England fan disorder at Euro 2020 final almost led to deaths, review finds | Euro 2020

The unprecedented upheaval of the Euro 2020 final was “almost a mistake”, with life-changing deaths and injuries narrowly avoided, according to an independent report on the events described as a “national disgrace”.

Louise Casey on Friday published her 129-page review of the events that overwhelmed Wembley Stadium on July 11. While she concluded that the primary blame for the mass of public disorder should lie with the supporters, there is also the blame for both the Football Association and the police, who she says were too slow to respond to the problems that began early in the day.

The report found that more than 2,000 people were able to get to Wembley without tickets as England played Italy. And there were 17 collective security breaches, as crowds slipped through the entrances to the disabled. Only 400 invaders were expelled by the security.

Lady Casey says that while the pandemic has exhausted services and staff, officials did not realize the true significance of the match and did not accurately assess potential risks. The security operation at Wembley is also in question, but Casey is not calling for a major institutional change.

In her recommendations, Casey requested a new class of fixtures, one of “national importance,” which would require a greater response from regulators. It also wants more clarity on who is responsible for crowd control on the Olympic road, where tens of thousands have gathered, drank and used drugs throughout the day. Finally, it called for tougher penalties for disturbing public order and campaigned for a “fundamental change” in the behavior of supporters.

“The Euro 2020 final was a potentially glorious patriotic occasion that has turned into a day of national disgrace,” Casey said. “Our team of role models were in our first major final for 55 years. However, they were let down by a crowd of ticketless thugs, drunk and drugged, who chose to offend the innocent, the vulnerable and the disabled, as well as police officers, volunteers and Wembley staff, creating a horrific spectacle. of chaos and dangerously close to endangering lives.

“I am clear that the primary responsibility for what went wrong at Wembley that day lies with those who lost control of their behavior that day, not with anyone who did their best but lost control of the audience. However, there are always lessons to be learned. It is right and commendable that this comprehensive review was commissioned and fully engaged by the FA, along with key partners including the police and the local council.No one was fully prepared for what happened that day and cannot be allowed to happen again “.

The review found that England’s victory in the final could have triggered a storming of 6,000 fans without Wembley tickets. An official from London’s emergency services said the consequences would have been “horrific” and added: “I can guarantee we would have been on our knees.”

An official from the Sports Grounds Safety Authority told the review: “Thank God England lost. If they had won, you would have to open the doors to let people out and the stadium would have been stormed.”

In response to the review, the FA’s chief executive, Mark Bullingham, has apologized for the shock experienced by true fans at the match today.

“I am really sorry for the horrible experiences so many of you have had,” he said. “Although the review destroys many of the legends of that night, there is one inescapable truth: a day that should have been so special turned horrible for many the moment they got on the Olympic road. It hurts us deeply.

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“We fully accept the findings and recommendations of the review, in particular the most important one: that we the police and all the agencies involved had to look at planning the event from a different perspective. Instead of planning the biggest football match ever at modern Wembley as we did, we collectively had to look at The event is considered an event of national importance.

“We always felt that the general turmoil the stadium team faced on that day was an impossible task and that no stadium would have handled that pressure from such an aggressive crowd trying to get in. We didn’t get everything right but in the conditions in which many of the performances were Our team members have done it incredibly well under extraordinary pressure. Without them and their actions as the review shows, the situation could have been much worse. I sincerely thank them for everything they’ve done.”

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