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FA doing ‘all we can’ to prevent repeat of Euro 2020 Wembley chaos in Champions League final

Wembley stadium will host this weekend's Champions League final. Photo: Niklas Hallen/AFP

England’s governing Football Association said Tuesday it had invested £5 million ($7 million) in improving safety and infrastructure at Wembley in an attempt to prevent a repeat of the violence that marred the climax of the Euro 2020 showpiece when the London ground stages this weekend’s Champions League final.

An independent review identified more than 20 “near-misses” that could have led to serious injury or death as a consequence of ticketless individuals trying to gain entry, and in some cases succeeding, for the England v Italy match in July 2021.

There was also trouble at venues for the 2022 and 2023 Champions League finals, in Paris and Istanbul.

Germany’s Borussia Dortmund and Spanish giants Real Madrid will meet in this season’s final at Wembley on Saturday, with officials promising they will have a “robust and comprehensive testing plan” in place for digital ticketing and safety checks.

Chris Bryant, the FA’s director of tournaments and events, said: “We are doing all we can to ensure fans have a smooth arrival process and nice experience as they come to the stadium.”

The FA, which has tested new methods at the League Cup and FA Cup finals, said fans would be able to enter Wembley four hours before Saturday’s kick-off, rather than two, with Transport for London running extra services to help manage the flow of fans to and from the ground.

Bryant accepted that, following the coronavirus pandemic, the supply of stewards was a major issue at the Euro 2020 final, insisting Saturday’s match would see “the highest ever stewarding deployment in Wembley Stadium history”.

“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,” he said. “We’re very confident the supply of stewarding which you’ve seen in the industry has bounced back.”

He added: “We’ve increased the strength of all the doors because at the Euros final people tried to rip the doors. Those doors are locked with a magnetic lock system and we’ve put a further lock system on every door around the stadium.

“We never foresaw events like that for the Euros final and I’m not sure we will again but we’ve learned lessons and additional measures have been implemented.”

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