The government are considering a bid with Ireland for the 2030 World Cup, but the news that England will be forced to play a game behind closed doors is possibly going to put a stop to that. Some people seem surprised that this happened, yet it was always likely. Let’s not forget that thousands of people attended a game that they did not have a ticket for, bursting through a secure door to do so. Let us not forget as well that the government had already had to expand the attendance and relax the isolation protocols to keep this game in England. We can argue whether it was sensible for the game to be played later in the day, but from people who were at the game it appears the area around the ground had an ‘edge’ to it all day.

As it happens, as the ban comes from UEFA, this means that the game that will be played behind closed doors will be a Nations League game in 2022. The punishment is like where a crowd is punished for racism in the ground, personally a punishment that I already think is too lenient.

However, the disorder, chaos and violence seen round the ground was extreme and brought back memories for me of the type of behaviour England fans were showing at Euro 2000. More worryingly, it did appear the police were caught out by this behaviour, despite having had late night games at Wembley already and the opportunity to quell this by operating as it had for Champions League games held at the same stadium, including the final.

Wembley Way with scenes of police having to try and control numbers of people attempting to get around the ground was concerning enough, however, reports that there was fairly open and widespread drug use, assaults and abuse of various degrees were extremely concerning. A reminder that this was a final involving England, an opportunity for the whole country to celebrate.

Instead some ticket holders felt unsafe in aiming to get to the ground, others talk of taking their young families to the game and the children being visibly upset with the scenes they were seeing around them. The issue with fans forcing their way in through a disabled access turnstile was horrendous, and the fact that those same people saw nothing wrong with what they were doing.

UEFA went further and pointed out that the fine itself was actually due to “invasion of the field of play, for throwing of objects and for the disturbances during national anthems”. I find the behaviour of England fans around foreign anthems embarrassing enough but there was definitely a case for this being heightened during the tournament.

Players taking the knee to raise awareness of racism (no – it isn’t based on Marxism at all) then booed for doing so, whilst also seeing three players being racially abused following the missed penalties.

I do find it interesting that some of the people who were most outraged by the behaviour of Hungarian fans towards Raheem Sterling recently, were also some of the same people arguing that he should not be raising awareness of that same racism.

Some people might want to consider that.

The FA has accepted the ruling and in turn “condemn the terrible behaviour of the individuals who caused the disgraceful scenes … and we deeply regret that some of them were able to enter the stadium”. I am pleased that the FA have done this. I have managed to go to football games all over Europe without at any point feeling the need to resort to violence, or thinking that sticking a lit flare into my body would be a good idea, or that class A drugs would somehow make the experience better.

England fans do not have a good reputation in Europe and this behaviour has been on the rise for some time. The issues with Russian fans in 2016 were largely written off as England fans being innocent, but it would be wrong to say that all people following England are there for the football.

Like in Euro 2000 one would hope that the threat of exclusion from games and events might be a deterrent to those supporters, the reality is that some of them are not there for the game and therefore don’t care if the ground is closed.

I enjoyed watching this England team at the last two tournaments. Since 2002 I felt that England had gone a long way to ensuring that the topics being talked about were the team rather than the fans, but the final earlier this year did change that. We can’t ignore that this behaviour might have come at the end of a lockdown, but is still another opportunity where some fans have let themselves down. Dublin 1995, Charleroi and Brussels 2000, Wembley 2021?

The people who suffer due to this are actual fans of football and it is worth noting that as always this may have been the behaviour of a minority. However, it did not seem to be like that and if England wants to host major tournaments again in the future then we need to think how we resolve these issues. We might not be booing black players like in Hungary, but I don’t think we can ignore that some elements of England’s support needs to change their behaviour as well.

 STEPHEN ORD      @smord84