Wembley disorder makes Spain and Portugal favourites to host 2030 World Cup

·6 min read
Wembley disorder makes Spain and Portugal favourites to host 2030 World Cup - AP
Wembley disorder makes Spain and Portugal favourites to host 2030 World Cup - AP

The disgraceful Wembley crowd scenes at the European Championships final has put Spain and Portugal in the driving seat to be recommended as the European 2030 World Cup bid ahead of Britain and Ireland.

Telegraph Sport understands that Uefa chiefs are already favouring giving their backing to the Spain and Portugal bid after witnessing the carnage that took place inside and outside Wembley for Sunday’s final between England and Italy.

The Football Association will discuss the matter in a board meeting over the next few days, but there is no doubt that the Britain and Ireland bid has been damaged by the shocking scenes of disorder and the announcement that UEFA have begun disciplinary proceedings into Sunday's incidents.

Uefa want to put one European bid forward for the 2030 World Cup and a vote could be taken at the next congress which is scheduled to take place in May next year, before Fifa are due to make their decision two years later.

That gives the FA time to try to get their bid back on track, but, having believed they had stolen a march on the Spain and Portugal bid, they are now facing an uphill task to convince Uefa chiefs to back an Britain and Ireland World Cup.

Spain FA president Luis Rubiales is influential within Uefa and Telegraph Sport understands that the Spain and Portugal bid is now considered the favourite of the European bids that are set to be considered.

The FA had been banking on the fact that Sunday’s European Championships final, together with the semi-finals and group games that were staged at Wembley, would provide the perfect boost to their bid.

But that theory backfired spectacularly when thousands of ticketless fans managed to force their way into Wembley amid stories of supporters with tickets being threatened and unable to take their seats.

England players’ families were even caught up in the disgraceful scenes, having to run from hooligans who had charged their way in and reporting attempted theft of their tickets.

There were claims on Tuesday that Wembley’s set capacity for the final was exceeded by more than 5,000 although that figure could yet prove to be conservative once an investigation by the FA, the police, the Greater London Authority, the Safety Advisory Group and the tournament delivery stakeholders has been completed.

The FA were thought to have been in charge of the policing and stewarding inside the stadium, which was woefully inadequate, while the police are believed to have been responsible for the number of officers outside which has also been widely criticised.

Reports have continued to come through of witnesses seeing attempted thefts, people breaking into the stadium, drug use, fans not having their bags checked and hooligans even carrying weapons in some of the most shameful scenes imaginable.

The FA are already believed to have identified some ticketless fans who boasted about getting into Wembley on social media and passed their accounts on to the authorities.

Sunday’s final was also blighted by shocking online racism directed at Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford after the England trio all missed penalties in the shootout.

The FA will give the stars the option of pursuing criminal action against the online accounts that targeted them and have moved quickly in the hope of trying to identify those responsible.

Saka, Sancho and Rashford will be spoken to over what course of action they wish to pursue. The FA will back any attempt to prosecute any culprit who can be identified, having already been in touch with social media companies to find out whether any of the accounts are traceable.

Football Association charged by Uefa over behaviour of England fans at Wembley

By Ben Rumsby

England will be punished over the hooliganism that marred their European Championship final defeat at Wembley after Uefa opened disciplinary proceedings against the Football Association.

The FA was also charged over a pitch invasion by a topless spectator, as well as the throwing of objects, booing of Italy’s national anthem and lighting of a firework by supporters.

But it was the appointment of an “ethics and disciplinary inspector” over the storming of the stadium by hundreds – if not thousands – of apparently-ticketless hooligans that could lead to the biggest sanction from European football’s governing body.

Britain and Ireland’s 2030 World Cup bid was also put in jeopardy following the shocking scenes of violence at Wembley, where even players’ families were targeted.

The terrified relatives reported attempted thefts of their tickets at the pick-up points and in the chaotic queues as they tried to enter the stadium. Some ran to flee the trouble.

The disorder, some of the worst seen at an international fixture in Britain in years, left the FA facing a heavy fine and even a suspended stadium ban after scores of troublemakers forced entry to the game and ran riot inside and outside the ground.

Boris Johnson said that he did not think the actions of “a small minority” had hurt the FA-led World Cup bid, which had appeared to steal a march on a joint Spain-Portugal offering in April after the Prime Minister, helped bring down the threatened Super League breakaway.

But those behind the Britain and Ireland bid last night admitted Sunday’s scenes, and the shambolic security operation, had harmed their efforts to bring football home again.

A senior figure at one of the FA’s bid partners told Telegraph Sport: “It can’t help things – it looked like chaos outside the stadium.”

One family member of an England player said of Sunday’s trouble: “About 50 people forced a metal door by the turnstiles open by bending it right back. Then loads of guys from everywhere just charged the opening to get in.

“The stewards couldn't cope or stop them. I felt so sorry for them, they were getting kicked and punched. Hundreds got in and women and blokes who were queuing up were pushed over and trampled. We just ran, thinking we were going to get trampled.”

A relative of a different player said: “It was chaos. All these people with no tickets just stormed in. A lot of the families felt unsafe. There was nothing the stewards could do.”

An FA spokesman said: “We will carry out a full review and investigation into the events that took place at Wembley Stadium before and during the final. This will be done in collaboration with the police, the Greater London Authority, the Safety Advisory Group and the tournament delivery stakeholders.

“Security and stewarding numbers for the final exceeded the requirements for the match and were greater than any other previous event at Wembley Stadium. However, the behaviour of the people who illegally forced their way into the stadium was unacceptable, dangerous and showed total disregard for the safety and security protocols in place. No steward or security staff should be subjected to this type of behaviour and we thank them for their support on the night. We also apologise to anyone at the match whose experience was affected by this unprecedented level of public disorder.

"We will continue to work with the relevant authorities to identify and take action against these people where possible.”

Security was meant to have been stepped up after ticketless fans got into England's semi-final win over Denmark.

Uefa fined the FA more than £25,000 over a laser pointer that was shone in the face of Kasper Schmeichel and other offences.