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Wembley trouble ‘could put Irish and UK World Cup bid in doubt’, says former Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce

Warning comes from ex-Fifa vice-president after violent scenes at the Euro 2020 final.

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People attempted to force their way into Wembley without tickets for Sunday’s final (Handout from Michelle Owen/ITV Football)

People attempted to force their way into Wembley without tickets for Sunday’s final (Handout from Michelle Owen/ITV Football)

People attempted to force their way into Wembley without tickets for Sunday’s final (Handout from Michelle Owen/ITV Football)

A former Fifa vice-president has warned that plans to bring the 2030 World Cup to the UK and Ireland could now be in jeopardy after crowd trouble marred the Euro 2020 final in London.

Jim Boyce was speaking as Uefa opened a disciplinary investigation into the chaotic scenes at Sunday’s match at Wembley.

Up to 5,000 ticketless fans are believed to have forced their way into the stadium ahead of kick-off.

Yesterday Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham said a full review would take place into what had happened.

A Uefa statement read: "In accordance with Article 31(4) DR, a UEFA ethics and disciplinary inspector has been appointed to conduct a disciplinary investigation into events involving supporters which occurred inside and around the stadium."

Uefa has also charged the FA over a pitch invasion during the match, which Italy won on penalties, and over the throwing of a firework, the throwing of other objects and disturbing the Italian national anthem.

Yesterday Jim Boyce, a former Irish FA president who was Fifa vice-president from 2011 to 2015, said the ugly scenes may now damage the joint UK-Ireland bid to host the World Cup in nine years’ time.

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Backing: Members of the public go down on one knee at the newly repaired mural of England footballer Marcus Rashford

Backing: Members of the public go down on one knee at the newly repaired mural of England footballer Marcus Rashford

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Backing: Members of the public go down on one knee at the newly repaired mural of England footballer Marcus Rashford

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Mr Boyce, honorary life-president of the IFA, said there is “no doubt” the behaviour of some individuals at the game “will make people think about where the World Cup is awarded”.

“People at Fifa will obviously take a dim view of what happened,” he said. “First of all, we had the laser incident in the semi-final at Wembley, when a laser was shone on (Denmark goalkeeper) Kasper Schmeichel from the crowd.

"We then had the disgraceful booing of the national anthems and then we had the morons running amok trying to get into the stadium on the night of the final. So obviously it does not do English football or the FA any good what happened.

“I sincerely hope it will not damage the bid, England have the stadiums and they have the facilities in the UK to host this bid along with Ireland.”

In March Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was the "right time" for the UK and Ireland to launch a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup.

Likely opponents include Spain and Portugal; Morocco; a joint Argentina-Chile-Paraguay-Uruguay bid; and a joint Bulgaria-Greece-Romania-Serbia bid. The host will be confirmed in 2024.

Mr Boyce said the work of England’s footballers to “unite the country” was “tremendous” but he added: “I think the behaviour of some people off the pitch has damaged it quite severely.”

Mr Boyce said. “It’s happened in other countries as well to be fair, but it’s not the first time hooligans have ruined the reputation of English football.

"It’s happened before and we thought we’d got away from those days but there are people who want to bring the game people love back into disrepute.”

Yesterday it was reported that the Wembley capacity was 5,000 over the designated figure of more than 60,000.

Eyewitnesses reported ticketless people being inside the stadium for the whole match, and of genuine ticket-holders being afraid to confront people occupying their seats.

Videos also emerged showing fans charging through gates as stewards battled in vain to hold them back.

Former West Ham defender Anton Ferdinand said England should be barred from hosting another major football tournament until racist abuse and hooliganism can be eradicated.

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Jim Boyce

Jim Boyce

Jim Boyce

Asked if England should be stopped from hosting another major event, he said: “Yes, there should be consequences, there definitely should be consequences. That's how people learn, but you've got to be willing to learn, that's the problem.”

Uefa's disciplinary regulations state that ethics and disciplinary inspectors are conducted by written enquiries and questioning individuals where necessary. They may also conduct on-site inspections, request documents and procure expert opinions.

Article 16 of the regulations covers order and security at Uefa competition matches. The recommended disciplinary measure for first offences related to the admission of spectators, the screening and searching of spectators is a warning.

First offences for other stadium security issues come with a recommendation to issue fines ranging from €5,000 to €15,000. These include offences which relate to spectator control, public passageways, doors and gates and protection of the playing area.

The FA said its review would be conducted alongside the Metropolitan Police, the Greater London Authority, the Safety Advisory Group and tournament stakeholders.

The governing body defended the level of stewarding and security in place for the match, saying it "exceeded the requirements for the match" and was "greater than any other previous event at Wembley Stadium".

A spokesperson added: "The behaviour of the people who illegally forced their way into the stadium was unacceptable, dangerous and showed total disregard for the safety and security protocols in place. No steward or security staff should be subjected to this type of behaviour and we thank them for their support on the night."

Downing Street also criticised those who stormed the stadium. The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "Those scenes were unacceptable and we condemn violence, anti-social behaviour and abuse in the strongest possible terms."

Police made 86 arrests on Sunday, including 53 at Wembley, for a number of offences including public order offences, ABH, drunk and disorderly and criminal damage.

Laurence Taylor, the deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Met, said: “We spent a lot of time encouraging and asking people not to turn up if they hadn't got a ticket prior to the event, and clearly a lot of people chose to ignore us. I don't think anybody was expecting large numbers of people to try and incur into the stadium.”


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