'They're thugs': Dozens arrested and 19 officers injured as football fans run riot before final

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
A police officer carries riot shields as colleagues observe England fans on the steps of the National Gallery, in Trafalgar Square, London during the UEFA Euro 2020 Final between Italy and England. Picture date: Sunday July 11, 2021.
Riot police observe England fans on the steps of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London, during the Euro 2020 Final between Italy and England. (PA)

Police representatives have said the England fans who left 19 officers injured during violence on the day of the Euro 2020 final are “thugs”.

The Metropolitan Police said it made 49 arrests across London as part of its Euros final operation and that 19 officers had been injured while they “confronted volatile crowds”.

England fans clashed with police at Wembley Stadium, where the final was played, and several hundred supporters without tickets stormed into the ground to watch the match.

Riot police held back thousands of England fans from the stadium during the game.

Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - Final - Fans gather for Italy v England - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - July 11, 2021 Police officers stand guard as England fans gather during the match Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra
Police hold back England fans from Wembley Stadium during the Italy v England Euro 2020 final. (Reuters)

After the match, riot police could be seen breaking through crowds outside Wembley Stadium as fans departed, with beer bottles thrown amid chants against Italy, who beat England on penalties in the showpiece final following the two teams’ 1-1 draw after extra-time.

The Metropolitan Police Federation, the body which represents thousands of police in London, criticised people who attacked its officers.

“These people should be ashamed of themselves,” it said in a tweet on Monday. 

“They are not fans. They are thugs. We wish our injured colleagues well.”

Home secretary Priti Patel condemned the “violent minority” who attacked police officers.

She tweeted: “A huge thank you to every police officer who’s been working in Wembley and across the country throughout Euro 2020. You’re a credit to policing in this country and should be incredibly proud.

“I condemn the violent minority who assaulted you last night – these thugs aren’t true fans.”

Watch: England fans break through security barriers at Wembley

Earlier on Monday, the Metropolitan Police had said: “Our policing operation for the Euro 2020 final is drawing to a close. Thank you to the tens of thousands of fans who had good spirits and behaved responsibly.

“We made 49 arrests during the day for a variety of offences. We will have officers on hand throughout the night.

“Frustratingly, 19 of our officers were injured while they confronted volatile crowds. This is wholly unacceptable.”

Riot police were called into action across central London, patrolling the fan zone at Trafalgar Square as well as areas of Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus.

On Monday, junior health minister Edward Argar said those fans who crashed through barriers to gain entry to the final without tickets do not represent the majority of supporters.

He told Sky News: “I think the police did a fantastic job and sadly we saw a number of police officers, as I understand it, injured last night.

“Action will be taken against those who have perpetrated these offences, who broke the rules or broke the law.

 An England fan argues with police officers as riot police secure the area around the fan zone.
England fans break through barriers to watch the match as England tries to secure their first major football trophy win since 1966. England play Italy in the final of the Euro 2020 tournament. (Photo by Martin Pope / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
An England fan argues with riot police officers at the fan zone in Trafalgar Square, London. (PA)
Police officers carry out riot shields to colleagues as they watch fans in Trafalgar Square, London during the UEFA Euro 2020 Final between Italy and England. Picture date: Sunday July 11, 2021.
Police officers carry out riot shields to colleagues as they watch fans in Trafalgar Square, London, during the Euro 2020 final. (PA)

“The police did, I think, a fantastic job – they know what they are doing, they know how to operationally police events.

“It is sad when a very small number of people, a tiny minority, bring the sport into disrepute by trying to do something like this.

“Again, I would say they are not reflective of the fans of our national game and our national team.

“The police will take, I know, all action necessary against those who have been arrested where they can prove an offence has been committed.”

The Metropolitan Police said it is investigating after footage was posted online appearing to show people being punched and kicked inside the stadium.

Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - Final - Fans gather for Italy v England - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - July 11, 2021 Police officers stand guard as England fans gather outside Wembley Stadium during the match Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra
Riot police officers stand guard as England fans gather outside Wembley Stadium during the match. (Reuters)

A security breach ahead of the match saw a “small group” of people get into the stadium without tickets, prompting officials and police to work together in efforts to identify and remove them.

The Football Association denounced those who forced their way in as “an embarrassment” and vowed to work with authorities to “take action” against them.

In a statement posted on Twitter, a spokesperson said: “We strongly condemn the behaviour of a group of people that forced their way into Wembley Stadium before the EURO 2020 final. This is entirely unacceptable.

“These people are an embarrassment to the England team and to all of the true fans who wanted to enjoy one of the most important matches in our history.”

Watch: England fans in despair after Italy win Euro 2020 final on penalties

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting