UEFA has opened a disciplinary investigation into the events that marred Wembley Stadium’s hosting of the Euro 2020 final on Sunday.
A number of ticketless fans illegally forced their way into the stadium for the match between England and Italy, 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.
The English Football Association (FA) on Monday said it would carry out a full review and investigation into the events, with UEFA following suit yesterday. European football’s governing body has specifically charged the FA with offences relating to invasion of the field of play by its supporters, throwing of objects by its supporters, lighting of a firework by its fans and disturbance of the Italian national anthem.
However, UEFA also added: “Separately… a UEFA Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector has been appointed to conduct a disciplinary investigation into events involving supporters which occurred inside and around the stadium. Information on this matter will be made available in due course.”
The FA has already been punished for events during England’s semi-final victory over Denmark at Wembley on July 7. The UEFA Control Ethics and Disciplinary Body (CEDB) decided to fine the FA €30,000 (£25,554/$35,369) for the use of laser pointer, disturbances during the national anthems and setting off fireworks.
UEFA could now choose to impose sanctions including ordering the FA to play England games behind closed doors, while the wave of negative publicity generated across the continent also comes at a time when the FA is seeking build a bid for the FIFA World Cup.
In March, the UK Government committed to support a prospective bid from England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to host the 2030 World Cup. In a joint statement, the countries’ respective football associations welcomed the Government’s pledge of £2.8m (€3.29m/$3.87m) to begin a potential bid for the showpiece event.
FIFA will formally open the bidding process for the 2030 World Cup in 2022. In the meantime, the FA and its fellow national governing bodies have been undertaking feasibility work to assess the viability of a bid.
Further details have also emerged concerning Sunday’s events as one of the organisers of the groups of ticketless fans that stormed Wembley described how events unfolded. The England fan told The Guardian newspaper that he was one of the administrators of a chat group of hundreds of ticketless fans on instant messaging platform Telegram who shared tips about getting into Wembley ahead of the game.
Hours before the kick-off those who succeeded advised those still outside on where stadium security breaches had been made, he said. He detailed how he and around 300 others got into Wembley via an entrance for disabled visitors, and claimed others bribed stewards to get in. He estimated that at least 5,000 entered the stadium without a ticket.