The FA will issue fresh pleas to England fans to behave in the next game against Germany in Munich, fearing that repeated violence could affect their hopes of hosting Euro 2028 and force more games of renowned for being played behind closed doors.
British police and security officials within the FA are said to have real concerns over Germany against England in the Nations League on June 7. The game is considered the biggest away game and riskiest match in England for four years.
The feeling within Wembley is that the FA are on a ‘yellow card’ with UEFA, and must rebuild the reputation of domestic football after the mess that marred the Euro 2020 final.
England v Italy at Molineux next month is already being played without fans as the FA are serving a UEFA ban as punishment for last summer’s violence at Wembley.
But officials are well aware that as part of that punishment they also carry a suspended one-match fan ban, which could be quickly enforced should further trouble arise.
This could potentially mean England v Germany in September will be played in an empty Wembley Stadium if the fans don’t behave. There are also fears that any additional issues could seriously hamper the home nations and Ireland’s joint bid to host Euro 2028.
There are 3,466 supporters with official England Supporter Club tickets for next month’s game against Germany, but more than double that number are expected to travel to Munich for the match. Over 6,000 ticket applications were received by the FA for the game.
A total of 1,122 football banning orders are already in place for known troublemakers, 880 of whom must surrender their passports to police a week before the game against Germany.
The Nations League match is classified by the UK’s Football Policing Unit as high risk. It comes the day after the annual D-Day celebrations, and police fear an 8.45pm kick-off could mean drinking all day in the city.
Fans will be urged directly by FA officials and fan groups to refrain from chanting against Germany and any references to WWII.
Local police will be stationed at all UK airports to monitor flights into Germany ahead of the game, with powers to prevent anyone suspicious from boarding a flight.
The fact that the match takes place in the middle of the week relieves security officials, who feared that the number of traveling fans would be even greater if the match took place at the weekend.
The German FA have also agreed to enforce an alcohol ban throughout the Allianz Arena – a move widely welcomed by the English authorities. But nonetheless, the game poses the greatest risk of disorder since the match against the Netherlands in Amsterdam in 2018, which saw 114 England fans arrested.
British officers will be on the lookout for any illegal drug use, which has been highlighted as a key factor in the rise in fan violence in recent years. The government is introducing legislation which will mean a mandatory five-year football ban for anyone caught selling or taking drugs in football, but that measure will not be in place in time for this game.
In Germany, police and FA security teams have significantly increased their resources.
Britain’s Football Policing Unit will send its largest delegation to Munich since before the coronavirus pandemic, including six teams of ‘spotters’, who will try to influence good behavior with early interventions, and record any bad behavior to enforce the new football banning orders once fans return to England.
The FA will have three security advisers working directly with the German authorities, as well as 12 specialist stewards who will liaise directly with England supporters.
The FA are also aware of the potential that England fans could be targeted by German hooligans outside the Allianz Arena, as has happened in Berlin and Dortmund in the past.