Euro 2020

Fan unrest at Euro 2020 final could have caused 'fatalities'

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Police keep an eye on England supporters before the final at Wembley
Police keep an eye on England supporters before the final at Wembley / Alex Pantling/GettyImages
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Fan disorder at the Euro 2020 final at Wembley could have led to "fatalities", according to an independent review.

The match between England and Italy witnessed scenes of supporter disorder rarely seen in the modern game.

The report found that around 2,000 ticketless fans gained entry to Wembley on the day, while there were also numerous offences committed outside the ground.

The FA have already been punished for the disorder, with their next UEFA-sanctioned game at Wembley set to be played behind closed doors.

Baroness Casey of Blackstock, who chaired the review that was commissioned by the Football Association, concluded that the unrest could have easily had deadly consequences.

"The events of Sunday 11 July 2021 (Euro Sunday) at Wembley Stadium were a ‘near miss’. I am clear that we were close to fatalities and/or life-changing injuries for some, potentially many, in attendance," she wrote.

"That this should happen anywhere in 21st century Britain is a source of concern. That it should happen at our national stadium, and on the day of our biggest game of football for 55 years is a source of national shame."

She continued: "I want to be very clear from the outset that responsibility for that risk to human life lies with the individuals without tickets – nearly all men, it has to be said – who attacked the stadium, successfully or otherwise.

"The drunkenness, drug taking, irresponsibility, criminality, and abuse of innocent people – including staff, families, and disabled ticket-holders – was shocking and intolerable.

"I hope the police and other authorities continue to prosecute as many of the perpetrators as possible and the courts and football authorities apply the toughest possible punishments."

While the report stressed that the primary responsibility for the disorder lay with the supporters, Casey did offer some recommendations for how the FA could avoid a repeat of the incident in the future.

These were:

  • The government considering a new category for football matches of national significance
  • The Sports Grounds Safety Authority, FA and event industry undertaking a stewarding review
  • The SGSA, the events industry, the police and local government agreeing who is accountable for 'Zone Ex' — the area of public space outside the stadium used by supporters
  • The FA fronting a national campaign to change supporter behaviour
  • The government considering strengthening penalties for football-related disorder

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