Leo Varadkar erupts at English fans – wades into Euro 2020 row amid World Cup bid fears

Leo Varadkar passionately challenged by Doherty in Parliament

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A number of fans without tickets for the Euro 2020 final on Sunday evening breached security barriers and stormed into the national stadium in London. Footage posted on social media showed people being attacked within the stadium concourses. Reports have been circulating of some people without tickets being inside the ground for the entire match, and of ticket-holders being afraid to confront those occupying their seats.

The Metropolitan Police said they arrested 86 people connected to the match, including 53 at Wembley Stadium, for a range of reasons and that 19 officers had been injured as they confronted “volatile” crowds.

There have been suggestions the violent scenes could deal a huge blow to the joint 2030 World Cup bid, but Ireland’s former Prime Minister Leo Varadkar remains fully supportive of it.

He said: “I’m 100% behind that bid. I’m really encouraged by it and very keen that Ireland should be part of that.

“I think England’s team is a tribute to their nation. Unfortunately, some of their supporters are not. We saw the violence and the bad behaviour yesterday.”

Mr Varadkar was also asked if the scenes had made him change his mind over the combined World Cup bid, to which he replied: “I don’t think so, no.

“It’s a minority and I don’t think we should ever try to tar a whole nation or a whole set of fans or support, just based on the behaviour of what I believe was a minority.”

But Ireland’s former Prime Minister launched a stinging attack against a small section of England fans who booed the Italian national anthem shortly before the Euro 2020 final clash.

He said: “We saw something really unfortunate in sport, somebody booing somebody else’s national anthem. That shouldn’t be done.

“I think it’s very disappointing that a number of English fans behaved in the way they did.”

Boris Johnson said the UK will continue with its bid to host the World Cup in 2030 despite the violent scenes seen during Sunday’s showpiece between England and Italy.

During a national press conference on Monday evening, the Prime Minister condemned the actions of what he said was a “minority of people”.

He raged those racially abusing players on social media should “crawl back under the rock from which you emerged”.

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But Mr Johnson insisted the UK and Ireland still have a very, very good case” for staging the World Cup in nine years’ time.

The Prime Minister said: “This is a long and difficult process.

“I’m a veteran of the 2010 scenes in Zurich where we tried to get it last time which didn’t go very well.

“But I do think the UK has a very good case.

“I wouldn’t want to let my hopes run away with me because I do remember what it was like 10 years ago, but we’ll certainly give it our best shot.”

He added: “I think it was a shame that a small minority yesterday tried to spoil it.

“I don’t think they damaged the atmosphere, certainly not in the stadium itself.

“But we will be looking at what happened.

“I think there were particular difficulties in policing and enforcing an event in the context of the testing and the social distancing rules.”

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