England's travelling band concerned instruments will be confiscated again


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The Independent Football

England's travelling band have admitted there may be little that can be done to avoid having their gear confiscated again during Euro 2012.

The band have been a feature of England matches since 1996 and, having secured assurances from both the Football Association and UEFA, were expecting to be in their usual positions at last night's Group D opener with France in Donetsk.

After an initial problem, the 10 members did get to their seats, only for local security staff to step in and tell them their instruments broke ground regulations and were being confiscated for the duration of the game.

Although they were returned immediately after the final whistle and protests have been made, it is not known whether the rules will be relaxed for Friday's encounter with Sweden in Kiev, or when they return to Donetsk next Tuesday for a potential qualification decider with hosts Ukraine.

Last night's events were even more galling because, sponsored by Pukka Pies, the band had driven to Donetsk from the UK, a journey of approximately 2800 miles, which started last Wednesday.

"We did have assurances from the FA and UEFA, but as with all football grounds, the stadium controller is in overall charge and he decides what happens," said band spokesman John Hemmingham.

"We can only hope there is a different attitude in Kiev and the guy in Donetsk changes his mind.

"What happened last night was pretty disappointing to say the least when you considered what we had been through to get there.

"Getting from Hull last Wednesday to Donetsk is not the easiest, especially once you get into Ukraine because, away from the cities, the roads are hideous.

"The hotels we had booked were no use because the journey took far longer than planned and on Sunday night we had to sleep by the side of the road.

"To then find that, after 300 matches, we weren't going to be allowed to play was infuriating in the extreme."