Soccer

Euro 2020 final: English FA face four charges from UEFA for Wembley off the pitch disruption

UEFA have slapped the English Football Association (FA) with four charges and the prospect of further investigations after Sunday’s Euro 2020 final was marred by events off the pitch.

Images on social media showed a number of supporters trying to force their way into Wembley Stadium without a ticket and eye witness accounts stated that individuals had found their way into the match despite the security presence in London. That, along with disruptive scenes outside of the ground, will be the subject of an investigation by UEFA’s ethics and disciplinary body that has not yet been concluded.

In the immediate term the FA will face four charges relating to events inside the ground on Sunday, when England lost their first major final in 55 years to Italy in a penalty shootout. Those charges relate to: a pitch invasion by a supporter, the throwing of objects, the booing of the Italian national anthem and the lighting of fireworks by fans.

“Separately, and in accordance with Article 31(4) DR, a UEFA Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector has been appointed to conduct a disciplinary investigation into events involving supporters which occurred inside and around the stadium,” a statement from European football’s governing body said.

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Typically the initial charges levelled at the FA tend to result in fines but it is not beyond the realms of possibility that England could be forced to play future matches behind closed doors if UEFA choose to come down firmly on them for the chaos that engulfed its showpiece international fixture. Friends and family of both English and Italian players were among those whose day was disrupted by the fan invasion into the ground.

Events at Wembley threaten to mar a prospective bid from the entire British Isles for the rights to host the 2030 World Cup, for which the England team’s home venue is likely to be the showpiece stadium. In addition to the final, the ground had also played host to all bar one of the Three Lions’ games, as well as to the semi final involving Italy and Spain.

The FA has already promised a full review into how an “unprecedented level of public disorder” disrupted the Euro 2020 final even as it insisted that it had more security at the game than any of the preceding matches at the competition.

“Security and stewarding numbers for the Euro 2020 final exceeded the requirements for the match and were greater than any other previous event at Wembley Stadium,” the FA said. “However, the behavior of the people who illegally forced their way into the stadium was unacceptable, dangerous and showed total disregard for the safety and security protocols in place.

“No steward or security staff should be subjected to this type of behavior and we thank them for their support on the night. We also apologise to anyone at the match whose experience was affected by this unprecedented level of public disorder.”



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