Monday 12 July 2021

Need for an inquiry into what went wrong after security breaches & fighting at Euro2020 Final at Wembley Stadium



Video by Mr Lee Baines LINK



Detailed analysis in the Independent

Further videos via Twitter:


A minority of fans, marred yesterday's Euro2020 Final before the game had even started, by breaching the security and fighting with stewards and each other. The stewards appear to have been left exposed and I hope that none were injured in what appears to be hand to hand fighting. 19 police officers were reported to have been injured in central London and Wembley.

London Football LINK provided the following account this morning:

Arriving at the stadium four hours before kick off it was already clear that the atmosphere, so positive and overwhelmingly friendly up to this point in the tournament, was turning dark.

Instead of spraying beer, unopened cans and bottles were being thrown into crowds. One man near the corner towards Wembley Arena was receiving medical attention after being struck by a missile.

There were two pressure points in terms of forced entries, both entrances just off Wembley Way attacked a little after 6pm. You will have all seen the videos by now - of people breaking through a gate and people already inside trying to force them out, of people fighting over seats inside.

Throughout the game the gangways in the north side of the stadium were jammed with bodies that should not have been there. Several Italians ended up standing on an overcrowded platform intended for wheelchair users because their seats had been occupied. They were eventually relocated elsewhere.

Even deep in extra time there were arguments over people in seats meant for others, the stewards still powerless to do anything and the only police officers in sight protecting the perimeter of the pitch because, well, above all the show must go on.

Outside the Met’s presence appeared greater but still insufficient as they sought to stop any other intruders. Leaving a little after midnight there was a team of dogs with their handlers departing, and rows of officers in riot gear standing amid the broken glass, empty cans and supermarket bags for life as a couple of thousand fans continued to loiter, predominantly in a daze.

There are a host of questions for the local organising committee, the police and security staff to answer. Had they not foreseen this happening? Why were there so few stewards to deal with the mayhem? Why was there not a wider perimeter placed around Wembley to keep ticketless fans further away? Why did the response seem reactive rather than proactive?

Communication, too, was an issue. A stadium spokesperson initially said that no supporter had successfully breached security but that was evidently false as dozens could be seen forcing their way through the turnstiles with ticket holders.

The only seats that appeared empty come kick off appeared to be in the corporate areas and looking at how overcrowded some sections of the stadium was it does not feel a stretch to say it was actually at full 90,000 capacity.

 There is a multi-agency security committee for Wembley Park and Wembley events including the police, Brent Council, Wembley Stadium, Football Association and Quintain.  They will need to consider what went wrong and what needs to be in place in the future to both protect fans and staff as well as the many local residents now accommodated in flats around the stadium.  It is true as some commented on Twitter that residents bought or rented flats knowing that they were next to the national stadium, but they also deserve to be protected from mismanagement of events.

Brent Council has been asked for a comment.


Anonymous said...

We were on Olympic Way about 1pm to witness the jubilant scenes before the game - there were hordes of fans coming out of local shops with a case of beer each - the authorities knew ticketless fans would flock to Wembley Stadium and hang around there so why were these local stores even allowed up sell any alcohol at all?

There were hundreds of guys urinating on Olympic Way as there were no extra toilet facilities provided.

We left the area round 3pm as it was getting dangerous then 5 hours before kick off with bottles, cans, traffic cones etc being thrown - these rowdy fans were being held at the bottom of the new steps outside the stadium with a continuous flow of more people streaming out of the station towards this mayhem, we also saw riot police heading towards the stadium.

Bad planning, bad management and a poor experience for genuine well behaved football fans.

This is supposed to be our showpiece national stadium!

Jaine Lunn said...

What is abundantly clear is that these were not True England Football Fans, as the ones who had purchased their tickets were already seated in the Stadium. These people were mindless Hooligans and Thugs, many were drunk and were the same idiots who were climbing up scaffolding and on to buses earlier in the day.

In full knowledge that many people would just come to the Stadium to soak up the atmosphere, the Metropolitan Police, the FA, and Wembley Stadium Staff should have policed this like a contentious premiership game, and it would never have got this far, and what was very noticeable was the lack of Qualified Security Stewards, most were agency staff who do this as second job.

G.Lee said...

I think much wider issues are raised here: the inequalities in our society for much were the tickets? who could afford them? OK it doesn't excuse the idiots who created mayhem, got drunk and stormed the stadium but knowing there were lots of empty seats I can understand why ....then there is the design of the area around the stadium, which effectively kettles all arrivals from the Station, up Olympic way, and then kettles them again up the stupid stairs that replaced the ramp! No open space for crowds to 'fan out' or relax in a green area with space. How must the many residents of the area feel, I bet they couldn't even venture out of their high rise prisons on that day! This is a giant screw up by the planners, developers, and Brent Council who must now take responsibility for the fact that Wembley Stadium is no longer a safe place for families to go to events.