic leagues using June and July to wrap up the 2019-20 season. UEFA have been keen to ensure the tournament goes ahead without delay – with the World Cup next year, there is no chance of postponement – and it is looking increasingly likely that the tournament will go ahead, though there will be some changes to the plans for a cross-European tournament.
Dublin and Bilbao, both due to be host to some of the games in the tournament, had their games replaced by Saint Petersburg, London and Seville. The RFEF – the Spanish equivalent of the FA – said it would not be possible to host games in Bilbao due to the restrictions the Basque government have put in place for COVID-19 (in Spanish), whilst UEFA were keen to reallocate the games scheduled in Dublin as the Irish government could not confirm that they would allow spectators in to the 51,700-capacity Aviva Stadium, so UEFA removed their status as hosts.
Otherwise, though, it looks like the tournament will go ahead – but will England finally bring a trophy home? One can only hope.
Tour de France 2021
When?: 26 June-18 July
The Tour de France will go ahead this summer, but again there will be a few changes. The longest stage in a race since 2000 will be in place, with riders cycling from Vierzon to La Creusot for a distance of 248km. Whilst the plan was originally to start in Copenhagen – the first time the Tour would have visited Denmark – the Grand Départ will take place in Brest so as to avoid any clashes with games in the EUROs being hosted at the Parken stadium.
Five Brits will take part in the race, with the youngest being Mancunian Simon Yates. The 28-year-old will cycle his fifth Tour de France hoping to beat his best finish, a 7th place finish in 2017.
When?: 28 June-11 July
Where?: Wimbledon, London
Spectators are likely to be welcomed, but not in the numbers we might be used to, for Wimbledon 2021. The 134th edition of the tournament will see Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep try and defend their 2019 titles, after the 2020 tournament was cancelled due to COVID rather than being postponed. The tournament is to be structured in the same way as always. ATP rankings will be used for the men’s seeding, and capacity for the tournament will be confirmed ‘as late as possible’ so as to cause the least disappointment, depending on government guidelines closer to the tournament’s start date in late June.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games
When?: 23 July-8 August, 24 August-5 September
Where?: Tokyo, Japan
This tournament is perhaps the most uncertain. As things stand, the Olympics will go ahead but the Olympic and Paralympic committees were told that no international fans will be permitted at the Games as it is “highly unlikely” that entry to the country could be guaranteed. With over 11,000 athletes and 200 countries taking part in the Games, there is a huge logistical challenge facing a country riding yet another large wave of COVID-19 infections. Combined with the slow vaccination rollout and an ageing population, Japan will struggle to bring the games to light but if they can, I am sure it will be a spectacle long in the making.
The overall trend seems to be – let’s be cautiously optimistic that sport can go ahead as planned. These four events are just the tip of the iceberg, with the England v Pakistan T20s, the British Grand Prix and the brand-new The Hundred tournament all also planned for this summer.
Information is correct at the time of writing.