The Metropolitan Police confessed the UEFA EURO 2020 Final between Italy and England ‘could have been abandoned’ due to ticketless fans forcing their way in.
The incidents before kick-off on Sunday were played down at the time by Wembley Stadium officials, who initially claimed that no ticketless fans had managed to gain entry.
This was evidently not the case, as eye-witnesses immediately saw hundreds breaking in, and even Italy coach Roberto Mancini’s son found his seat had been taken.
Only circa 65,000 tickets were sold, but eyewitnesses believe there were at least 70,000 in Wembley Stadium.
“Soon after gates opened, the stewarding and outer security perimeter became overwhelmed and fans began pushing through security checks,” read a statement from Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Jane Connors.
“I want to praise the quick response by police commanders and those brave officers who confronted these subsequent scenes of disorder and violence.
“I am in no doubt that their swift action prevented any further escalation. Frustratingly, 19 of our officers were injured during the course of Sunday’s policing operation when confronting volatile crowds.
“I do not accept that the policing operation failed and I stand by the difficult decisions made by police officers and the Met’s public order commanders. Without their immediate intervention, it is possible that this game could have been abandoned.”
There had already been reports of ticketless fans breaking through the barriers in the semi-final between England and Denmark.
It was not just a public safety issue, but especially galling considering fans were supposed to only gain entry after proving their COVID vaccination status.