NAfter the riots around the European Championship final at Wembley Stadium, the London police have come under severe criticism. Cabinet members and the FA football association have accused the police of failing to shield the stadium in the north-west of the British capital well enough, the Times reported on Wednesday.
In addition, it is astonishing why the police did not classify the game between England and Italy as a high-risk game. “There were mistakes and we have to check where the mistakes were,” said Mayor Sadiq Khan on BBC Radio 4. Because of the corona pandemic, only 60,000 spectators were allowed in Wembley Stadium, which corresponds to two thirds of the capacity of 90,000 seats. However, only a few free spaces were shown on TV pictures.
The Times wrote that “thousands” may have illegally entered the stadium, including well-known hooligans. Eyewitnesses reported that security workers accepted money to let people in. In the stadium, numerous spectators without tickets would have occupied free seats and passages, while others would have scared away families with children.
The security staff was poorly trained and the police could hardly be seen inside the stadium. At least two Italian fans were seriously injured by hooligans. The Times quoted a senior government source as saying that the allegations are “very grave, if they are true.”
The police said that 86 people were arrested in London on Sunday for various violations, 53 of them in Wembley. Khan said he expects many more arrests as soon as images from surveillance cameras are evaluated. The police and security guards present did their best.
“We know thousands came to London without tickets,” said Khan. Many people also entered the stadium through the VIP entrance. The father of international Harry Maguire was also injured in the storm on the stadium gates, as the defender of the tabloid Sun said. He probably broke two ribs and was now having trouble breathing, the defender reports after his father got caught in the storm of fans.
“It wasn’t a nice experience – it shook him. It was scary, ”said the defense attorney. “I don’t want anyone to see that at a football game.” According to Maguire, father Alan, who got into trouble with Manchester United player agent Kenneth Shepherd, had not sought medical treatment directly.
“My dad is a big fan – he made it. He was struggling with breathing because of his ribs, but he’s not the type who makes a fuss, “the 28-year-old was quoted as saying. Maguire described the behavior of the runaway fans as “completely wrong”. It “could have been a lot worse, but we have to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
The European Football Union UEFA has started investigations against the FA, which in turn has announced a comprehensive report. The riots could weigh on England and Ireland’s joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup.
The police deny responsibility. “One of the most important and comprehensive security plans for a game of this magnitude” “prevented worse things” on Sunday, the Metropolitan Police said in their mission statement. “The rapid reaction of police forces” prevented any further escalation in their opinion, said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Jane Connors. Unfortunately, 19 police officers were injured.
“There was no police failure,” said Connors, “I stand behind the difficult decisions that have been made.” Without immediate action, “the game might have had to be postponed.” Connors spoke of “ugly scenes and disgusting behavior” that will have consequences: “I share the anger of the nation in view of this behavior.” It must be ensured that “drunk hooligans do not endanger the hosting of future matches”.