Police made 96 football-related arrests in connection to matches played at Wembley during the Euro 2020 tournament this summer, with all but six involving England games.
Incredibly, only 39 of those arrests related to the final between England and Italy, according to a Home Office report released today, when an estimated 5,000 people stormed the stadium,
The final between the Three Lions and the Italian team, which was won by Italy after a tense penalty shoot-out, was marred by violence outside and inside the stadium and became a national embarrassment.
A mass of England fans outside the stadium pushed at the barriers ahead of Euro 2020 final
An estimated 5,000 ticketless hooligans gained entry to the ground for the match on July 11, forcing their way through security gates and cordons, which led to ugly scenes on the concourses.
Stewards and fans had to run for cover as the security operation was overwhelmed in parts of Wembley.
Nineteen police officers were injured, including one who lost a tooth in the disorder, while another suffered a broken hand, Sky Sports reported after the game.
Video footage showed hordes of hooligans racing through concourses to grab a spare seat at Wembley, where capacity had been limited to 60,000 because of concerns over the transmission of coronavirus.
A group of football fans storm through the security barriers at Wembley as stewards desperately try to hold them back ahead of the Euro 2020 final at Wembley
Following the game, the Metropolitan Police came in for stinging criticism over how the high-profile match was managed and there were questions asked of the Football Association about preparations for the game.
A review of the events was launched by the police and the FA, which was also charged by the European football governing body, UEFA, in relation to invasion of the field of play by supporters; throwing of objects; disturbance during the national anthem and lighting of a firework.
The Met Police, meanwhile, vowed to bring those responsible to justice and issued photographs of suspected offenders entering the stadium.
Huge crowds gathered outside Wembley, including many without tickets, before the final
However, the annual report into football arrests and banning orders, issued this morning by the Home Office, reports just 39 arrests in relation to the final.
In all, the report records 96 arrests for football-related offences at Euro 2020. Of these, 90 were at games played by England at Wembley.
In addition to the 39 arrests at the game against Italy, 28 were made in relation the group stage match against Scotland and 18 were connected to the semi-final against Denmark.
A further six arrests were made at the semi final between Italy and Spain, while two people were arrested at England games that were not part of the competition.
The Home Office figures specifically concern football-related offences, which are set out in section one of the Football Spectators Act 1989 and include the type of activities hooligans at Wembley were involved in.
These offences include public order incidents that cause harassment, alarm or distress, threats of violence towards other people or property, drunken disorder, and racial hatred, as well as football specific crimes, like throwing missiles or invading the pitch.
Offences need to be defined as football-related in order for the authorities to apply for a football banning order, which is seen as the main deterrent for hooligans.
The Metropolitan Police say their figures show 129 people were arrested throughout the whole of the Euro 2020 championship, however this figure includes general crimes detected by the policing operations, such as theft, and is not limited to schedule one of the Act.
The Met says a further 25 have been arrested following appeals to the public for information.
‘We thank those who shared the appeal and to the public for the information received as a result,’ said a Met Police spokesman.
‘Out of these arrests, 19 have been charged, 10 have been issued with cautions and 16 have been issued with penalty notices for disorder. Three of those arrested have been referred to youth offending teams. There has been one conviction.
‘The remaining 104 have either been released under investigation or bailed pending further enquiries.’
Overall, the number of football-related arrests and banning orders issued in England and Wales last season was significantly down on previous years due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
In total, there were 116 football-related arrests in connection with matches played last season with a further 24 made by the British Transport Police involving fans on the rail network.
Trouble at the stadium came after England fans flocked to Wembley in their thousands to be part of one of the biggest nights in English football history
In addition, 208 banning orders were handed out by the courts barring fans from attending stadiums. The bans last for a minimum of three years.
In total, there are currently 1,359 football banning orders in force in England and Wales. They are seen as an effective deterrent to offending behaviour around football.
A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘Football-related violence and disorder of any kind will not be tolerated.
‘We support police in taking action and are pleased over 1,300 Football Banning Orders have been issued to stop troublemakers from attending stadiums.
‘We are also taking action to tackle online racist abuse in football by seeking to amend legislation so that online abusers can be barred from stadiums in the same way violent thugs are barred from grounds.’
The report notes that all 2,978 scheduled matches were played in the 2020-21 season.
Of these, 2,766 (93 per cent) were played without spectators and 212 (seven per cent) were played at various reduced capacities. None were played at full capacity.
As a result, arrests in the season were around eight per cent of the 2018-19 campaign, when attendances were unaffected by the virus.
Football fans stormed through the security barriers at Wembley just moments ahead of England’s nail-biting fight against Italy, leading to Covid checks being abandoned