Euro 2020: ‘Wembley Way was a disgrace’ says Swarbrick
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Wembley Stadium has been blasted for its “unforgiveable” safety risks ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final, which will be attended by Prince William. Liverpool are set to take on Chelsea at the national ground with the debacle that clouded the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy last summer still fresh in the mind.
Wembley has come under fire after an undercover operation by the Daily Mail exposed alarming security risks at the stadium. And the FA has launched an urgent inquiry. An undercover reporter was given a job as a steward, despite providing false details in his application and failing to sign the form. He wasn’t even interviewed for the role or given any in-person training.
At one match he worked at, no one searched his bag before he was allowed into supposedly secure areas. And he was largely unsupervised in the hours leading up to games.
On one occasion he was even offered a £1,000 bribe for access to the VIP area – and other stewards he was working alongside told him they would have accepted it. He also saw catering staff cluttering up stairwells during matches, which is strictly prohibited.
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The damming findings from the undercover operation come less than a year after Baroness Casey oversaw an official inquiry after 2,000 fans without tickets stormed the Euro 2020 final. And after the Daily Mail’s operation, the chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee Julian Knight MP revealed he would be writing to the FA to call for Baroness Casey to investigate again.
“This is completely unforgivable on every level,” he said. “Have no lessons been learned from the near tragedy of last summer? I am particularly concerned to read about the lack of checking, vetting, and security that presents itself through this investigation.
“There are serious questions the FA has to answer in terms of the care it takes to look after the stadium and its fans. I am going to write to the FA and also urge the FA to re-employ Louise Casey to oversee an investigation into the findings of the Mail’s report.”
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Meanwhile Wembley said: “We are taking these allegations extremely seriously as they do not meet the high standards that we expect from our stewarding contractors. We have already begun an investigation into the matter and we have suspended the relevant stewarding contractor pending the outcome of this investigation.”
The firm responsible for employing the undercover reporter was Towcester-based Forward Security, which is one of around 20 firms Wembley uses to supply stewards and operated at Euro 2020. Forward Security had not provided a comment at the time of the report’s publication.
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