'Fundamental things went wrong' at Wembley during Euro 2020 Final, says former stadium boss

ITV News cameras filmed as fans stormed the stadium ahead of England v Italy in July

  • Words by sports producer Dan Salisbury-Jones

The man who helped design the original safety features of Wembley Stadium says "fundamental things went wrong," at the Euro 2020 Final between England and Italy.

ITV News filmed scenes of chaos at the stadium in July as fans breached security, some even gaining access to the stands despite not holding tickets.

As UEFA announced a ban for England fans at their next European match as a result, the stadium’s former manager says the scenes of chaos could easily have been prevented. Noel Jeffs was Stadium Director at Wembley until 2007 and worked on Euro96 among other major events at the national stadium.

How could Wembley have been built differently to avoid breaches?

He told ITV News: “I was actually quite surprised to see the number of issues now 14 years after I’ve left it, so I don’t know what’s changed, something’s obviously changed.

"I put a lot of work into that, a seven year slog working with the architects, working out how to prevent those things that we’re talking about now. “Things develop, sites develop over time.

"I think it’s disappointing when you see fundamental things go wrong, and in my view it could quite easily have been a different experience for people and you certainly wouldn’t have had the rushing of that outside perimeter had that configuration been slightly different.

Fans tear down barricades as they breach security and enter Wembley

“Where the crowds rushed through the barriers, if you had barriers that were zigzags for example that would actually have stopped that from happening.

"There’s fundamental things you can do, even in tight spaces to control and stop that onward rush.

"That gives your security people time to do the checks and searching further away. “Where the disabled entrances were, they were airlocked, so one goes in, one door is locked and the other one was opened to allow them in so I’m not sure how these people rushed and got into the stadium.”

"It's disappointing": Noel Jeffs says he spent seven years trying to ensure the the scenes witnessed ahead of the Euro 2020 final didn't happen

Jeffs is worried that security at the stadium seems less engaged than when he was running the stadium. “How they’re being managed is different, with standing we used to have people at the front getting them to sit down, getting the gangways clear, I didn’t see any evidence of that.” The FA has its own independent review, led by Baroness Casey, into the events of 11 July.

Responding to UEFA's ruling on Monday it said: “Although we are disappointed with the verdict, we acknowledge the outcome of this UEFA decision.

“We condemn the terrible behaviour of the individuals who caused the disgraceful scenes in and around Wembley Stadium at the EURO 2020 final, and we deeply regret that some of them were able to enter the stadium.

“We are determined that this can never be repeated, so we have commissioned an independent review, led by Baroness Casey, to report on the circumstances involved.

"We continue to work with the relevant authorities in support of their efforts to take action against those responsible and hold them to account."