‘Thank God England lost’: Euro 2020 final win would have been ‘horrific’, review reveals

England vs Italy was marred by violence in the build-up to the match, with thousands of ticketless fans forcing entry into Wembley Stadium for the Euro 2020 showpiece

Jack Rathborn
Sunday 05 December 2021 08:44
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Wembley fan stampede footage, as UEFA investigate Euro 2020 final

An independent review of the violence surrounding the Euro 2020 final has found that there would have been ‘horrific consequences’ had England beaten Italy at Wembley Stadium.

The review, led by Baroness Casey of Blackstock, details how there were a number of “near misses” on 11 July which could have resulted in serious injuries or deaths.

The violence that marred the occasion saw 6,000 ticketless individuals breach security to gain entry to the stadium.

“Horrific” consequences would have followed a victory for Gareth Southgate’s side, an official from the London emergency services has claimed, saying: “I can guarantee that we would have been on our knees.”

An official from the Sports Grounds Safety Authority added: “Thank God England lost. If they had won you would have to open the doors to let people out and the stadium would have been stormed.”

The review confirms there were 17 “mass breaches” as fans gained entry for the game, which saw England draw 1-1 with Italy before losing 3-2 on penalties.

In addition, 400 fans were ejected as the review detailed the extent of the problems surrounding stewarding for the match in London.

The review confirms: “There were problems relating to stewarding during the tournament and that these problems were known to the FA and its partners ... ahead of the final.”

Fans attempted to force entry to Wembley Stadium from 90 minutes before kick-off up to the penalty shootout.

An FA official detailed how individuals stood like “zombies”, without even watching the game on their phones, as they waited to gain entry.

Ticketless fans tailgated or used more forceful methods in 17 mass breaches of disabled access gates and emergency fire doors.

The review says that fans gaining unlawful entry to the stadium “jeopardised the lives of legitimate supporters and staff”.

Some fans were more deceitful in their methods, with one impersonating a steward and another hijacking a disabled child in a wheelchair, which separated him from his father.

“I am clear that we were close to fatalities and/or life-changing injuries for some, potentially many, in attendance,” Baroness Casey concluded.

“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.”

It was the “perfect storm”, the review concludes, with the government easing Covid-19 restrictions at the same time as England’s first appearance in a major final since 1966.

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