An independent review into the events surrounding the Euro 2020 final has found that life-changing injuries and death were only averted by pure luck.
The review by Baroness Louise Casey, examined the storming of Wembley by ticketless yobs on Sunday 11 July when England faced Italy in the Euro 2020 final.
2,000 individuals entered the stadium illegally without tickets, causing hyper disorder, viewed widely on social media.
The fact that 25,000 of Wembley’s 90,000 seats would be left empty because of Covid restrictions contributed to a “perfect storm” of factors.
Casey said in the foreword “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.”
“The drunkenness, drug taking, irresponsibility, criminality, and abuse of innocent people – including staff, families and disabled ticket holders – was shocking and intolerable.”
She said that while she hoped the police continue to prosecute as many individuals as possible, “some of what happened was sadly foreseeable, even if the scale of it was not.”
The 128-page review goes on to detail the events leading up to the match. Drunkenness and drug taking were rampant. By midday fans had forced a single decker bus to halt and be evacuated for safety reasons while they climbed over it.
By late afternoon, according to London Underground data, around 3,000 people were arriving every 15 minutes at Wembley Park Underground station.
As crowds began to enter the stadium, the decision was made at 6.01pm to suspend Covid-19 checks, before it was reinstated at 6.41pm, which “inevitably brought ticketless fans closer to the stadium.”
“The decision to allow people, including ticketless fans, to come closer to stadium was about managing the risk of injury and ensuring everyone in the crowd was safe.”
As the game progressed, “the priority of Wembley and the police was, increasingly, establishing how they could safely open the stadium doors to let people leave at the end when so many ticketless fans remained outside.”
England lost, which the report says helped to “stabilise the security and safety situation at Wembley, as the… ”loss removed the motivation from the ticketless hordes outside to get into the stadium and made exiting far safer for those inside.”
The review makes five recommendations to ensure a similar event never occurs again.
The government to consider a new category of football matches of national significance, which can then be supported through maximalist police resourcing and the establishment of a sterile area within a certain distance of the stadium to be restricted to ticket holders.
A review of stewarding should also be undertaken between the Sports Ground Safety Authority and the FA.
The third recommendation was that all stakeholders agree on a way forward on who is accountable for Zone Ex.
The fourth is that the FA lead a national campaign to bring about a sea-change in attitudes towards supporter behaviours.
The English FA CEO Mark Bullingham accepted some responsbility for the events of that day.
“The FA apologises for the terrible experience that many suffered within Wembley on what should have been a historic night for the game,”
“Everyone at the FA was appalled at the significant levels of crowd disorder throughout the day on 11 July. The review makes clear that the circumstances leading up to the match led to a perfect storm of lawlessness.”
He said “no event is set up to deal with such disgraceful behaviour from thousands of ticketless fans,”and that it must never be allowed happen again.
“I would like to thank everyone who worked at the match that day. Many people went well above and beyond their roles and performed their duties with courage and determination. This was often at personal risk to themselves.
“The lessons learned from this review will ensure that fans have a good experience at major international events at Wembley, as they have for many years.”