- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 11, 2021

As England prepares to play its first major tournament final since the 1966 World Cup, chaos unfolded outside Wembley Stadium in London as Three Lions fans stormed the security barriers, attempting to gain entry into the European Championship final against Italy.

Footage on social media showed an onrushing wave of supporters breaking through security barriers and breaching the outer access points to the ground. According to Tariq Panja, a reporter from The New York Times, Wembley was briefly locked down after ticketless fans stormed into the concourse. Panja reported the number of fans to have breached the stadium could be in the hundreds.

After fencing and barriers were torn down, security personnel attempted to repair the crowd-control measures. But a statement to ESPN from a Wembley Stadium spokesperson said no ticketless fans made their way inside the stadium itself — just through the outer security level.

“We are dealing with an incident that occurred at the outer security perimeter area of the stadium, with support from police,” the statement read. “Safety measures were quickly activated in the relevant areas and there were no security breaches of people without tickets getting inside the stadium.”

Sky Sports News reported that the area has been “secured and order at Wembley has been restored” after the initial breach.

For England’s semifinal match against Denmark, there was also troublesome fan behavior, with some supporters breaching the outer perimeter of the stadium. That resulted in increased security measures ahead of Sunday’s final.

Fans arriving at the stadium must pass two checkpoints, according to the Daily Mail. The first is to check a fan’s COVID-19 status well away from the ground, with fans required to show proof of a negative test or evidence of being fully vaccinated. The second check is for match tickets at the turnstiles entering the stadium.

• Andy Kostka can be reached at akostka@washingtontimes.com.

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