England fans issued safety warning for Italy clash after Naples troubles
The Football Association (FA) has issued England fans a safety warning ahead of the Three Lions’ Euro 2024 qualifier with Italy. It comes following recent fan trouble in Naples.
England expect thousands of their fans to travel to Italy for the fixture at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. But The FA has warned supporters that authorities could confiscate their belts as fans pass through the police ticket checkpoints amid wider safety concerns.
Italian police are on high alert following recent trouble in Naples when Eintracht Frankfurt visited Napoli in the Champions League. Fans of the Bundesliga and Serie A sides clashed outside the stadium despite local authorities banning away supporters from attending.
The FA warns England fans against wearing belts to the Euro 2024 qualifier vs Italy
England visit Italy for their opening qualifying fixture for Euro 2024 on Thursday, March 23. It is the third meeting between the two nations in less than a year. They played a 0-0 draw and a 1-0 Azzurri win in the Nations League. Italy edged the San Siro affair in September.
Thursday’s game is also England’s first since Gareth Southgate’s squad exited the World Cup to France in the quarter-finals. It also throws up a repeat of the Euro 2020 final, which Italy won on penalties at Wembley. That match was also tarnished by fan disturbances.
So, the FA has emailed the 2,500 England fans who have purchased tickets for their Euro 2024 qualifier in Italy warning them against wearing belts to the stadium. Fears over fan safety in the city of Naples are high given the historical rivalry between the two nations.
“Some supporters who have attended a fixture here as an away supporter have had their belts removed and not returned upon entry into the stadium,” The FA’s email read, as seen by The Times. “We would advise that you do not wear a belt where possible.”
What plans do the England Supporters Travel Club and Naples police have?
The Times adds that England fans have also been informed that phone chargers are also a banned item and could be confiscated. It is a potential issue for any travelling supporters with Italian authorities only allowing electronic tickets with no ticket collection points.
To avoid a potential problem at the gates, the England Supporters Travel Club (ESTC) will have portable chargers available. Naples police have also provided 23 free buses for ESTC members. The buses will take England fans from the port area to the stadium and back.
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