On July 11 (Sunday), there was mayhem outside the iconic Wembley Stadium before and after England lost to Italy in the UEFA Euro 2020 final via penalties. The agitated football fans from England ran amok, hitting and racially abusing their Italian counterparts, stomping, spitting and trying to burn down the Italian flag. Several videos and pictures of the England fans creating unnecessary ruckus inside and outside the stadium, both before and after the match were widely shared on various social media platforms.
Ticketless England fans breach security barriers, storm past disabled entrance door
OpIndia reported on July 12, how several fans from England tried to enter the stadium without tickets. Even two hours before the match began, the ticketless fans breached security barriers, tussled with stewards to forcefully enter the stadium. As per reports, as many as 40 frenzied England supporters stormed past a disabled entrance door (D11) when it opened. Many supporters who had bought tickets could not get to their seats, as they were already taken by these ticketless supporters.
“While I was there, while we were queuing up, a disabled gate at Wembley was opened up for a disabled person to go in, and it got rushed by about 40 people trying to get into the stadium without a ticket”, Irish TV presenter Laura Woods, present there was quoted as saying.
Player’s families sit on Wembley stadium steps as ticketless fans occupy their seats
A witness reported that fans were fighting over seats and that some supporters without tickets had ended up in the area that houses the players’ families. In fact, Andrea Mancini, the son of the Italian coach Roberto Mancini had to sit on the steps to watch the game as his seat was also captured.
Wembley staff face sexual assault, threats and racial abuse as they try to control the frenzied crowd
There were reports that numerous stewards were injured in the chaos and many were subjected to racial abuse as they tried to control the crowd. The stewards were apparently instructed to flee to safe spots and end their shifts earlier than planned because it was considered dangerous for them to return to their posts. A volunteer, who did not want to be named said, “I was positioned outside the front of the stadium. We had to literally run for cover — we were told to go inside Wembley Arena and they said: ‘We don’t know if you’re going to go back’, then 20 minutes later they said: ‘No it’s going to get worse,’ and it obviously did.”
The volunteer added that her team was rushed to a safe spot shortly afterwards as fans started throwing missiles of beer cans and bollards into the crowds”.
According to a report by Mirror, a steward was threatened with a knife, while a woman fan was seriously sexually assaulted in Wembly on July 11.
Fans openly snort cocaine outside Wembley stadium
Amidst all the havoc, allegations of the Three Lions’ fans openly snorting cocaine also surfaced. In an 11 second video, that was shared on Twitter, a fan could be seen climbing onto something and snorting coke while the crowd below cheers each sniff as if it’s a goal.
#ENG fan climbs onto something and begins snorting coke while the crowd below cheers each sniff as it’s a goal. The game remains over an 1.5 hours away…— David Patrikarakos (@dpatrikarakos) July 11, 2021
Come on England (but also spare a thought for those who will have to deal with all this)#EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/w07yb9dz8k
Riot Police descended on Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square after the match as hundreds of football fans were reportedly seen climbing onto street lamps and setting off flares.
England players racially abused on social media
While England fans caused a riot-like situation and riot police had to step in to control them, the misbehaviour and irresponsible racial comments found their way on social media platforms as well.
Three English players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, who are of African descent and missed their penalties in the shootout, faced the wrath of the England fans as they suffered racial abuse on platforms like Instagram and Twitter.
The violent behaviour of the English fans got them labelled as the sour losers as netizens took screenshots of comments and tweets against the three players of colour and shamed the “fans” for throwing racial slurs and abuses. UK Prime Minister himself came out in support of the players of colour. He said, “This England team deserve to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media. Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves.”
53 people were arrested in Wembley
Metropolitan police confirmed on Monday that 53 people were arrested in Wembley on match night. A total of 19 officers received injuries. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said: “The unacceptable scenes we saw were a small number of people intent on using the football as an excuse to behave appallingly towards other members of the public and officers”.
“The reports of online hate crime abuse are utterly abhorrent and totally unacceptable. We have launched a post-event investigation and will actively pursue and investigate offenders and criminal offences”, he added.