England could be forced to play without fans as UEFA investigates Euro 2020 final chaos
The punishment could affect their Nations League games next year
Not only have the FA been charged on four counts following the chaos that ensued during and after the final against Italy, but England could also be handed a stadium ban by UEFA, meaning the Three Lions will have to once again play without fans for one or more of their Nations League games.
In addition to fines issued following the semi-final against Denmark, this would be a third lot of punishment dished out by the governing body in a week. The FA now faces an anxious wait to see what UEFA's ethics and disciplinary committee makes of fan conduct, stadium and Covid breaches this past Sunday at Wembley.
UEFA have said that its investigation pertains to “events involving supporters which occurred inside and around the stadium”, as footage of fans breaking their way in and scrapping in the concourse, as well as outside the stadium, circulated on social media.
It is understood that hundreds of people without tickets succeeding in entering the stadium and that other offences included: invading the pitch, throwing of projectiles, booing of the Italian national anthem - despite Gareth Southgate's wishes - and the lighting of a firework inside the ground.
Although a stadium ban for fans would be a more severe decision, the chaotic scenes on Sunday, understandably, aren't working in England's favour. Should England be forced to play in front of empty stands, this would mean that at least one of their next European matches would be played without fans - i.e. one or more of their 2022-23 Nations League games.
While their World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Hungary this autumn would be unaffected - coming under the governance of FIFA - this is still not a good omen.
Just this month, UEFA ordered Hungary to play two games behind closed doors over racist and homophobic behaviour from fans, as well as pay a €100,000 (£85,500) fine in the Euro 2020 group stages. It remains to be seen whether they will act with the same conviction regarding England fans, a section of which have also been involved in online racial abuse. We will have to wait and see.