England have been handed a stadium ban by UEFA following ugly scenes before and during the EURO 2020 final at Wembley Stadium in the summer.
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European soccer’s governing body has given England a two-game stadium ban, with one of those games suspended for two years.
The EURO 2020 final against Italy on July 11 (who won the game on penalty kicks) was England’s second major final in their history, and first since 1966.
However, it descended into chaos before the game as ticketless fans stormed security gates and charged into Wembley Stadium, as authorities were totally overwhelmed.
As well as being charged for the shocking scenes of fan unrest, the English FA were also fined $116,000 and charged for the following: invasion of the pitch, throwing of objects, booing of the Italian national anthem and the lighting of a firework.
This means that no fans will be present for England’s opening home game of the 2022-23 UEFA Nations League competition in June 2022.
What did the English FA say about their punishment?
Here is what the English Football Association said in a statement about the charge from UEFA:
“Although we are disappointed with the verdict, we acknowledge the outcome of this UEFA decision. We condemn the terrible behavior of the individuals who caused the disgraceful scenes in and around Wembley Stadium at the EURO 2020 final, and we deeply regret that some of them were able to enter the stadium.
“We are determined that this can never be repeated, so we have commissioned an independent review, led by Baroness Casey, to report on the circumstances involved. We continue to work with the relevant authorities in support of their efforts to take action against those responsible and hold them to account.”
Is this punishment too little?
Having personally been at Wembley for this game, it was unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
It was clear that there were over 100,000 fans around the outside of the stadium alone, as only 67,000 were allowed inside for the final due to COVID-19 restrictions.
That meant that there were 23,000 empty seats inside the 90,000 capacity stadium and thousands of fans charged the security positions to try and get inside the stadium. Many succeeded and inside Wembley fights broke out as those who had broken in then took the seats of fans who had paid big money to get inside.
The area around Wembley Stadium has housing, shops, restaurants and other leisure facilities very close by and that has all been built in recent years. That means it was very difficult for police and security to keep fans who didn’t have tickets for the game away from the stadium.
At other major finals there is usually an exclusion zone which keeps ticketless fans far away from the stadium. At Wembley it was utter lawlessness.
What ensued at Wembley was chaos and it seems like England were lucky to get away with just having one game played in an empty stadium. However, if their fans misbehave in the next two years that stadium ban will be extended by another game.