Champions League final to see record stewarding numbers

A banner sports Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid's crests at Wembley before the 2024 Champions League final
Dortmund and Real will contest the first Champions League final at Wembley in 11 years [Getty Images]

Saturday's Champions League final between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid will see the "highest stewarding deployment in Wembley Stadium history".

More than 2,500 stewards will be present with the Football Association investing over £5m towards improving safety and infrastructure in a bid to avoid a repeat of the chaotic scenes which marred England's Euro 2020 final defeat by Italy at the venue three years ago.

An independent review by Baroness Casey in 2021 identified more than 20 "near-misses" that could have resulted in serious injury or death as ticketless fans tried to gain entry to the stadium.

The report added there was a "collective failure" in planning for the match, which saw around 2,000 people enter the stadium illegally.

"One thing in the Euros final was very much the supply of stewarding, which I can say was at a low point off the back of Covid," said Chris Bryant, the FA's director of tournaments and events.

"We're very confident the supply of stewarding which you've seen in the industry has bounced back."

The disorder at Wembley was followed by trouble at the 2022 and 2023 Champions League finals in Paris and Istanbul.

Fans were penned in and teargassed outside Paris' Stade de France two years ago with a Uefa-commissioned report saying "it is remarkable no one lost their life" at the event.

Uefa were then accused of "treating fans like cattle" as Manchester City supporters were unable to return to their hotels until after 03:00 BST following a late kick-off in Istanbul the following year.

Saturday's showpiece will use a "robust and comprehensive testing plan" regarding digital ticketing and checks, as Uefa and local authorities face pressure to host a trouble-free event.

The FA, which has tested new methods at the Carabao Cup and FA Cup finals, has put money into increased cameras and additional lock systems to doors and gates.

Entrance to Wembley Stadium will be allowed four hours before kick-off instead of two, and Transport for London will run extra services to aid the flow of supporters to and from the ground.

There have also been investments in cameras so security can monitor what is happening at nearby pubs as well as in the stadium, and an increase in the amount of body-cams stewards wear.