England vs Italy Euro 2024 qualifier: Enhanced Wembley security for football fans after Brussels shootings
Spectators at the England vs Italy Euro 2024 qualifier tonight should expect a noticeable Wembley police presence following shootings in Belgian capital Brussels
Fans have been warned to expect a noticeable police presence at Wembley for England's match against Italy on Tuesday night (17 October) in the wake of Monday's shootings in Brussels. Following the incident in the Belgian capital, spectators at the Euro 2024 qualifier have been urged to "remain vigilant throughout."
The qualifier between Belgium and Sweden was called off at halftime after two people were shot and killed in a suspected terrorist attack. The decision was taken to call off the game after Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo confirmed the victims in Monday’s shooting were Swedish.
Fans were kept in the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels for more than two hours before a message on the stadium screen asked them to leave “calmly”. Sweden manager Janne Andersson said the players had asked for the game to be abandoned when they heard about the shooting.
“I felt it was completely unreal,” he told a press conference. “What kind of world do we live in today? I was supposed to have a good chat with the players but I heard it and almost started crying. When the team started talking, we agreed 100 per cent that we didn’t want to play on out of respect for the victims and their families.” UEFA has not yet confirmed whether the match will be replayed
In a statement issued on Tuesday morning, The Metropolitan Police said: “There is a robust policing plan in place for the Euro 2024 qualifier between England and Italy at Wembley this evening, building on our shared experience with trusted partners in policing these high-profile matches, and to ensure those attending the match can enjoy the sporting occasion. Given the events yesterday in Brussels, those attending the match can be reassured that they will see a highly visible policing presence. Officers are there to ensure the event passes off safely and provide reassurance to those attending.”
Superintendent Gerry Parker, the match commander for the England-Italy game, said: “We have been working with our partners, including the FA, in the weeks leading up to this match to ensure those attending the Wembley area enjoy this match. Our officers are experienced in dealing with large-scale public order events, and a flexible plan is in place to reduce the likelihood of crime and disorder, and provide a timely response to any emerging incidents. Please ensure you arrive in good time for the match and remain vigilant throughout; if you see anything suspicious then flag it to an officer or one of the match stewards immediately so the necessary action can be taken.”