England fell to Italy in the Euro 2020 final, playing to a 1-1 tie before losing a penalty shootout 2-3. To add to that gut-wrenching defeat, UEFA, Europe’s football governing body, has fined England for poor fan behavior. The Football Association (FA), England’s governing football body, has also condemned actions taken by some fans.
Incidents at the Semifinal
UEFA released a ruling penalizing England’s national football organization just over $35,000 USD (30,000 euros). That fine comes for two separate instances.
In one, an England fan pointed a laser at Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel just before England’s winning penalty. Schmeichel saved the shot, but England captain Harry Kane scored off the rebound to advance England to the final. On top of that, there appeared to be a second ball on the pitch.
Game officials counted the penalty, and Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand was upset at the decision.
Per ESPN, he said, “We’re very, very disappointed, and it’s hard for me to talk about. Maybe it will [be] easier for me to say how I feel in a few days.”
Denmark had an earlier own goal as well, and Schmeichel was able to save the initial shot after the laser was shone. However, a loss under such odd circumstances has to sting, and that behavior by the laser’s owner is certainly unsporting.
That incident was not the only blight on a triumphant day for England, either.
The UEFA fine also covered the fans’ disruption of the Danish national anthem and for lighting fireworks.
Video from U.K. member of parliament Tony Perkins captures scattered boos during the anthem.
Unfortunately, the final match saw some poor fan behavior, too.
ESPN reports that police arrested at least 45 fans who attempted to storm Wembley Stadium ahead of the final.
Here’s a look at the chaotic scene.
IIFX U.K. affiliate Chris Kemp, a university professor and crowd risk management expert, said that the event staff worked through a “readiness and testing phase” before the event. (The match was the highest capacity football match in England in almost two years. With Wembley Stadium open to 66% capacity, 60,000 fans attended.)
““However, testing and reality are very different, especially when fans turn feral and work in carefully planned groups” he added.
Some England fans in Manchester made it clear they wouldn’t stand for such abuse, though.
Prince William, the head of the FA, also released a statement of condemnation.
What Comes Next?
These incidents have sparked some concern about the prospects of England and Ireland’s joint bid for the 2030 World Cup.
IIFX U.K. affiliate Pete Dalton, a security and event management expert, said he would be “very surprised” if the bid progresses.
The great atmosphere inside Wembley Stadium makes it all the more unfortunate that poor fan behavior has taken attention away from the game itself.
The Evening Standard’s James Robson captured part of the scene.
While a major trophy isn’t coming home to England, this weekend’s crowds indicate a sense of normalcy could very well be. For fans of England, hopefully a trophy won’t be far behind.
Seeing a full stadium for a major match signals that a return to normal could be on its way. However, some of the surrounding behavior shows that the return to normal poses obstacles for security and event staff, too.
Starting in August, some of our content will become subscriber-exclusive. This move will help us continue to grow and give our subscribers more insider advice, insights, and networking opportunities. Our newsletter, the IIFXtra, will send you a mix of free and exclusive content as soon as we publish it. Sign up for the IIFXtra below and learn more about subscribing here.