Johnson says UK still has ‘very good case’ in World Cup bid despite fan violence

·2-min read

The Prime Minister has confirmed the UK will continue in its bid to host the World Cup in 2030 despite the violent scenes seen during the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy on Sunday.

Football fans in England have faced strong criticism over scenes of glass bottles being thrown in Leicester Square, fights breaking out at Wembley and groups of supporters storming a gate in order to gain access to the stadium, and racist abuse being directed at the squad’s black players following the loss.

The Metropolitan Police said there had been 86 arrests connected to the match, including 53 at Wembley, for a variety of offences and 19 officers had been injured as they confronted crowds.

Pundits have suggested the chaotic and violent scenes have damaged the country’s chances of holding the tournament, but Mr Johnson said he thought the UK and Ireland still had a “very, very good case”.

Debris covers a street in London’s Leicester Square after Italy won the Uefa Euro 2020 Final against England (Aaron Chown/PA)
Debris covers a street in London’s Leicester Square after Italy won the Uefa Euro 2020 Final against England (Aaron Chown/PA)

Once again he condemned the behaviour of what he said was a “minority of people” during a national press conference on Monday evening, telling those racially abusing players to “crawl back under the rock from which you emerged”.

But said: “This is a long and difficult process.

“I’m a veteran of the 2010 scenes in Zurich where we tried to get it last time which didn’t go very well.

“But I do think the UK has a very good case.

“I wouldn’t want to let my hopes run away with me because I do remember what it was like 10 years ago, but we’ll certainly give it our best shot.”

He added: “I think it was a shame that a small minority yesterday tried to spoil it.

“I don’t think they damaged the atmosphere, certainly not in the stadium itself.

“But we will be looking at what happened.

“I think there were particular difficulties in policing and enforcing an event in the context of the testing and the social distancing rules.”

England fans along Wembley Way (Zac Goodwin/PA)
England fans along Wembley Way (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Ireland’s deputy premier Leo Varadkar also remained optimistic about the chances of the joint bid, saying: “I’m 100% behind that bid.

“I’m really encouraged by it and very keen that Ireland should be part of that.

“I think England’s team is a tribute to their nation.

“Unfortunately, some of their supporters are not.

“We saw the violence and the bad behaviour yesterday.”

Mr Varadkar has, along with a number of other politicians including shadow culture secretary MP Jo Stevens, called on social media companies to take action against those posting racist abuse online.

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