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Wembley to implement fresh wave of security upgrades

Featured image credit: Rob Ridley

Wembley Stadium has received planning permission to install a series of security upgrades designed to ensure the shocking scenes witnessed at the UEFA Euro 2020 final between England and Italy are not repeated.

Wembley Stadium in December submitted plans that included the addition of a new gated fence to bolster security and prevent a repeat of the violent disorder at the Euro 2020 final, which took place on July 11, 2021 following the tournament’s postponed due to COVID-19.

The Football Association (FA), owners of Wembley, backed the new plans submitted to Brent Council which have now been given the green light by the local authority. According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, a new gated portal, fencing and enclosed roller shutters will be built at the Club Wembley entrance, creating an external entrance lobby with interlocking doors designed to prevent “unauthorised or un-ticketed individuals” from gaining entry.

Similar gate changes will be made to media, staff, and VIP entrances in an effort to protect visitors. Perimeter fencing will also be installed adjacent to the entrances, fixed on top of the existing parapet in an effort to prevent people scaling the wall.

Wembley will also introduce perimeter fences at entrances used by a large number of fans to deter “unwanted guests climbing and rushing” towards the gates. Next to South Way, a new 3.6-metre gated fence will be installed, with another 2.7-metre fence at the east steps.

It was originally proposed that the walkway around Wembley could be closed off to the general public outside of event days. However, the Council has ruled that it should remain open between 7am and 8pm GMT as it is “an important area for recreation, tourism and pedestrian movement within Wembley Park”.

FA chief executive, Mark Bullingham, in December 2021 apologised for the “terrible experience” many suffered within Wembley Stadium after an independent review stated the “appalling scenes of disorder” which marred the Euro 2020 final came “perilously close to putting lives at risk”.

The FA announced in July 2021 that an independent review led by Baroness Casey of Blackstock had been commissioned following the crowd disorder in the lead-up to the game in London. The FA had earlier said 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.

Baroness Casey’s independent review into events surrounding the Euro 2020 final concluded that around 2,000 people gained access to the game illegally. It noted that there 17 mass breaches of disabled access gates and emergency fire doors. Only 400 of those who gained entry were able to be ejected by security staff.

Wembley last year completed the first phase of improvement works related to the report’s recommendations, with the next stage set to commence in the autumn. Once complete, Wembley will have received around £4.3m (€5m/$5.55m) in security upgrades.

Liam Boylan, Wembley stadium director, told the LDRS: “Wembley Stadium has a regular schedule of investment works to maintain industry-leading facilities that attract world-class events. The latest planning approval enables us to implement the next phase of our security enhancements.

“This includes recommendations included in the Baroness Casey Review, and additional measures, which will ensure Wembley Stadium continues to be a safe and secure venue for all our guests.”