A spokesperson for Scotland Yard has said the police were ‘surprised’ at the disturbing scenes before the Euro 2020 final, in which a significant number of ticketless England fans forced their way into Wembley.
The Metropolitan Police had warned fans without a ticket not to travel to London ahead of the clash with Italy, which was England‘s biggest game on home turf since the 1966 World Cup final.
But footage emerged in the build-up to the game which showed huge numbers of fans flagrantly ignoring those warnings, Some even forced their way into the stadium, and police and security have been heavily criticised for their failure to control the situation.
But Scotland Yard’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor claims they were caught off-guard by fans choosing to ignore their warnings.
“We spent a lot of time encouraging and asking people not to turn up if they hadn’t got a ticket prior to the event, and clearly a lot of people chose to ignore us,” he said.
“As soon as it became clear that was happening, stewards reacted very quickly and police were deployed to the stadium to prevent the situation from becoming worse.
“As part of our post-event investigation, we will be looking into all criminality and we will be looking to bring offenders of any crime to justice – that may include football banning orders as well as criminal justice prosecutions.
The match ended in penalty shootout heartbreak for England, but for many, fan misconduct has overshadowed the football itself. The scenes at Wembley were some of the most violent English football has seen in years, and there have been reports that the hooliganism – as well as the police’s failure to control it – have put the UK’s hopes of hosting Euro 2020 into jeopardy.
The UK and Ireland had moved clear of Spain and Portugal in their bid to host the competition but UEFA are now considering whether or not it would be safe.