FA commissions independent review into Wembley trouble

The English Football Association (FA) has confirmed today (Monday) that an independent review led by Baroness Casey of Blackstock has been commissioned following the crowd disorder in the lead-up to the UEFA Euro 2020 final at Wembley Stadium on July 11.

The FA had said last week that it would carry out a full review and investigation after a number of ticketless fans illegally forced their way into the stadium for the match between England and Italy.

UEFA, football’s European governing body, has also opened its own disciplinary investigation into the scenes which marred the first major final for England’s men’s national team in 55 years. The Metropolitan Police has denied that its operation failed ahead of the match and stated that the final “could have been abandoned” without the immediate intervention of officers.

The FA has announced today that Baroness Casey, who has previously worked with Labour and Conservative governments in an advisory role on crime and anti-social behaviour, will lead an independent review into the scenes.

“We are determined to fully understand what happened outside and then inside Wembley Stadium at the UEFA Euro 2020 final on Sunday 11 July 2021,” the FA said in a statement.

“We informed DCMS (Department of Culture, Media and Sport) at the weekend that an independent review led by Baroness Casey of Blackstock has been commissioned to report on the facts and circumstances involved. It will speak to all parties concerned and include external experts.

“A key emphasis of the findings will be to ensure that lessons are learned and such disgraceful scenes are never able to be repeated. We continue to work with the relevant authorities in support of their efforts to identify those responsible and hold them to account.”

In the hours leading up to the final, videos circulated on social media which showed several ticketless fans storm Wembley after breaking through ticket barriers. Videos also showed fans fighting with other supporters and stewards once inside the stadium.

The official capacity for the match was 60,000 in line with COVID-19 guidelines. However, estimates suggest that there were around 200,000 fans in the vicinity of the stadium ahead of kick-off.

One of the organisers of the groups of ticketless fans that stormed Wembley told The Guardian last week that hundreds of supporters had shared tips about getting into Wembley via instant messaging platform Telegram.

The fan detailed how he and around 300 others got into Wembley via an entrance for disabled visitors and claimed others bribed stewards to get in. The fan estimated that at least 5,000 entered the stadium without a ticket.

Image: Pixabay