A former Metropolitan Police chief has defended officers following ugly scenes at Wembley at the Euro 2020 final, but said the incident was “a stain on our country’s reputation”.
Hundreds of ticketless fans stormed the stadium last Sunday in an attempt to watch the historic match between England and Italy, pushing past stewards and security.
Former Met deputy assistant commissioner Andy Trotter said the behaviour was “disgusting” but it was “simplistic” to solely blame the police.
“It was disgusting behaviour by fans and it does bring shame on our country,” he told Times Radio.
“When one reads through the accounts… there’s a whole catalogue of issues that need to be addressed.
“I think just to pin it on the police is a bit simplistic because quite clearly there were failings everywhere.
“(But) I’m not trying to defend anyone here because it was an awful, awful event and a real stain on our country’s reputation.”
Mr Trotter said features of the game, such as the 8pm kick-off time on a Sunday, had allowed fans to drink all day and become “insensible”.
“Most football matches go ahead with a degree of drunkenness… but alcohol is a major, major problem,” he said.
“Those people performing last Sunday are the same ones that perform in every town centre across this country on a hot Saturday night.
“Tonight, all over the country those same people will be out getting drunk, getting drugged up and causing huge amounts of problems.”
By July 13, 897 football-related incidents and 264 arrests had been recorded across the country in the 24-hour period surrounding the final, according to the United Kingdom Football Policing Unit.
It took the number of football-related incidents during the tournament to 2,344, and arrests to 630.
It comes as around 100 demonstrators gathered in central London in solidarity with members of the England squad who received racist abuse online following the final.
Protesters chanted “love football, hate racism”, and heard from speakers including former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott.
“The Government wants to have its cake and eat it… Priti Patel called taking the knee gesture politics,” Ms Abbott said.
“I’ll tell you what gesture politics is, it’s condemning the England players throughout the tournament and then putting on an England shirt in the semi-finals.”
Referring to England footballers’ responses on Twitter, she said: “Boris Johnson, your boys took a hell of a beating.”
Those gathered then crossed Whitehall and took the knee in front of Downing Street with fists and placards raised.
Since the final, five people have been arrested over their alleged social media posts.