European Football’s governing body have launched disciplinary proceedings against the English football association, the FA, following the final on the UEFA 2020 tournament at Wembley.
The FA have launched their own investigation, along with the police and local authorities, into how thousands of ticketless fans were able to force their way pas security and into the ground.
Not only did UEFA take exception to the trouble before the match, caused by a small minority of fans, with more than 50 arrests and several people injured in scuffles, including the father of England player Harry Maguire.
But they have also censured the fans for their behaviour once they got into the ground, with those offences including the booing of the Italian national anthem, throwing of objects, and the lighting of fireworks.
The FA was fined for similar offences after the semi-final with Denmark and are likely to face a larger punishment this time,
And there is even the risk the fans could be banned from games under UEF’s direct stewardship. Whilst their World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Hungary in the autumn would be unaffected because that is a FIFA competition, it might put games in the 2022- 23 Nations League at risk.
he actions of the unruly minority may also have seriously damaged any hopes that England had of staging the 2030 World Cup.
England lost the final to Italy on penalties and the fall-out from that continues. In the aftermath of the game, the three England players who missed their spot-kicks were all subject to serious racist online abuse.
In response to that, an online petition calling for those found to be responsible for posting such content to be banned from football for life has already attracted more than a million signatures. And the British prime minister Boris Johnson has already met with representatives of those companies to discuss ways of clamping down on such content.
All of this detracts from what was generally a fine tournament, in part because of the presence of fans in the grounds again after more than a year of games being played in front of empty stadium because of Covid restrictions.
It is a reminder, if one were needed, that football without spectators is not the same, and that there is nothing to compare to a full stadium full of noise and singing.
And for football fans across Europe – and indeed the world – who got used to tuning into matches very night, they may be wondering how to pass their time now.
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And, for those still missing their fix of football no need to despair. Clubs are back in pre-season, there are lots of friendlies arranged, and the preliminary rounds of next season’s European competitions have already started.
And, within a few weeks,. The next seasons will be kicking off all across Europe.