London's Metropolitan Police have refuted claims there was a policing failure around the Euro 2020 final at Wembley.
Thousands of ticketless individuals managed to breach the perimeter of the stadium and make their way inside for England's penalty shootout defeat to Italy.
Furthermore, 26 people were arrested at Wembley on Sunday evening, almost half of the 51 arrested in connection with final events across London that day.
Many reports from the stadium claim the police presence was small to non-existent.
However, the Met. Police's Deputy Assistant Commissioner Jane Connors disputes such reports, saying, "I do not accept that the policing operation failed and I standby the difficult decisions made by police officers and the Met’s public order commanders.
"Without their immediate intervention, it is possible that this game could have been abandoned."
UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings into several incidents around Sunday's final, with the ticketless gatecrashers receiving specific attention.
European football's governing body is also looking into disturbances during the Italian anthem, a pitch invasion and fireworks being let off inside Wembley.
The Athletic's Matt Slater told OTB Sports on Tuesday, "Sunday started on Wednesday, it started with Denmark.
"Hundreds got into that game, and word got around, it got around on social media and WhatsApp groups. I suppose there was something quite unique about the circumstances.
"Stewards, FA and Wembley staff ordinarily will say that at any event, just as you will on the tube, you will get people getting in through 'tailgating' [coming in with another person with a ticket through one turnstile].
"What you tend to do then is tend to have a second line of defence, you grab them and you throw them out. Normally at Wembley that's pretty easy because it's a sell-out - where are they going to sit?
"You had 45,000 empty seats at Denmark and 30,000 - in theory - at Germany. Word got round that if you get in you'll be OK."
UK ministers and the FA laid the blame of Sunday's security breaches at the door of the police.
But Connors says their efforts prevented a larger disaster, and that the Police warned match organisers about the problem of ticketless fans.
"Ahead of the final, police commanders deployed one of the most significant and comprehensive policing plans the Met has ever committed to a football match of this scale," she said.
"In Wembley, soon into the day it became clear that a high number of fans were arriving without tickets.
“Police commanders recognised this could result in ticketless fans attempting to get into the stadium, they updated security officials at Wembley of this risk.
"To support the stewarding efforts, further highly trained public order officers were deployed to Wembley Stadium as a precaution.
“Soon after gates opened, the stewarding and outer security perimeter became overwhelmed and fans began pushing through security checks. I want to praise the quick response by police commanders and those brave officers who confronted these subsequent scenes of disorder and violence.
“I am in no doubt that their swift action prevented any further escalation. Frustratingly, 19 of our officers were injured during the course of Sunday's policing operation when confronting volatile crowds."
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