Public Health England has revealed the number of COVID-19 cases linked to Euro 2020 in a new study ©Getty Images

Public Health England (PHE) has claimed England reaching the final of the postponed UEFA European Championship amid the COVID-19 pandemic caused a "significant risk" to public health in the country.

The scientific body made the statement in its latest report, citing data using the National Health Service's Track and Trace system.

In the report, PHE said more than 9,000 COVID-19 cases in England were linked to matches at the tournament, where the country's team played all but one of their games at Wembley Stadium in London.

"Particularly high" numbers of COVID-19 infections were identified at the Euro 2020 final, won by Italy after they beat England on penalties.

PHE revealed 2,295 people in or around Wembley were likely to have been infectious at the time of the match on July 11.

A further 3,404 people in and around the ground were potentially infected around the time of the final, the report said.

The official attendance at the final was 67,173, although the actual number is thought to be much higher after thousands stormed Wembley Stadium and got in without tickets.

Large groups gathered in and around Wembley before the Euro 2020 final between Italy and England ©Getty Images
Large groups gathered in and around Wembley before the Euro 2020 final between Italy and England ©Getty Images

PHE data had earlier showed an increase in positive COVID-19 cases among young men in England during the tournament.

England's progress to their first major football final "generated a significant risk to public health across the UK even when England played overseas", according to the authors of the report.

"This risk arose not just from individuals attending the event itself, but included activities undertaken during travel and associated social activities," the authors added.

"For the final and semi-final games at Wembley, risk mitigation measures in place were less effective in controlling COVID-19 transmission than was the case for other mass spectator sports events."

All COVID-19 restrictions in England were lifted last month and last week saw the first round of matches in the Premier League staged in front of full crowds since the pandemic hit last March.

"We've shown that we can reintroduce mass sports and cultural events safely but it is important that people remain cautious when mixing in very crowded settings," said Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.

"So that we can keep the football season, theatres, and gigs safe with full crowds this winter, I urge sport, music, and culture fans to get the vaccine as this is the safest way we can get big events firing on all cylinders once more."