The Football Association fear violence and bad behaviour could mar England’s trip to Germany on June 7 as England fans head right into a perfect storm. Host city Munich is the beer capital of Europe and has the kind of central square which inspires supporters to congregate.
Add to that a late 8.45pm kick-off, a history of confrontations between the 2 factions and the very fact the eve of the sport falls on the anniversary of D-Day, and there are comprehensible fears that the trip could end in disaster.
Gareth Southgate has already expressed his embarrassment about bad behaviour of fans prior to now and robust messages are planned when the ballot process finally finishes on Friday. And the major concern is the popularity that UEFA can be keeping an in depth eye on things as England have the specter of a suspended one-match behind-closed-doors game as a part of the punishment for behaviour on the Euro 2020 final.
The German authorities are working closely with British police and stewards and alcohol can be banned completely on the Allianz Arena itself. Nonetheless, there can be less control in town centre itself. That is where England fans can be travelling to collect en masse for the primary time since they played the Czech Republic in Prague in 2019. In total, 3,466 tickets can be made available to England Supporters’ Club members although with 6,000 expressing interest there are concerns that fans may travel without tickets.
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Furthermore, banning orders are artificially low on account of the recent lockdown. It is predicted 880 passports can be handed in ahead of the trip, which is a fraction of the three,000 fans who were prevented from travelling to the 2006 World Cup, for instance. The FA admit that even those arrested after recent pitch invasions can be allowed to travel in the event that they haven’t been sentenced and there’s a way that a “recent generation” of unknown travelling fans can be making their first ever away trip with England on account of the long break.
A dozen stewards and three senior FA security staff will travel to Munich to assist liaise with the local authorities, who prior to now have shown some understanding of handling English crowds. As ever, though, alcohol abuse stays an enormous concern, although increasingly police can be on the look out for drug use as an aggravating factor for poor behaviour.
Southgate said this week on fan disorder: “Football’s got a responsibility but what happened here before our Euro 2020 final, that wasn’t just football supporters. That was people unable to behave, to regulate themselves, when consuming alcohol.
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“It is a wider problem, a mirrored image of where we’re as a rustic. It is a difficult time for people. We’re going to have tougher times due to economy. When it’s in the environment we’ve got to do all we are able to to make certain it doesn’t occur.
“But we don’t desire to return to fences being put up. We don’t desire to step back. What can we do? We will only call it out. Every time we travel, we’re hopefully ambassadors for our country and that ought to stand for something. We’d not be glad if people got here to our country and behaved in that way.
“I do know that it’s unrealistic to expect people to form into a giant group and take that challenge on. But when smaller numbers of individuals and individuals start having those conversations and questioning why individuals are doing certain things, I believe that’s something that it is feasible for all of us to have an effect on.”