Germany v England: Security concerns over Nations League game in Munich
The Football Association is working with police and security services to limit the prospect of disorder during the Nations League game between England and Germany in Munich on 7 June.
The FA is conscious it is on a ‘yellow card’ with European governing body Uefa after a number of incidents at the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy at Wembley last July.
There are concerns further trouble could impact the joint UK and Ireland bid to host Euro 2028.
Following a spate of pitch invasions domestically, the spotlight will be on fans travelling to the game next month.
England supporters have been allocated 3,466 tickets in the away end, but many travelling fans have bought seats in the home section of Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena. The FA also expects some to travel without tickets.
With their game in Budapest against Hungary on 4 June to be played behind closed doors after trouble at Puskas Arena during the European Championships, the trip to Germany three days later will be the first time England are accompanied by significant away support since the initial coronavirus lockdown in March 2020.
Precautionary measures are being taken that will see police travelling from the UK, including spotters and intelligence officers. Additionally, no alcohol will be sold to any fans at the stadium.
England’s Nations League game at Molineux against Italy on 11 June will be played without spectators after the FA was ordered to play one match behind closed doors as a punishment for the unrest at Wembley Stadium during the Euro 2020 final.
The FA was fined £84,560 for “the lack of order and discipline” and threatened with playing a second game behind closed doors if there is a repeat of similar behaviour by England fans over the next two years.
Speaking after announcing his latest squad on Tuesday, England boss Gareth Southgate said everyone travelling abroad should be “good ambassadors for our country” and “leave a good impression”.
But asked if there would be any specific plea for good behaviour before the match, Southgate added: “I doubt they would listen to it really.
“If people are going to cause trouble, it is not going to make a jot of difference what I say.”
The entire allocation for away fans will be designated to registered members of the England Supporters Travel Club (ESTC), whose details are on record, while home tickets can be bought by anyone who is unattached and can provide a German address. Some England fans have been submitting their hotel addresses as their own.
CJ Joiner, an ESTC member of nine years, says the authorities could find it difficult to prevent English fans from sitting in the German section.
“I think it’s just a case of going on to the German FA’s website and buying a ticket,” Joiner told BBC Sport. “You might have to put a German address down but the tickets are downloadable so they are not sent to that address.
“I don’t know if there is any way of an English person being stopped from buying a ticket. I would just hope that everybody that does get in the home end behaves respectably and there is no trouble.”
‘Both sets of supporters were exemplary’
England’s game in Munich comes a day after the 78th anniversary of the D-Day landings in World War Two, but Joiner says the rivalry between the two sets of fans is “not as bad” as some think.
“There is a bit of banter and there is some animosity, but there always is going to be when two sets of supporters get together,” he added.
“Generally speaking, fans will be able to stand there side by side in the pub or in the ground and you won’t see any problems.”
England ended a 55-year wait for a knockout win over Germany in their last-16 tie at Euro 2020 but Joiner – one of the 42,000 fans in attendance at Wembley – says the behaviour of both sets of fans was “exemplary”.
Asked if he experienced any disorder in or around the stadium, he said: “Absolutely nothing.
“We had the issues in the final [against Italy] and similar scenes at the start of the semi-final [against Denmark], but in that game both sets of supporters were very well behaved.
“They were drinking together outside and there were plenty of German fans outside of their [seated] section. They sang their national anthem and there were no problems whatsoever. I was proud to be a football fan and to be English on that day.”
Germany out for revenge in fans’ match
While the spotlight may be on some fans for the wrong reasons, there will also be lots of good-natured activity in Germany.
England Fans FC will be facing their German counterparts in a friendly, as they did when the two sides met in the Euros.
Around 200 spectators watched England win on penalties that day and centre-back Paul Robinson from Swindon says the players do not shirk a tackle but enjoy sharing a drink together after the game.
“It was competitive and both teams wanted to win,” Robinson told BBC Sport. “It was a really good game and it is always good to win, especially in a penalty shootout, with the history between England and Germany.
“It can get a bit heated and you may get the odd bad tackle, as in any game, but you get on and all mix together afterwards. We have a photo together and share a drink so it is a really good day.”