English Fans’ Unruly Acts At Wembley Were A Blot On The ‘Beautiful Game’

As cricket is known as a ‘gentleman’s game,’ football is also called a ‘beautiful game.’ Cricket got such a tag because of the absence of violence or physical contact in the game. Football, on the other hand, received the badge of honour of being a beautiful game due to its simplicity and appeal involved in it to watch the same. However, what transpired before, during and after the ‘beautiful game’ at Wembley was ugly, to say the least. It was indeed sad and horrific to see English fans indulging in a pathetic display of hooliganism in an inebriated state before the start of the final. Any sports fans would have squirmed or shouted in disgust when England supporters mercilessly attacked Italian spectators inside Wembley. Then the online abuses directed at Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukaya Sako after the Euro 2020 final yet again put the spotlight on the presence of the ugly head of racism in sports, which keeps popping out now and then. 

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Ticketless England fans push way into Wembley for Euro 2020 final |  Financial Times
Fans outside Wembley Stadium on Sunday night
Image Credits: Reuters

“This behaviour in 2021?? The abuse of the players who gave us so much joy?? Do we actually deserve the 2030 World Cup?” this was echoed by none other than the former cricketer Kevin Pietersen. He was not alone to chide at the unruly English supporters. “Booing and racially abusing the fine young men that play for our country and have given us so much pleasure and joy over the last month is not being an @england fan. That goes for the pathetic fighting at the ground too. It’s a minority but it’s a loud one and it’s embarrassing, said Gay Lineker, the former England Striker. The statements from these prolific sportspersons of their respective eras prove the disgusting indulgences are nothing but a blot on a country like the UK. 

These were not the only embarrassing incidents as there were others as well. Some England supporters before the final even booed at Italy’s national anthem at Wembley. However, this is not the first time English fans have crossed the limits of decency. The history is replete with such disgusting episodes. In June 2019, riot police had to be brought in to control the fans wreaking havoc in Porto during Nations League. In fact in 2018, before a friendly against the Netherlands, Dutch police detained English supporters for throwing bottles at tourists. There are several other instances as well and it must be added that English people are not alone in bringing disrepute to the game and the country with such obnoxious antics. 

Euro 2020: Ticketless England fans break into Wembley ahead of final after  chaotic scenes outside stadium
England fans cheer on their team outside Wembley Stadium ahead of the final between England and Italy
Image Credits: Getty Images

These incidents only leave a bad taste in the mouth of everyone, including citizens, government officials, politicians, incumbent rulers etc. The alarming regularity with which such episodes keep occurring only suggests what happened after the Euro final will not end any time soon. The hate stories will continue unabated if countries don’t develop intolerance towards such disgraceful acts. These kinds of wild outrages and racist attitudes are very much prevalent in other sports as well, not just restricted to the beautiful game or a place like England. In fact, several Asian cricketers in the past have complained of misbehaviour or racist taunts on the part of Australian supporters as well. These things can only be stopped by acting firmly against such offensive sports enthusiasts. The time is ripe to rid the game of all the ills bordering on fanaticism, parochialism, racism and jingoism and make these sporting events a platform to spread the message of love and harmony. 

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