“One rule for the elites and another rule for the rest of us.”
Richie Sadlier and Liam Brady engaged in a passionate debate ahead of kick-off in the first semi-final of Euro 2020 on Tuesday night.
Sadlier accused Uefa of double standards for the different approaches they took between regular supporters and better-connected attendees for the meeting of Spain and Italy at Wembley.
On RTE before the match, Sadlier claimed that Uefa were more concerned about accommodating elite individuals than getting actual fans in to watch Spain vs Italy.
“What we know is that 60,000 tickets were up for sale but what we don’t know is how many of those tickets will go to supporters of Italy and Spain,” Sadlier said.
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) July 6, 2021
Richie Sadlier vs Liam Brady
“They’re only available to people who are based in the UK. They’ve been Covid-compliant in that you’ve got to be vaccinated or have a negative test in order to get into the stadium, which makes sense and is a decision that most people would support.
“What kind of stinks in the whole thing is that there’s an entirely different set of rules if you’re what is called a Uefa VIP or a commercial partner – if you’re one of the Uefa big wigs, you can come into the country from wherever, you don’t have to quarantine, you don’t have to produce any kind of documents. In you go to watch the game.
“You hear the phrase and we’ve repeated it so often over the past year and a half, whether there’s maybe one rule for the elites and another rule for the rest of us. That’s literally the case here in top-level football. Uefa have decided that if you’ve paid enough money, if you’re connected, if you’re a sponsor, if you’re in the clique and if you have those contacts, the rules don’t apply to you.”
Former Arsenal and Ireland star Brady refuted Sadlier’s claims and insisted that even VIP attendees had to observe Covid-19 restrictions.
Brady defended the way that the British government handled the organisation of the Euro 2020 matches at Wembley and predicted that there would be plenty of passionate Italian and Spanish fans in attendance.
“Some of the rules did apply to them,” Brady insisted. “They had to be tested as soon as they came in, they had to stay in their hotel and not go anywhere else – just go between the hotel and the stadium.
“And if they didn’t do that, Uefa were going to take the match somewhere else. I think the British government have done the right thing…
“There will be enough Spaniards and enough Italians there tonight, don’t worry about that.”