Social media causes security headache at Euro 2024 tournament

by Admin
Social media causes security headache at Euro 2024 tournament

Stunts and photographs posted online are encouraging poor behaviour from fans, from throwing cups at players to trying to take selfies with them on the pitch.


Social media has become a new source of frustration for security at the Euro 2024 football tournament in Germany. 

One German YouTuber even made it onto the field during the championship’s opening ceremony while disguised in a mascot costume.

Marvin Wildhage published a video appearing to show how he entered the Munich stadium in a fake costume and danced on the corner of the field before being led away by a UEFA staff member.

His video reached nearly three million views.

“One new challenge you’ll probably see, or at least a growing trend is people jumping on the pitch to approach their idol to take selfies with them. That’s an old tradition in football, unfortunately, but [there’s] a new increase in this sort of celebratory behaviour because people want to take pictures, post content on social media,” said Ronan Evain, Executive Director of Football Supporters Europe.

UEFA is in charge of security at the stadiums, and has already been forced to deploy additional safety measures, after four fans tried to get selfies with Cristiano Ronaldo on the pitch during Portugal’s 3-0 win over Turkey. More also tried after the game ended in Dortmund.

UEFA declined Euronews’ interview request.

One expert who worked in stadium security for the 2006 World Cup in Germany said that entrances and exits are of particular concern.

“The problem is that these gates are not easy to open so in the event of a mass panic, if hundreds, or even a thousand people try to flee there would certainly be difficulties, problems, injuries or even death. This would need to be reconsidered and my assessment is that in the last 18 years, almost nothing has been done, said Hans-Walter Borries, Director of the Institute for Economic and Security Studies FIRMITAS at the University of Witten.

But experts warn it’s not possible to control the behaviour of fans all the time, particularly as there are no longer fences separating spectators from the pitch. 

“There’s more comfort for the fans close to the pitch, you can enjoy the game better but that obviously creates new security challenges. It’s harder to protect players, so it’s a bonus for fans, for us, to self-police ourselves, to understand that if we want to keep this comfort when we’re in the stadium, we need to respect the pitch,” said Ronan Evain from Football Supporters Europe.

The Euro 2024 tournament runs until Sunday 14 July with the final game taking place in Berlin.

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