Sunday was supposed to be a glorious day for English football, with the nation in its first final since 1966 and, to make it more special, that final being played in their home country.
However, scenes quickly turned ugly, both around Wembley itself and across the city of London.
🚨 | NEW: Bottles and Missiles being thrown Bottles thrown at Leicester Square, London
— News For All (@NewsForAllUK) July 11, 2021
Thousands of fans descended on Leicester Square, and thousands more occupied Wembley way as far as nine hours ahead of kick off, with hooliganism rearing its ugly head in English football once more.
Inside Wembley too, hundreds made their way into the biggest game of the year without tickets, while racial abuse and abuse during the Italian national anthem was heard.
🏴 #ENG players’ family members racially abused
🏟 Thousands forced way into Wembley – fights broke out between fans
🎫 VIP section overrun with ticketless fans – Mancini’s son had to sit on steps
⚪ Allegations of fans openly snorting cocaine
— The Athletic UK (@TheAthleticUK) July 13, 2021
It is thought that such events may well have proved to be a nail in the coffin of England’s 2030 World Cup bid, but UEFA have also set out more immediate sanctions.
The governing body has charged the FA on four fronts:
- Failing to prevent a supporter from invading the pitch (an event that occurred in the second half of the fixture)
- Throwing of objects by England fans
- Disturbance caused by fans during the Italian National anthem
- The lighting of a firework by England fans.
Disciplinary proceedings opened against FA after England v Italy game on Sunday. pic.twitter.com/woYTpkLF8F
— Simon Collings (@sr_collings) July 13, 2021
It remains to be seen what the further fallout of the final will be, with the statement also noting that a “disciplinary inspector has been appointed to conduct a disciplinary investigation into events involving supporters which occurred inside and around the stadium”.
The consequences are yet unknown, but it could be that football may not be coming home any time soon, or that games may be needed to be played behind closed doors for a period.