England: Alarming account of how ticketless fans broke into Euro 2020 final at Wembley

  • Kobe Tong

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The behaviour of England supporters overshadowed the Euro 2020 final on Sunday evening.

Crowd trouble at Wembley

What should have been a night that focused on footballing excellence was side-swiped by the appalling behaviour of an incredibly vocal and destructive minority of so-called England fans.

Footage spread across social media that showed people without tickets for the Italy game trying to storm Wembley Stadium with the event organisers eventually admitting that many had succeeded.

It made for an ugly situation that has called on many key figures to condemn both the behaviour of fans as well as the event security with doubts now raised about England's 2030 World Cup bid.

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As distance between Sunday's disheartening scenes and the present continues to grow, first-hand accounts are beginning to emerge that help to elucidate the chain of events at Wembley.

One such perspective has been offered in the Guardian this week with one of the supporters who entered Wembley without a ticket having provided insight into how the operation went down.

Pablo, which is not his real name, is described as a 24-year-old from the Midlands who was one of the administrators of a Telegram chat group where ticketless fans plotted to gain access to the final.

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ENTER GIVEAWAY

Alarming account by England fan

He told the Guardian about how approximately 300 fans broke in through an entrance for disabled fans in Block K with an estimated 5,000 people eventually making it inside without a ticket.

Pablo claimed that he had tried to purchase a legitimate ticket in the run-up to the final, but justified his decision to try and attend the game regardless based on the event's historic nature.

He explained: “I just thought my dad is 52 and he’s never seen England in a final at Wembley. And it might never happen again in my lifetime. There were 30,000 spare seats and we didn’t sit in anyone’s seat.”

Pablo had driven down from the Midlands with nine ticketless fans - eight of whom gained access - and £250 in cash to bribe officials if required, though he did not need to use it in the end.

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The group of friends used fake tickets to move past the first security checks and regularly checked the Telegram chat in order to ascertain where fans had successfully breached the security stops.

Messages in the chats are said to have claimed that bribes as little as £20 were successful in some cases with one steward allegedly instructing: “put the money in my pocket as I’m patting you down."

Pablo claimed: “A lot of stewards seemed more than willing to help. We offered one £200 to let five of us in. At about quarter to seven we were waiting for the steward’s mate to show up and that’s when we saw a disabled door open so we just ran through.

“Every time a disabled entrance was opened there must have been 300 people who got in. And it seemed that every 10 minutes one got yanked open. And that doesn’t count the people who bribed stewards or went behind someone in the turnstiles. I would be shocked if there was less than 5,000 got in without a ticket.

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“When we got in everyone was chanting ‘jib, jib, jib’ up the escalators. We found five empty seats. A family came and one of us was sat in their seat and they seemed a bit moody, but we just moved along one and no one else came.”

And when asked about the supposed inter-fighting between England fans, Pablo remarked: “We didn’t harm anyone. The people causing the trouble were the ones fighting ticketless fans.”

It's a worrying indictment of the security that was deployed for such a monumental sporting event, particularly when it was being hosted in the midst of a pandemic that has claimed millions of lives.

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The FA have confirmed that a full investigation will be conducted in collaboration with the police.

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