Euro 2020: FA review on Wembley final disorder finds series of crowd ‘near misses’ which could have led to fatalities

Fan disorder which marred the Euro 2020 final at Wembley was a “near miss” of fatalities and a “source of national shame”, an independent review commissioned by the Football Association has found.

Approximately 2,000 ticketless fans gained entry to the stadium, of which around 400 were ejected, for the showpiece between England and Italy on July 11.

The review carried out by Baroness Casey of Blackstock found a “collective failure” by organisations in the preparation for the stature of the match.

“We are genuinely lucky that there was not much more serious injury or worse, and need to take the toughest possible action against people who think a football match is somehow an excuse to behave like that,” said Baroness Carey.

“I am clear that the primary responsibility for what went wrong at Wembley that day lies with those who lost control of their own behaviour that day, not with anyone who did their best but lost control of the crowd.”

Baroness Casey’s report found the ongoing need to manage the Covid-19 pandemic and the euphoria around the men’s national team reaching their first final since 1966 combined to create a “perfect storm”.

However, the review said a loss of experienced stewards as a result of the pandemic left Wembley’s stewarding operation vulnerable, while the police and other agencies were denied a key crowd management tool with the absence of fan zones.

Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham said the organisation apologised for the “terrible experience” many suffered within Wembley.

“We fully accept its findings and there are important learnings for us, as well as other agencies involved,” he added.”

The review also found a penalty shootout victory by England could have resulted in a further huge public safety risk, with up to 6,000 ticketless fans waiting to storm the stadium at the same time as doors were being opened to allow other fans to leave.

Baroness Carey has made five recommendations for national consideration and three specifically for the FA and Wembley and its partners:

  • the Government considers a new category for football matches of national significance
  • the Government consider tasking the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) to work with the FA and the event industry to undertake a review of stewarding
  • the SGSA, the events industry, the police and local government agree on a way forward on who is accountable for ‘Zone Ex’
  • the FA lead a national campaign to bring about a sea-change in attitudes towards supporter behaviours
  • the Government consider strengthening the penalties for football-related

Bullingham added: “Collectively we must never allow this to happen again. Baroness Casey is clear that moving forwards, where there is an event of national significance, we and all agencies must view it through a different lens.”

The FA has already been sanctioned by UEFA over the disorder and must play their next home UEFA competition game behind closed doors, with a further match suspended.

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