Fans at Wimbledon have been told they can watch the England-Germany Euro 2020 match on their mobile phones on Tuesday – but they will not be allowed to cheer at the football.
Tennis stars may find themselves playing in front of a few distracted fans and empty seats at 5pm on Tuesday.
The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (AELTC) has confirmed that Wimbledon ticket holders will be able to use their electronic tickets to exit and re-enter the stadium.
But unlike in previous years, the resale of tickets within the grounds is banned for the 2021 championship over coronavirus fears, meaning any ticket holders sneaking out to watch England vs Germany will not be able to return their tickets. For those who decide to stay and watch on their phones, a source familiar with the club’s protocol stressed that no particular briefing will be given to stewards regarding the football.
However, The Telegraph understands that the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club will approach policing this event in the same way they did during the 2018 World Cup.
Confirming the arrangements, a spokesman for the AELTC said that "we do have wi-fi available, so guests can watch the football on their devices, or they can be scanned out and back into the grounds, the same set up as we had for the World Cup".
Local pubs in SW19 are expecting a roaring trade, saying they were "fully booked" with football fans, leading some publicans to wonder if some Wimbledon spectators might even slip out of the grounds to catch the football on the small screen. Daniel Timoney, team leader at the Prince of Wales in Wimbledon, said: "We are essentially going to be dead throughout the day until the football comes and people just pile in."
The order of play for Tuesday will be confirmed by the AELTC late on Monday, when it will be announced which players will be placed in the position of having to compete, not only with their opponent, but also with an epic showdown between England and Germany, for the attention of their fans.
- Wimbledon 2021: Order of play for day one, draw details, seeds and Andy Murray start time
In acknowledgement of the near-impossible challenge for any sporting fan to not have one eye on the Euro 2020 clash, the Trades Union Congress is urging employers to institute a half day on Tuesday to allow workers to watch the match.
Frances O’Grady, general secretary, championed this policy as an excellent example of flexible working.
Mr O’Grady, an England and Arsenal supporter, said: "Whether it’s about major sporting events like Euro 2020, attending a medical appointment or picking up the kids from school, allowing people more flexibility in how and when they do their work makes them happier.
"It cuts absenteeism and raises productivity."