Released Today – Baroness Casey Report Into the UEFA Euro 2020 FinalPeter Houghton
Baroness Casey’s Report into what went wrong at the UEFA 2020Euro Cup Final, in and around Wembley Stadium was released this morning at 10;00 hrs. The FSOA received an embargoed copy of the 129-page yesterday.
The press release for the report is shown below. The Report itself is an exhaustive but very important read. Chapter 2 represents the findings of Eric Stuart of the UKCMA, who the FSOA is working closely with. Chapter 5 deals with Operations and Stewarding and highlights a number of issues that we are well aware of and that a joint effort between the UKCMA & FSOA jointly concluded.
Finally, on page 124, there is a recommendation that Wembley Safety Officers and the FA should engage more closely with the FSOA. Since the retirement of Chris Whalley, nobody from the FA has stepped up to the breach. One or two Safety & Security Inspectors still retain membership as do one or two Level Safety Managers, but there is clearly a number of areas where the FSOA might have been able to assist in the planning here.
The review itself in full can be viewed on the link read more
INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF EVENTS SURROUNDING UEFA EURO 2020 FINAL
Strictly embargoed 1000 Friday 3 December 2021
Report finds Wembley final was a ‘near miss’ and key lessons to be learned
An independent review for the Football Association (FA) into the events surrounding the Euro 2020 Final has found there were a series of ‘very near misses’ at Wembley Stadium which could have led to serious injury or even loss of life. These were caused by the reckless and dangerous behaviour of ticketless fans inside and outside the stadium during a two and a half hour period before the 8pm kick off between England and Italy. These incidents followed widespread antisocial behaviour and lawlessness, fuelled by alcohol and drugs, near the stadium from midday onwards.
Baroness Louise Casey’s report finds that:
- The events of the day of the final (“Euro Sunday”) represented a “perfect storm” with Covid-19 regulations and the impact of the pandemic combining with national euphoria at the England men’s team reaching its first final since 1966;
- Shocking and unprecedented levels of criminal and anti-social behaviour were evident from very early in the day, which caught all agencies off guard and meant the police deployment arrived too late;
- Approximately 2,000 ticketless fans gained entry to Wembley, of which around 400 were ejected, by tailgating or taking part in 17 mass breaches of disabled access gates and emergency fire doors which jeopardised the safety and security of many legitimate supporters and staff;
- There was a collective failure by organisations involved in planning the Euro 2020 Final to rigorously assess and mitigate the foreseeable risk of the scale of ticketless fans gathering at Wembley ahead of the match;
- While many stadium staff acted with great courage in the face of appalling aggression, and made a number of potentially life-saving and split-second decisions, the final exposed weaknesses in Wembley’s security operation and the wider stewarding industry;
- An England victory in the penalty shoot out would have created a further huge public safety risk, with up to 6,000 ticketless fans waiting to storm the stadium at the same time as doors were being opened to allow other fans to leave;
- Overall, there was a lack of recognition that the final was more than a football match to be managed – it was an occasion of national significance.
Baroness Casey, who has advised five prime ministers on some of the most difficult social policy issues of the day, was commissioned by the FA in the immediate aftermath of the tournament to conduct a thorough review of Wembley’s staging of the final and its work with partner agencies. She assesses that the “perfect storm” of factors – including: Covid-19 restrictions and the release from lockdown; England progressing to the Final; spare seats being available in the stadium; and the lack of alternative venues including fan zones to ‘soak up’ the crowd – all contributed to the chaotic and dangerous scenes on the day.
Nevertheless she concludes that there were opportunities missed to plan for the disturbances and respond better to warning signs in the days ahead of the final and on the morning of the game itself, with gaps in intelligence gathering and consideration of how many ticketless fans would travel to Wembley on the day, how early they would arrive and how they might behave.
The crossbench peer calls for stronger enforcement powers, including against:
- the use of illegal drugs and smoke bombs and flares at and around football matches;
- tailgating and entering stadiums or other public events without a ticket;
- the risk of recklessly endangering lives, such as through interfering with fire alarms.
She also outlines the need for improvements to control room operations and communication between key partners, and the greater involvement in event planning of football supporters’ groups, and calls for a new category for football matches of national significance.
Baroness Casey said:
“The Euro 2020 final was a potentially glorious national occasion that turned into a day of national shame. Our team of role models were in our first major final for 55 years. However they were let down by a horde of ticketless, drunken and drugged up thugs who chose to abuse innocent, vulnerable and disabled people, as well as police officers, volunteers and Wembley staff, creating an appalling scene of disorder and coming perilously close to putting lives at risk. We are genuinely lucky that there was not much more serious injury or worse, and need to take the toughest possible action against people who think a football match is somehow an excuse to behave like that.
“I am clear that the primary responsibility for what went wrong at Wembley that day lies with those who lost control of their own behaviour that day, not with anyone who did their best but lost control of the crowd. Nevertheless there are always lessons to be learned and it is right and commendable that the FA have commissioned this thorough review and have fully engaged with it, along with key partners including the Police and local council. No one was fully prepared for what happened that day and it can’t be allowed to happen again. That’s why I have made a series of recommendations to the FA, government and others. Because law abiding fans, our national team, and our national game deserve better.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
Baroness Louise Casey of Blackstock CB DBE has a long track record of robust work on some of the toughest social issues in the country. She has worked for five prime ministers and as a civil servant led the then governments’ Rough Sleeping Taskforce, Anti-Social Behaviour Unit and Troubled Families Programme. She also wrote reports into Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council’s handling of child sexual exploitation, and a major review into social integration. She is now a crossbench peer and chairs the Institute for Global Homelessness.
The FA Board commissioned Baroness Casey to report on what happened at the Euro 2020 Final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 11th July 2021, shortly after the game took place. The Review was conducted on behalf of the FA to look at their own responsibilities with regard to Euro Sunday. The terms of reference for the review can be found here: https://www.thefa.com/news/2021/aug/06/euro-2020-review-update-20210806
The full report is attached to this email and will be published at 1000 on Friday 3 December on www.TheFA.com – a summary of key findings and recommendations is below.
For interviews with Baroness Casey please contact review communications lead Dan Forman on 07703 805349
SUMMARY OF KEY FINDINGS
- The behaviour of a large minority of England supporters was not just disgraceful, it recklessly endangered lives
- There were a series of crowd ‘near misses’ which could have led to significant injuries or even death
- Planning and preparation for Euro Sunday was hampered by a set of unique conditions, including the ongoing need to manage the Covid-19 pandemic, which combined to create a ‘perfect storm’
- Many of the events that unfolded were foreseeable, and, while there were many mitigating factors, there was a collective failure to plan for the worst case scenario
- A loss of experienced stewards as a result of the pandemic left Wembley’s stewarding operation vulnerable when confronted with the most aggressive and disorderly crowd Wembley had ever seen
- The absence of a fan zone or fan zones denied the police and other agencies a key crowd management tool and was potentially a very significant factor
- There was insufficient enforcement of the ban on consuming alcohol on public transport in London
- The policing of the final did not sufficiently mitigate the risk of ticketless fans with officers deployed too late in the day
- There are a lack of enforcement mechanisms available to respond to and deter the kind of behaviour witnessed at Euro Sunday
- Planning of the final did not match the ‘occasion’ that was Euro Sunday
SUMMARY OF REVIEW RECOMMENDATIONS
The Review makes 5 recommendations for national consideration and 3 specifically for the FA/Wembley and its partners.
Recommendations for national consideration:
- That the Government considers a new category for football matches of national significance;
- That the Government consider tasking the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) to work with the FA and the event industry to undertake a review of stewarding
- The SGSA, the events industry, the police and local government agree on a way forward on who is accountable for ‘Zone Ex’ (the area of public space outside the stadium used by supporters);
- The FA – as the governing body that oversees football – lead a national campaign to bring about a sea-change in attitudes towards supporter behaviours;
- That the Government consider strengthening the penalties for football-related disorder, particularly behaviours which recklessly endanger lives and these penalties should be well understood and robustly enforced.
Recommendations specifically for the FA/Wembley and key partners:
6.a The FA and Wembley should strengthen plans for safety both physical and human, ahead of any matches or events of significant risk;
6.b. A more joined up approach between Wembley and the MPS is required to managing public safety on match-days, including joint tasking and debriefing of operational teams;
6.c The key partners represented on the Wembley Safety Advisory Group, most notably the Metropolitan Police Service, the FA and Brent Council, need to make a concerted effort to proactively solicit and listen to each other’s concerns and avoid any single agency from becoming too dominant.