Sweden denied funds to host Euro 2016

Sweden has scrapped its bid to co-host the Euro 2016 football championships with Norway after the governments of both countries refused to provide financial support for the joint bid, the Swedish Football Federation (SvFF) announced on Wednesday.

The announcement seriously compromises the Scandinavian neighbours’ hopes of hosting the four-yearly tournament.

“During a meeting in Oslo on Wednesday with the participation of the Ministries of Culture of Norway and Sweden, as well as the Norwegian and Swedish football federations, the two governments announced that they intend to say no to the public money requested by municipalities to finance infrastructure work linked to the candidature for the organizations of Euro 2016,” said the SvFF in a press release.

“The Swedish Football Federation will now await the government’s formal decision before deciding how the process should continue. But the decision made today makes the candidature impossible.”

The deadline for the submission of bids to host the 2016 European Championship is February 15 next year.

Lars-Åke Lagrell, the head of the Swedish federation, was frustrated by the developments.

“It’s a big disappointment,” he told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

“If you’re going to have a huge European championship, then everyone needs to help, we constantly got the impression that the political will isn’t there. The message was very clear.”

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Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland

Norway, which has suspended the use of AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine until further notice, will send 216,000 doses to Sweden and Iceland at their request, the Norwegian health ministry said Thursday.

Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland
Empty vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

“I’m happy that the vaccines we have in stock can be put to use even if the AstraZeneca vaccine has been paused in Norway,” Health Minister Bent Høie said in a statement.

The 216,000 doses, which are currently stored in Norwegian fridges, have to be used before their expiry dates in June and July.

Sweden will receive 200,000 shots and Iceland 16,000 under the expectation they will return the favour at some point. 

“If we do resume the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, we will get the doses back as soon as we ask,” Høie said.

Like neighbouring Denmark, Norway suspended the use of the AstraZeneca jab on March 11 in order to examine rare but potentially severe side effects, including blood clots.

Among the 134,000 AstraZeneca shots administered in Norway before the suspension, five cases of severe thrombosis, including three fatal ones, had been registered among relatively young people in otherwise good health. One other person died of a brain haemorrhage.

On April 15, Norway’s government ignored a recommendation from the Institute of Public Health to drop the AstraZeneca jab for good, saying it wanted more time to decide.

READ MORE: Norway delays final decision on withdrawal of AstraZeneca vaccine 

The government has therefore set up a committee of Norwegian and international experts tasked with studying all of the risks linked to the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which is also suspected of causing blood clots.

Both are both based on adenovirus vector technology. Denmark is the only European country to have dropped the AstraZeneca
vaccine from its vaccination campaign, and said on Tuesday it would “lend” 55,000 doses to the neighbouring German state of Schleswig-Holstein.