Football ‘lost control of cocaine binges’ as Euros violence fuelled by Class As

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Premier League clubs have been warned they must do more to tackle cocaine use at football matches, following the scenes of drug-fuelled violence at last week’s Euro 2020 final.

Wembley was turned into a war zone last Sunday after hundreds of ticketless louts – many high on Class-A drugs – breached security to run riot.

Some 2,500 hooligans high on a mix of cocaine, ketamine and booze were thought to be behind the mayhem.

The scrummage saw Harry Maguire’s dad suffer broken ribs after he was trampled by yobs.

The shocking scenes follow research by the Daily Star Sunday showing just 42 arrests were made for cocaine possession at top flights clubs during the 2019/20 season despite 15 million fans attending games during an average season.

Cocaine binges have been linked to a 45% rise in trouble at grounds in recent years including match day violence, pitch invasions and assaults on players.

Last night critics slammed the Premier League for failing to tackle the problem.

David Spencer, research director at the Centre For Crime Prevention think tank, said: “Football clearly has a cocaine problem and it is comprehensively failing to get on top of the issue – as last weekend’s disgraceful scenes at Wembley proved.

“Cocaine use can fuel violence and hooliganism too and it is imperative that, once fans are allowed back in on a permanent basis, the clubs take their responsibility to police the use of drugs inside stadiums properly.”

Our Freedom of Information requests show not one person was arrested for cocaine possession at Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground across the 2019/20 season, where crowds reach 76,000.

No arrests were made at Manchester City’s 55,000-seater Etihad stadium, nor at Tottenham Hotspur, Wolves or Newcastle.

Police forces covering Arsenal, Burnley, Aston Villa and Norwich, recorded just one arrest a piece.

Officers at Crystal Palace and Southampton recorded two each.

A total of 19 arrests at Everton’s Goodison Park led the table.

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West Ham United were the next highest with seven, Chelsea third with five arrests and champions Liverpool with three.

The figures are a drop in the ocean given the millions of fans who attend Premier League matches each season.

Deputy chief constable Mark Roberts the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for football policing, said: ”We know from the effect cocaine has on people’s behaviour that they may react in a way that can make a situation even more difficult for officers to handle.

“This means having effective policing operations outside grounds. For that to happen, the industry needs to invest a fraction of what it pays agents into security at its venues and the surrounding areas.”

Witnesses spotted fans snorting the drugs in full view of police officers and stewards on Wembley Way and in the stadium last Sunday.

Charlie Perry, 25, was filmed putting a lit flare in his bum after boozing since 8.30am, said he’d “banged a load” of “powder”, before strolling into the final without a ticket.

The fan, from Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, bragged: “There were no rules that day. All I know is that I loved it all. I was off my face and I loved every minute.”

In October last year it was revealed deaths from cocaine had risen by 7.7% among men from 520 to 560 cases and 26.5 per cent among women from 117 to 148.

  • Drugs
  • England Football Team
  • Daily Star Sunday
  • Harry Maguire
  • Premier League
  • Crime

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