MINISTERS are calling for an independent body to take over the FA’s investigation into last week’s chaos at Wembley in light of corruption allegations.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has already called in Mark Bullingham, the FA’s Chief Executive, for crisis talks after reports emerged hooligans bribed matchday officials to let them in during last weekend’s Euro 2020 final.
The minister was forced into action following a Times probe that found multiple security breaches and stewards being paid thousands to let ticketless fans in.
This comes as a row heats up over the UK’s ability to host the 2030 World Cup after thousands of ticketless fans bulldozed through security barriers and personnel during the England-Italy final last Sunday.
The Times’ investigation found six breaches of disabled entrance and exit doors and says it has evidence of more.
There are also claims security were pocketing thousands of pounds to open emergency exit.
The hooligans are reported to have assaulted Italy fans, smuggled in cocaine, and continued their streak of violence long after the match finished.
Trust between Westminster and the footballing body has gotten so frayed that Dowden ordered Bullingham in for emergency talks last Monday.
Dowden wants the FA to hand over control of its investigation of the incident to an independent body, but stopped short of ordering a fully independent inquiry.
One inside source told The Times: “Ministers were deeply concerned and want there to be thorough examination of the decisions made to ensure such shaming scenes are never repeated.
“They think someone independent should review what happened.”
The FA has promised to “carry out a full review and investigation” and highlighted staffing number were higher than what was required for the night.
It also hit out at “people who illegally forced their way into the stadium”.
‘WE’VE JIBBED WEMBEY BEFORE’
Some hooligans entered by tailgating ticket holders through turnstiles while others bribed security staff.
One hooligan, called Dominic, said corruption among matchday officials was so rampant that “jibbers” – people who cunningly acquire an item with the exchange of cash – were shopping around to get the best prices.
“We’ve jibbed Wembley before and thought because of the empty seats there would be no real issue.”
“It’s well known that Wembley is probably the easiest jib in the business,” he continued.
He and a friend were set to pay a steward £150 each to enter but decided to rush through with the crowds instead.
“We approached a few [stewards] outside the ground and one or two came up to us but they wanted too much,” he told The Times.
He said ticketless fans were thrown out of disabled entrances by stewards only to be “left to try [it] again”.
Two 18-year-old stewards from east London have so far been arrested after allegedly advertising their passes on Facebook.
They have both been released under investigation.
This comes as cops released pictures of ten men wanted in connection to the storming of the stadium.
The Met Police issued an appeal for help identifying “those who we think have questions to answer”.
An estimated 5,000 ticketless thugs barged and blagged their way into Wembley Stadium last Sunday in an attempt to watch the game between England and Italy.
Crowds of people were filmed streaming up Wembley’s outer stairwells ahead of the match, which saw England defeated 3-2 in an agonising penalty shootout.
The Met Police said in a statement that after the match “officers began the painstaking process of reviewing hundreds of hours of CCTV and body-worn video content from Wembley Stadium and other key locations”.
It added: “The meticulous investigation will continue to identify further people of interest or indeed other offences which may have occurred.”
Anyone who can identify the people in the released images is urged to contact the police.
Detective Sergeant Matt Simpson, from the Met’s Public Order Crime Team, said: “Following the scenes of disorder both at Wembley Stadium and in central London, we made a commitment that those responsible would face consequences.