FA to conduct ‘full review’ into Wembley disorder

The English Football Association (FA) has said it will carry out a full review and investigation into the events at Wembley Stadium ahead of the UEFA Euro 2020 final between England and Italy on Sunday night.

A number of ticketless fans illegally forced their way into the stadium for the match, which marked the first major final for England’s men’s national team in 55 years.

Videos on social media showed fans breaking through ticket barriers outside of Wembley and fighting with other supporters and stewards once inside the stadium. The official capacity for the match, which Italy won on penalties, was 60,000 but estimates suggest that there were around 200,000 fans in the vicinity of the stadium ahead of kick-off.

In the immediate aftermath of the match, the FA said it would work with the relevant authorities to take action against the fans who forced their way into the stadium. The governing body has now confirmed that a full investigation and review will be carried out in collaboration with the police, the Greater London Authority, the Safety Advisory Group and tournament delivery stakeholders.

The FA’s statement added: “Security and stewarding numbers for the UEFA Euro 2020 final exceeded the requirements for the match and were greater than any other previous event at Wembley Stadium. However, the behaviour of the people who illegally forced their way into the stadium was unacceptable, dangerous and showed total disregard for the safety and security protocols in place.

“No steward or security staff should be subjected to this type of behaviour and we thank them for their support on the night. We also apologise to anyone at the match whose experience was affected by this unprecedented level of public disorder. We will continue to work with the relevant authorities to identify and take action against these people where possible.”

The exact number of supporters who entered the stadium is unclear but witnesses said that it was in the hundreds, with reporters inside Wembley stating that fans were arriving at their seats only to see them occupied by ticketless supporters.

Fans have also told the BBC that some supporters refused to show their tickets or COVID-19 status – a requirement for entry as the match formed part of the UK Government’s Events Research Programme. The Metropolitan Police said there had been 45 arrests on Sunday night.

An initial statement from Wembley on Sunday night said that there were “no security breaches of people without tickets getting inside the stadium” but a spokesperson later confirmed that there was a breach and a “small group” of people entered the venue.

Wembley staged a total of eight matches during Euro 2020, with the stadium’s capacity increasing from 22,500 for its opening fixture to more than 60,000 for the semi-finals and final. Eleven cities across Europe hosted matches during the tournament.

Image: Aleks Marinkovic on Unsplash