Two men have been arrested for allegedly allowing people without tickets to enter London’s Wembley Stadium during the Euro 2020 final last weekend.
Metropolitan police said two 18-year-old men, one from Ilford, east London and one from Newham, northeast London, had been released under investigation while investigations continued.
Fifty-one people were arrested in the capital this week, including 26 who were arrested at Wembley on Sunday.
Due to Covid measures, there were 30,000 vacant seats in the stadium for England’s biggest football match since 1966. This week, Met Deputy Assistant Commissioner Jane Connors rejected claims that the police operation had failed.
One fan told The Guardian that they had repeatedly tried to get a legitimate ticket as they did not want to miss a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see England compete in a final of a major tournament.
“We don’t sit in anyone’s seat,” he said, referring to the large number of vacant seats. “We didn’t hurt anyone. The people who caused trouble were the ones who fought the ticketless fans. “
But disabled fans have spoken of their terror at being caught up in Sunday’s riots, after fans without tickets admitted they were targeting disabled tickets.
The Met said: “Two men have been arrested on suspicion of theft following allegations that they took items and shared them, for the purpose of allowing people to have unauthorized access to Wembley Stadium during the Euro 2020 final.”
The nature of the allegedly stolen items remains unclear.
A spokesman for the Football Association has said that a full investigation will be carried out in collaboration with the police. “The security and administration numbers for the final exceeded the requirements for the match and were higher than at any previous event at Wembley Stadium,” they said.
On Saturday, former Met Deputy Deputy Commissioner Andy Trotter said the behavior seen at Wembley was “disgusting.”
“When you read the accounts … there is a whole catalog of problems that must be addressed,” he told Times Radio. “I think just blaming the police is a bit simplistic because clearly there were flaws everywhere.
“[But] I am not trying to defend anyone here because it was a terrible, terrible event and a real stain on the reputation of our country. “
Trotter said the game’s features, such as the 8 pm start time on a Sunday, had allowed fans to drink all day and become “callous.”
“Most soccer games are conducted with a certain degree of intoxication … but alcohol is a major problem,” he said. “The people who performed last Sunday are the same people who perform in every urban center in this country on a hot Saturday night.”
As of July 13, 897 football-related incidents and 264 arrests had been recorded across the country in the 24-hour period of the final, according to the UK Football Police Unit. It brought the number of soccer-related incidents during the tournament to 2,344 and arrests to 630.