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Wembley will no longer light up to mark terror attacks and social causes | UK News

The Wembley Stadium arch will no longer be lit to show solidarity with countries in the wake of terror attacks and natural disasters.

It follows criticism for not illuminating the landmark in the colours of the Israeli flag after the Hamas atrocities.

The arch will now only light in colours directly linked to the stadium’s use as a sport and entertainment venue, Sky News understands.

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FA branded ‘spineless’ after not lighting arch in Israeli colours

It is understood the arch will also no longer be used to highlight inclusion and diversity campaigns – in recent years, it has been lit in rainbow colours to support LGBTQ+ rights.

This removes the expectation the arch will be lit – and the need for the Football Association to assess sometimes complex geopolitical situations.

The arch could still be lit to mark the deaths of national figures such as a former England player or a monarch, as it was following the death of the Queen last year.

Over the years, the Wembley arch has adopted the colours of the flags of countries including France, Turkey and Ukraine within days of attacks.

But the FA decided not to light it in the blue and white of Israel after the Hamas massacres on a string of kibbutzim close to the Gaza border and a large outdoor music festival on 7 October.

The wave of attacks in southern Israel killed about 1,200 – the deadliest day of attacks against Jewish people since the Holocaust – and approximately 240 hostages were taken into Gaza.

But the unprecedented attack prompted Israel to launch a war to eradicate Hamas – killing thousands in Gaza with concerns about the high number of civilian fatalities.

Read more from Sky News:
Israel and Hamas agree to pause fighting

Actress fired from new Scream movie over Israel-Gaza posts

The Wembley Stadium arch illuminated in support of France after the 2015 Paris attacks Pic: AP
The Wembley Stadium arch illuminated in support of France after the 2015 Paris attacks Pic: AP

Against that backdrop – and an outpouring of pro-Palestinian activism within England and among footballers – the FA opted against a show of solidarity with Israel at Wembley.

Instead, the FA decided on a silence to “remember the innocent victims of the devastating events in Israel and Palestine” ahead of a men’s international last month between England and Australia at Wembley.

The lack of “specific tribute” to Israel led to the resignation of the chair of the FA’s Faith in Football network, Rabbi Alex Goldberg.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said: “I recognise that our decision caused hurt to the Jewish community who felt that we should have lit the arch and that we should have shown stronger support for them.

“This was one of the hardest decisions we’ve had to make, and the last thing we ever wanted to do in this situation was to add to the hurt.

“We aren’t asking for everyone to agree with our decision, but to understand how we reached it.”

The Daily Telegraph first reported that the FA board ratified the new policy, which means the FA cannot be accused of taking sides on conflicts by no longer lighting the arc in relation to geopolitical issues or national tragedies.

The FA will still back causes such as Rainbow Laces even if the arch will not be part of the activism.

‘Highly visible policing presence’ at Wembley for England match against Italy after Brussels shooting | UK News

A “highly visible policing presence” will be in operation at Wembley for England’s match against Italy this evening following the Brussels shooting.

The Metropolitan Police said: “Given the events yesterday in Brussels, those attending the match can be reassured that they will see a highly visible policing presence.

“Officers are there to ensure the event passes off safely and provide reassurance to those attending.”

The decision comes after a suspected gunman killed two people before an international football match in the Belgian capital.

The shooting caused Belgium’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Sweden to be abandoned at half-time.

Fans were also kept in the stadium as armed officers searched for the suspected attacker.

Police shot dead the suspect this morning, named by Belgian media as Abdesalem L – a 45-year-old Tunisian national.

Superintendent Gerry Parker, match commander for tonight’s game, said: “We have been working with our partners, including the FA, in the weeks leading up to this match to ensure those attending the Wembley area enjoy this match.

“Our officers are experienced in dealing with large-scale public order events, and a flexible plan is in place to reduce the likelihood of crime and disorder, and provide a timely response to any emerging incidents.

“Please ensure you arrive in good time for the match and remain vigilant throughout; if you see anything suspicious then flag it an officer or one of the match stewards immediately so the necessary action can be taken.”

Four arrested after 100 football fans descend on Wembley pub and assault customers | UK News

Four people have been arrested after around 100 football fans descended on a pub in Wembley and started assaulting customers.

Although several members of the group were wearing England hats and scarves, it is believed they were German fans, the Metropolitan Police said.

The force said the group entered the beer garden at the pub, believed to be the Green Man Pub, and began assaulting people who had gathered in the area to attend the England vs Germany match today.

It said punches were thrown along with projectiles including traffic cones.

Officers responded and the group fled.

Footage on social media shows a scuffle break out in the pub’s beer garden.

The Met said the disorder lasted for around two minutes.

Several people were injured, sustaining head and facial injuries.

Three were left with serious leg, wrist and thumb injuries. None of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening.

Four people have been arrested in relation to the disorder so far, the Met said.

The match between England and Germany was a 3-3 draw.