The UEFA European Football Championship is a special sporting occasion, and only comes around once every four years. Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, fans have been made to wait an extra year for the latest tournament, although it has retained its original ‘Euro 2020’ name. With spectators eager to get to games any way possible, a group of Croatian supporters chartered a plane to Scotland. However, that isn’t where they ended up.
On June 18th, Croatia took on the Czech Republic in their second match at Euro 2020. Having lost their first group stage match 1-0 to England four days beforehand, the team needed a positive result from this fixture to have a good chance of progressing to the tournament’s next knockout phase. Its fans were also prepared to go the extra mile.
Indeed, Glasgow Live reports that a group of four Croatian fans went as far as chartering a plane to take them to the match, which took place in Glasgow’s famous Hampden Park stadium. They set off from Zemun in Serbia on the Friday morning with high hopes. According to Prague Morning, one of the fans, Sebastian Jagic Njare, stated that:
“We already had tickets, and were crazy with happiness. It’s a Czech company, and we got a discount.”
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Not allowed in
However, despite the group’s understandable excitement at the prospect of hiring a private plane to watch their country play on the international stage, they were unable to follow through on their plan. Their otherwise exciting idea unraveled due to the fact that Croatia is listed as an ‘orange’ country on the UK’s present ‘traffic light‘ quarantine system.
As such, they would have been obliged to quarantine for 10 days upon landing. Of course, this would have meant missing the match, rendering the trip pointless. As such, the plane, which seems to have been an eight-seat Beechcraft Super King Air based on photos shared by Croatian newspaper Zadarski, had to turn around. Sebastian added that:
“When we arrived over Scotland, the pilot told us that he had just been informed that we had to leave Scottish airspace. Due to the pandemic, they were not allowing us to land.”
An unlikely adventure
Despite being unable to enter Scotland, the intrepid supporters were determined not to let this get in the way of their adventure. As such, they elected not to return home, but instead to fly to Prague. Despite this being the capital of the Czech Republic, Croatia’s opponents that evening, the group enjoyed watching the match with their rival fans.
The game ended level at 1-1, with Croatia coming from behind to salvage a draw. They then went on to beat Scotland 3-1 in their last group match to progress to the next round in 2nd place behind England. Funnily enough, the diversion to Prague worked out well for the group’s pilot, and helped him get home owing to him being based in the Czech capital!
What do you make of this incident? Have you ever flown on a charter flight to a sporting event? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.