Wembley security boost over EURO 2020 ruckus



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New Wembley security plans approved Image: Coliseum GSVA

The Wembley Stadium in London (UK) is to strengthen its security around the iconic ground with a series of new measures, including a 3.6 meter perimeter fence, in response to the chaos seen at the EURO 2020 final between England and Italy.

‘HARROW ONLINE’ stated that an independent report called the day “a source of national shame” after 2,000 ticketless fans forced their way into the ground. The report commissioned by The Football Association (FA) and overseen by Baroness Casey concluded that a “collective failure” of organizations involved in planning for the game was responsible for the shocking scenes.

The 90,000-capacity Wembley Stadium is a football stadium in Wembley, London (UK). It opened in 2007 on the site of the original Wembley Stadium, which was demolished from 2002 to 2003. The stadium hosts major football matches including home matches of the England national football team and The FA Cup Final.

The 2020 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as UEFA EURO 2020 or simply EURO 2020, was the 16th UEFA European Championship, the quadrennial international men’s football championship of Europe organized by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). It was held from June 11th-July 11th, 2021.

Nyon (Switzerland)-based the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is one of the six continental bodies of governance in association football. It governs football, futsal and beach football in Europe and the transcontinental countries of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Kazakhstan, as well as some Asian countries such as Israel, Cyprus and Armenia. The UEFA consists of 55 national association members. Because of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the FIFA and UEFA suspended all Russian national teams and clubs from any FIFA and UEFA competitions.

There was no method in the madness and it was total mayhem when groups of England fans without tickets forced their way through the Wembley turnstiles before England’s EURO 2020 final against Italy on July 11th, 2021 which Italy defeated England on penalties. Italy was crowned the European champions after shootout win over England.

London (UK)-based The Football Association is the governing body of association football in England and the Crown Dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. Formed in 1863, it is the oldest football association in the world and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the amateur and professional game in its territory.

Louise Casey, Baroness Casey of Blackstock, DBE, CB, is a British Government official working in social welfare.

‘HARROW ONLINE’ further stated that the Brent Council (civic center in Wembley, England) has now approved plans to enhance the security line around the 90,000-seater stadium, which were supported by The Football Association (FA) – England football’s governing body. The measures are expected to “enhance security standards and improve safety” at future events.

A new gated portal, fencing and enclosed roller shutters will be built at the Club Wembley entrance. The gate changes will see an external entrance lobby with interlocking doors designed to prevent “unauthorized or unticketed individuals from being able to force entry […] to the stadium from the Olympic Step”, as occurred at the EURO 2020 Final.

These modifications will be fitted externally making them visible to all visitors. It is expected that this will “act as a visual deterrent” to fans looking to get in without a ticket.

Similar gate changes will be made to the media, staff and VIP entrances to protect visitors. There will also be perimeter fencing installed adjacent to the entrances, fixed on top of the existing parapet to “prevent individuals from scaling the wall”.

The stadium will also install perimeter fences at entrances used by a large number of fans to “deter unwanted guests climbing and rushing” towards the gates. Next to the South Way, a new 3.6-meter gated fence – called ‘Gate 3’ – will be erected, with another 2.7-meter fence at the East steps.

It was originally thought that the walkway around the stadium could be closed to the public outside of event days. However, a condition was included by the Council to ensure that it will remain open on non-event days between 7 am and 8 pm as it is “an important area for recreation, tourism and pedestrian movement within Wembley Park”.

On the day of the final, around 10,000 fans gathered at Wembley by 12 pm, with kickoff not scheduled until 8 pm. The independent report described many fans as “already drunk and carrying bags full of alcohol”.

The situation escalated throughout the afternoon as fans set off flares and fireworks, as well as climbing up traffic lights and lamp posts. As many more people gathered near the stadium throughout the day, thousands of ticketless fans were able to storm the gates, breaking through 17 disabled entrances and fire doors.

Last year, the Wembley Stadium completed Phase One of improvement works related to Baroness Casey’s recommendations, which included making turnstiles and accessibility entrances more secure and having locks on all perimeter doors strengthened. A new command and control center was also created, with more than 50 Hi-Resolution CCTV cameras added.

Work on the next stage of improvements will start in Autumn. Once completed, around £4.3 million will have been spent enhancing the security around the stadium and implementing the recommendations of Baroness Casey.

Said Liam Boylan, Stadium Director, Wembley Stadium, “The Wembley Stadium has a regular schedule of investment works to maintain industry-leading facilities that attract world-class events. The latest planning approval enables us to implement the next phase of our security enhancements. This includes recommendations included in the Baroness Casey Review, and additional measures, which will ensure the Wembley Stadium continues to be a safe and secure venue for all our guests.”

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