UEFA have ruled English football’s governing body will face a two game stadium ban, one of which Is suspended, and a 100,000 Euros fine for the chaotic scenes that ruined the European Championship final between England and Italy on July 11.
Sportsmail revealed last month that the FA requested a personal hearing to fight the prospect of a stadium ban amid fears that they would have to play at least one match behind-closed-doors – with those concerns now a reality.
The FA had stressed to UEFA that European football’s governing body were kept fully updated with the policing and security measures in place for the final between England and Italy in hope of minimising their punishment.
Nevertheless, UEFA were so disappointed with the disgraceful scenes in the lead up to the final that they have dished out a ban on supporters.
Police imposed an unprecedented operation for the clash between England and Italy, but that wasn’t enough to prevent the appalling behaviour of thousands of ticketless supporters.
The families of England players were forced to escape from yobs who infiltrated their way inside the stadium, while others were victims of attempted ticket thefts and lawless queues at various entrance points.
An estimated 250,000 fans were on the peripheries of the stadium ahead of kick-off, with thousands of revellers participating in anti-social behaviour – including drug taking and urinating in public.
UEFA said in a statement, it would ‘order the English Football Association to play its next two (2) UEFA competition matches as host association behind closed doors, the second of which is suspended for a probationary period of two (2) years from the date of the present decision, for the lack of order and discipline inside and around the stadium’.
And the European body added: ‘To fine the English Football Association €100,000 for the lack of order and discipline inside and around the stadium, for the invasion of the field of play, for throwing of objects and for the disturbances during the national anthems.’
Under UEFA’s rules, the FA are responsible for the behaviour of the England supporters.
On the day of the final, which kicked off 8pm on a Sunday, huge crowds had gathered throughout the day on Olympic Way, the approach to the stadium.
Fuelled by alcohol and dancing on broken glass that was thick across the pedestrianised street from Wembley Park underground station all the way to outskirts of the ground, some fans partied hard lighting flares, scaling lamp posts and sitting atop of any accessible roof.
It appeared many had decided to try their luck and illegally grab one of the 30,000 vacant seats at Wembley after the capacity for the game had been cut from 90,000 to 60,000 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Supporters were able to reach almost to the perimeter of the stadium without any ticket checks. At that point fans were required to show their Covid certification in order for tickets to be activated.
However, gangs of fans without tickets burst through the outer cordon and targeted turnstiles and security gates of the stadium itself. An estimated 5,000 yobs gained entry.
In the confrontations that broke out around the stadium, 19 police officers were injured and many fans were left terrified.
Even so, as reported by Sportsmail last week, a report from the Home Office on football-related crime suggests only 39 people were arrested in connection with the disorder.
While the Met Police’s arrest figures are higher it is understood they include general crimes, such as theft, and are not specifically football-related.
Following the events the FA announced it had commissioned an independent review led by Baroness Casey of Blackstock into “the disgraceful scenes”.
However, it was not just the breach of Wembley’s perimeter that caused dismay at the final.
Inside the stadium, the Italian national anthem was vociferously booed by England supporters despite the Three Lions manager, Gareth Southgate, asking fans to desist from the disrespectful behaviour before the game.
The FA had already been fined £30,000 by UEFA for three incidents during the 2-1 win over Denmark in the semi-final of the tournament, including what they described as “disturbances during the anthems”.
The semi-final sanction also related to a laser pointer being shone in the eyes of Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and a separate moment which saw flares let off during the encounter.
The final, four days later, was disrupted further when a reality TV wannabe, Adam Harison, forced the match to be halted temporarily when he vaulted advertising hoardings, ran on to the pitch and initially evaded capture by stewards.
Harison, took to social media to celebrate his stunt and was identified as a musician who previously appeared on Little Mix: The Search.
The disturbances at July’s final have raised questions about the FA’s ability to host the World Cup in 2030. The Football Associations of the Home Nation are considering a bid to stage the competition.