England fans raise 'serious concerns' over transport

Fans queue for transport after England's opener against Serbia

England fans have raised "serious concerns" about transport delays at Euro 2024 after some supporters were left stranded for hours following the team's win over Serbia on Sunday.

Fans complained of issues getting to and from the Arena AufSchalke in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, with many missing connecting trains after the game and some instead opting to walk miles to their destination.

Thomas Concannon, spokesperson for the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) England fans’ embassy, said the situation was "completely unacceptable".

“The biggest issue for us is that we were given strong assurances that the transport system would be capable of handling the amount of England fans that were due to arrive," Concannon told BBC Sport.

BBC Sport has contacted Uefa and the tournament organisers for a response.

In a statement, local police thanked fans for their "level-headed behaviour" and said "significant tailbacks" were caused because of the large number of supporters in the area.

If England progress as winners of Group C, they will return to Gelsenkirchen to face their last-16 opponents.

Concannon added that the FSA gave organisers "as much information" as possible in the build-up to England's opening group game, but the plans "didn't live up to" what was promised.

He said: "A lot of fans have raised serious concerns about how they got to the stadium, the lack of transport available, trams arriving already full to the racecourse for example, which was a big place for England fans where they were told to gather. So that is a big problem.

“But also, in Gelsenkirchen, three hours after the game has finished at two o’clock in the morning, it’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s completely unacceptable. And that is purely down to the transport infrastructure put in place."

Transport situation was 'dangerous'

BBC Sport’s Holly Bacon was in Gelsenkirchen as a fan and said the scene outside the ground was one of "chaos", adding there was lots of delayed trains and "confusion over platforms".

"There was no signage or directions and really poor lighting," she added.

The short journey back to the city of Mulheim took Holly two and a half hours, with other supporters not arriving home until 04:00-05:00 local time after missing connections.

"Quite a few people staying in Wuppertal were unable to get back and had to fork out for taxis. Really, really poor organisation," she said.

Andy, who had travelled with his son, said the number of fans travelling back the same way caused significant problems.

"People were walking to stations further down hoping that there might be space on the next train but no-one was getting off," Andy told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"They didn’t want to wait for any more trains, so they just pushed further and further on. It was dangerous, it was poorly managed. There should’ve been a lot more stewarding there."

Fellow Three Lions supporter Jamie added the situation at the final whistle was an "absolute nightmare", saying staff "were just packing people on to the trains".

England head to Frankfurt to face Denmark on Thursday, and then Cologne the following Tuesday to take on Slovenia in their final group game.

Concannon said the FSA will once again speak to local organisers.

“We were always confident coming to Germany that things would go well, so we hope that because of this hiccup it improves," he said.

National rail operator Deutsche Bahn told Reuters it and local operators had worked to increase train capacity.

"Football fans know that as soon as the referee blows his whistle, everyone goes home. It can get crowded on the platform," a spokesperson told the news agency.

Meanwhile, police in Gelsenkirchen say a British national has been arrested after alterations between England and Serbia fans prior to the game.

Videos on social media showed tables, chairs and bottles thrown before riot police arrived, with seven people from Serbia also arrested.