Britain’s top football cop warns return of standing and alcohol could WRECK the English game after Euro 2020 shame

BRITAIN’S top football cop says the return of standing and booze is a toxic mix that could wreck English football.

Chief Constable Mark Roberts was already concerned by the upsurge of hooliganism that saw the Euro 2020 final at Wembley turned into a war zone.

Football's top cop fears 'safe standing' and booze allowed in seats is a recipe for disaster

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Football’s top cop fears ‘safe standing’ and booze allowed in seats is a recipe for disasterCredit: AP
Chief Constable Mark Roberts is concerned at the rise of hooliganism within the game - even before the reintroduction of 'safe standing' and alcohol in the stands

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Chief Constable Mark Roberts is concerned at the rise of hooliganism within the game – even before the reintroduction of ‘safe standing’ and alcohol in the standsCredit: Alamy

The Government approved trials of ‘safe standing‘ from the start of 2022.

It is also expected former Sports Minister Tracey Crouch will recommend the ban on fans drinking booze at their seats is lifted for lower-division clubs.

Roberts, head of football policing for England and Wales, said: “We know it’s easier for people to mask themselves and chant racial abuse, throw pyrotechnics or behave in other anti-social ways if they are standing.

“It will change the atmosphere in a ground as well, as we know it will likely be males between 16 and 55 who want to stand more than women, families or older fans.

“That change will not be for the better.

“It’s going to make things a lot more challenging – to put the top hat on it and allow people to drink in the stands would be ludicrous.”

Tanked-up fans, many also fuelled by cocaine, were blamed for the shameful scenes at Wembley in July.

Roberts added: “Excessive drinking will lead to bad and violent behaviour.

“I go to games as a fan and safety has to be taken seriously. 

“If things get worse, it will also have an effect commercially.

“If violence becomes routine again, then it will be damaging for the sport.”

Fans storm Wembley security barriers and break into stadium

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