Two men have been arrested for allegedly enabling people without tickets to enter Wembley stadium in London during the Euro 2020 final last weekend.
The Metropolitan police said two 18-year-old men, one from Ilford, east London and another from Newham, north-east London, had been released under investigation while inquiries continued.
Fifty-one people were this week arrested across the capital, including 26 who were detained at Wembley on Sunday.
Due to Covid measures there were 30,000 spare seats at the stadium for England’s most important football match since 1966. This week, the Met deputy assistant commissioner, Jane Connors, rejected claims that the policing operation had failed.
One fan told the Guardian they had repeatedly attempted to get a legitimate ticket as they did not want to miss a potential once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of seeing England compete in a major tournament final.
“We didn’t sit in anyone’s seat,” he said, referring to the vast number of unoccupied seats. “We didn’t harm anyone. The people causing the trouble were the ones fighting ticketless fans.”
But disabled fans have spoken of their terror at being caught up in the disturbances on Sunday, after ticketless fans admitted targeting disabled entrances.
The Met said: “Two men have been arrested on suspicion of theft following allegations that they took items and shared them, for the purpose of allowing people to have unauthorised access to Wembley stadium during the Euro 2020 final.”
The nature of the objects that were allegedly stolen remained unclear.
A Football Association spokesperson has said a full investigation would take place in collaboration with the police. “The security and stewarding numbers for the final exceeded the requirements for the match and were greater than any other previous event at Wembley stadium,” they said.
On Saturday, the former Met deputy assistant commissioner Andy Trotter said the behaviour seen at Wembley was “disgusting”.
“When one reads through the accounts … there’s a whole catalogue of issues that need to be addressed,” he told Times Radio. “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.”
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.”
By 13 July, 897 football-related incidents and 264 arrests had been recorded across the country in the 24-hour period of 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.