England supporters who engage in sick chanting are finally facing serious action after the Football Association moved to ban those who brought more shame on the nation during their friendly against Germany.
The FA’s patience with the Three Lions fan base snapped following the singing that marred Wednesday night’s game in Dortmund, which took place hours after Britain suffered its worst terrorist attack in more than a decade.
Nine months after England were almost thrown out of the European Championship for rioting in Marseille, supporters ignored repeated warnings to ditch the odious chanting for which they have also become notorious by performing the song ‘10 German bombers’ in front of what was a television audience of millions.
The chant, which mocks German casualties during the Second World War, prompted widespread condemnation on social media from people still reeling from the earlier terror attack on the Houses of Parliament.
Those involved are facing being thrown out of the England Supporters Travel Club and even being hit with a Football Banning Order.
Sure it's just a coincidence that the England fans were doing the actions to the 10 German bombers song during the German national anthem. pic.twitter.com/uiYHBzwDD1
— Archie Rhind-Tutt (@archiert1) March 22, 2017
The FA, which could itself face action from Fifa if the chants are deemed discriminatory, was liaising with the UK Football Policing Unit and actively reviewing video footage to identify anyone guilty of anti-social behaviour.
FA chairman Greg Clarke said: “The behaviour of a section of the England support in Dortmund was inappropriate, disrespectful and disappointing.
“The FA has consistently urged supporters to show respect and not to chant songs that could be regarded as insulting to others. Individuals who engage in such behaviour do not represent the overwhelming majority of England fans nor the values and identity we should aspire to as a football nation.
“We are working with the England Supporters Travel Club and speaking with the Football Supporters’ Federation to come together to address this issue.
“Everyone involved in the game has a responsibility to ensure that attending a football match is a safe and enjoyable experience for all.”
Supporters were also condemned on social media for mimicking bombers during the German national anthem and for jeering it, while their conduct was branded “embarrassing” by former England Striker Stand Collymore.
Their behaviour was criticised by the former chairman of the Bomber Command Association, Malcolm White, a veteran of conflicts in the Falklands, Belize and the former Yugoslavia.
The 64 year-old, who spent half of his Royal Air Force career in Germany, told The Daily Telegraph: “We just don’t need this sort of stuff. I just don’t get it, it’s unhelpful, it’s not right.”
He added: “It’s divisive and it adds nothing to the understanding of the generations that are following us about exactly what went on and why it went on.
“It saddens me deeply and I don’t see why it should be perpetuated, frankly. I don’t know what the culture is that enables some of the folk who turn up to watch football to be acting that way.
“It’s very unhelpful when you get into jingoistic-type comments. Maybe the football audience could be slightly more thoughtful.”
White said Wednesday’s terrorist attack in Westminster should have reinforced the message that “we live in a very complex world”.
The FA is planning to confirm how it will pay tribute to the victims of Wednesday’s attack during Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.
The Wembley arch was lit red, white and blue on Thursday night as a mark of respect to those who died and the injured.
The FA confirmed there will be an “enhanced security operation” for Sunday’s game “to ensure a safe and secure environment for spectators”.
It added: “All supporters are encouraged to arrive as early as possible to avoid any delays in entering the stadium.”
The Metropolitan Police said “an appropriate policing plan will be in place” for the match but did not confirm whether that would include armed officers, who had been deployed for England’s November 2015 friendly against France following that month’s Paris attacks.
Neither did the Met reveal its plans for the upcoming Boat Race or London Marathon, while other forces did not respond to requests for comment about the policing of other imminent major sporting events, including the Grand National.
A spokesperson for the race said: “We work very closely with the police and safety is always a top priority at our events.”
The English Football League, meanwhile, has announced a minute’s silence will be held ahead of all of this weekend’s League One and Two fixtures.
Charlton Athletic also paid tribute to the policeman who was killed during the attack in Westminster, PC Keith Palmer, who was a season-ticket holder at the Valley.
— Charlton Athletic FC (@CAFCofficial) March 23, 2017
The club placed a red and white scarf on his seat in the East Stand, which they said would remain until their next home game on April 4 while they discussed ways to commemorate his life.
The club said: “Keith was a true hero who will be greatly missed by all the Charlton family and everyone at the club would like to offer their sincere condolences to his family and friends at this extremely difficult time.”