Wembley to ramp up security operation for Champions League final

<span><a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Borussia Dortmund;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Borussia Dortmund</a> and <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Real Madrid;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Real Madrid</a> each have an allocation of 25,000 tickets.</span><span>Photograph: Michael Regan/Uefa/Getty Images</span>

Wembley will implement its biggest security operation for the ­Champions League final on Saturday in an effort to avoid any repeat of the chaos that has surrounded recent showpiece events at home and abroad.

More than 2,500 stewards will oversee crowds attending the match between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, while a £5m investment in beefed-up infrastructure is intended to ensure the scenes that marred the Euro 2020 final at the national stadium remain consigned to the past.

Related: Ticketless fans storm Wembley for Euro 2020 final – video timeline

A review into the disorder that unfolded three years ago found that more than 2,000 people gained access to the national stadium ­without ­tickets, with a further 6,000 outside waiting to charge the gates in the event that England defeated Italy.

With the 2022 Champions League final in Paris having been brought to the brink of disaster by organisational failures, and the event in ­Istanbul last year also being heavily criticised, there is pressure on Uefa and local authorities to hold a trouble-free event this time.

“It’s vital we deliver and do every­thing we can control in the best ­possible way,” said the FA’s tournaments, events and interim stadium director, Chris Bryant.

“We want this event to be as successful as possible for every reason, not least for the fans and the event in itself, but we know a lot of people will think about the [Euro 2020] final as well. We are in a really good place, we’ve been ­planning in detail for 18 months.”

Those measures have included a strengthening of all Wembley’s doors, with a further lock system added. Some supporters attempted to rip emergency exit doors open during the dangerous scenes in July 2021, which were detailed recently in a Netflix documentary.

New gates and peri­meter fencing have also been erected while a “Zone X” control room will monitor movement in areas outside the stadium. Stewards will be fitted with extra body cameras and there is an expectation the digital ticketing implemented by Uefa will deter touts.

Fans will face two checks, the first at the stadium’s outer secure peri­meter, before presenting their tickets for entry. ­Organisers have received intelligence that a number of ticketless Dortmund supporters may arrive in London for the occasion, although not in a quantity that currently poses concern; confidence is high that the plan to ensure only ticketed visitors approach the stadium is robust.

Dortmund fans will have access to a 20,000‑­capacity fan park in Hyde Park before the game, while those from Real may use a ­facility on Victoria ­Embankment housing 13,600. Should the demand materialise, screens in those locations may be used to broadcast the final to supporters without ­tickets. Each team was given an allocation of 25,000 tickets for the ­86,600‑capacity stadium.

Related: Uefa had ‘primary responsibility’ for Champions League final chaos, damning report finds

Asked about Uefa’s involvement in light of the mayhem over which it has previously presided, Bryant said the parties have a “very good ­working relationship”, adding: “We’ve worked with them a lot in the past in terms of the Euro finals and the women’s Euros as well.

“Between ourselves and Uefa, we absolutely have embraced the learnings and lessons from Paris in the delivery of this event. That is clear. We embedded that into our planning and our thought process.”

Bryant described the events at Euro 2020 as “incredibly sad” and emphasised that Saturday should leave a positive legacy. “It was a ­difficult and disappointing day,” he said. “It wasn’t the way we deserved to end the tournament.

“A massive amount of work has gone into this, an event of national significance and a chance to show London is fantastic at delivering big events.”