UEFA today appointed Dr Daniel Koch, the former head of communicable diseases at Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), as medical advisor to UEFA EURO 2020 on all matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year, Dr Koch won widespread respect from the Swiss public for his regular and reassuring explanations on how best to combat the first wave of coronavirus infections.

“Dr Koch has vast experience in the field of public health and communicable diseases,” said UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin, welcoming the announcement. “His expertise will be invaluable in helping UEFA, host associations and host cities to navigate a path to maximising spectator attendance at EURO 2020 this summer.”

On Wednesday, UEFA reiterated its commitment to holding EURO 2020 across 12 European cities, according to the schedule agreed last summer. However, due to fast-changing infection rates and the ongoing COVID-19 immunisation programmes, final decisions on plans to accommodate fans inside EURO stadiums are only expected in early April.

“I am delighted to join UEFA as a medical advisor for EURO 2020,” said Dr Koch, “I am very optimistic that by working closely together with all partners involved we will find the best solutions to host the tournament this summer in a safe manner for everyone involved, and hopefully for as many fans as possible.”

During his career at the FOPH, Dr Koch also headed the pandemic preparedness and vaccination sections, as well as working on a task force addressing the SARS pandemic in 2002/03 and H5N1 avian influenza.

After studying medicine in the Swiss capital of Bern and qualifying as a physician, in 1988, Dr Koch joined the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). During his 14-year career with the ICRC, he served as medical coordinator in Sierra Leone, Uganda, South Africa and Peru. In 1996/97, Dr Koch obtained a Master’s degree in public health (MPH) at the renowned Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in the United States.