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Euro review finds fans endangered lives

Aggressive England fans at this year’s Euro final exposed an “embarrassing” part of the national culture that endangered lives, an investigation into the disorder has concluded.

The review found that around 2000 ticketless supporters gained entry into Wembley on July 11 after 17 “mass breaches” of the stadium gates.

Many of them forced their way through disabled access entrances by punching and kicking stewards before England lost to Italy in the country’s first men’s final since winning the 1966 World Cup.

“The behaviour of a large minority of England supporters was not just disgraceful, it recklessly endangered lives,” Louise Casey, an experienced former government official, said in a 129-page report published on Friday.

“The appalling behaviour of supporters on Euro Sunday should be a wake-up call for us all.

“For too long, the actions of a minority of England fans have been tolerated as a part of our national culture (albeit an embarrassing one), rather than confronted head-on.”

Casey blamed the ability for the rampage to take place on a “collective failure” and said she did not want to “scapegoat” anyone.

“A minority of England supporters turned what should have been a day of national pride into a day of shame,” Casey said.

Casey recommended that the English Football Association leads a campaign to bring about a “sea-change in attitudes” by fans.

Some 100,000 fans gathered around the north London stadium for the match despite pandemic curbs capping the 90,000-seat Wembley’s capacity at 67,000.

The insufficient enforcement of the ban on drinking alcohol on public transport in London was highlighted in the report.

The Football Association (FA) chief executive Mark Bullingham apologised to fans on Friday for the “terrible experience”.

Bullingham said the FA accepted the findings and added there were “important learnings” for the body and other agencies.

“The FA apologises for the terrible experience that many suffered within Wembley on what should have been a historic night for the game,” Bullingham said in a statement.

“Everyone at the FA was appalled at the significant levels of crowd disorder.

“The review makes clear the circumstances leading up to the match led to a perfect storm of lawlessness.

“No event is set up to deal with such disgraceful behaviour from thousands of ticketless fans. Collectively we must never allow this to happen again.

“Baroness Casey is clear that moving forwards, where there is an event of national significance, we and all agencies must view it through a different lens.”

with Reuters

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