Biggest security operation in Wembley history planned for Champions League final

Biggest security operation in Wembley history planned for Champions League final

Wembley Stadium will have the biggest stewarding operation in its history in place on Saturday to ensure the Champions League final avoids a repeat of the chaotic scenes that has marred it in the past.

The previous two Champions League finals in Paris and Istanbul both encountered trouble for fans, while the Euro 2020 final at Wembley three years ago also suffered from mass disorder.

The scenes at the Euro 2020 final prompted a review by Baroness Casey and the Football Association insists lessons have been learned.

The FA and UEFA have worked together to ensure there is no repeat of those scenes this weekend when Borussia Dortmund take on Real Madrid at Wembley.

More than 2,500 stewards will be working - the highest amount in Wembley’s history - and there will be a significant policing operation inside and outside the stadium.

Since the Euro 2020 final, £5million has been invested to improve the safety and security infrastructure at Wembley. Those enhancements include strengthened doors and new fences, while stewards also have an increased number of body cams.

A new control room has been setup and it can monitor ‘Zone X’ - the area outside of Wembley. It means security staff can track the movements of fans outside the ground in case trouble is brewing.

Wembley has been building up to hosting Saturday’s final by testing measures at games this year, with last weekend’s FA Cup final between Manchester City and Manchester United seeing all of those in place.

Fans on Saturday will have their tickets checked twice before reaching the turnstiles, which will open four hours before kick-off.

Usually they are open two hours before the game starts, but this has been increased and there will be food and drink incentives inside the stadium for those who arrive early.

Fan zones have been set up in London for supporters of both clubs, with Dortmund’s in Hyde Park and Real Madrid’s by Victoria Embankment.

“What I will say is, I can’t sit here and say when you watch the Netflix documentary, you can’t help but feel incredibly sad that was not the day that was fair or right for many people - be it the staff working here, the fans that genuinely had tickets,” said Chris Bryant, The FA’s Tournaments, Events and Interim Stadium Director.

“It was a very difficult and disappointing day, and it was not the way that I think we deserved to end the tournament.

“A massive amount of work has gone into this with the staff and this team and stakeholders, and I think that is why we have got is much buy-in.

“I think everyone does see this as an event of national significance. It is a chance to sort of prove and show that London is fantastic at delivering big events.

“Wembley is a home for big football matches - we do this very well - and we hope to prove that on Saturday yet again.

“We can only control what we can control and do everything we can to ensure we are in the best place. I feel like we have really done that this time around.”