Behaviour of England fans will not deter World Cup 2030 bid with UK – Varadkar

Leo Varadkar has criticised English football fans who broke into Wembley Stadium for the Euro 2020 final but said the incident would not deter Ireland’s joint World Cup 2030 bid with the UK.

A section of fans without tickets to Sunday’s final clash between Italy and England breached security barriers and stormed into Wembley.

There were reports of some ticketless people being inside the stadium for the whole match, and of genuine ticket-holders being afraid to confront people occupying their seats.

The Metropolitan Police said there had been 49 arrests connected to the match for a variety of offences and that 19 officers had been injured as they confronted “volatile” crowds.

Pundits have suggested the ugly scenes will come as a severe blow to the 2030 World Cup bid, but Ireland’s deputy premier said he remains fully behind it.

Mr Varadkar said: “I’m 100% behind that bid. I’m really encouraged by it and very keen that Ireland should be part of that.

“I think England’s team is a tribute to their nation. Unfortunately, some of their supporters are not. We saw the violence and the bad behaviour yesterday.”

Asked if the scenes made him reconsider the joint World Cup bid, he replied: “I don’t think so, no.”

Mr Varadkar added: “It’s a minority and I don’t think we should ever try to tar a whole nation or a whole set of fans or support, just based on the behaviour of what I believe was a minority.”

Videos were posted on social media of people being attacked within the stadium concourses, while away from the stadium there was also disorder in other areas of London.

Mr Varadkar also criticised England fans who booed the Italian national anthem at Sunday’s match.

He said: “We saw something really unfortunate in sport, somebody booing somebody else’s national anthem. That shouldn’t be done.

“I think it’s very disappointing that a number of English fans behaved in the way they did.”

Mr Varadkar also called on social media companies to take action, after a number of England players were subjected to racial abuse online following the game.

He said: “Certainly I would say to anyone who’s engaging in any form of abuse online, that’s really unacceptable.

“I’d be saying to the tech companies that they have a responsibility not to promote and to take down anything of a racist nature in that regard.

“I haven’t contacted them yet about it, but it’s the kind of message I would happily make public here.”

Fans watching Italy v England – UEFA Euro 2020 – Final
Football fans wave a flare in Piccadilly Circus, London, after Italy beat England on penalties to win the Euro 2020 final (Victoria Jones/PA)

Mr Varadkar congratulated Italy on their victory, while commiserating with England manager Gareth Southgate, and the players who missed penalties, costing England the championship.

He said: “I saw the match last night and I think the best team won, so my sincere congratulations to Italy on their victory last night.

“I have to say, I really feel for three guys who missed the penalties and for Gareth Southgate to experience that twice in his career, losing on penalties in that way.

“It must be really tough for him and for the three who missed.”