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Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte will do battle in front of up to 94,000 fans at Wembley Stadium on Saturday Show caption Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte will do battle in front of up to 94,000 fans at Wembley Stadium on Saturday. Photograph: Mikey Williams/Top Rank/Getty Images
Boxing
  • Dogs will aid search for drugs on fans for heavyweight bout
  • Organisers keen to avoid scenes that blighted Euro 2020 final

Substantial numbers of sniffer dogs to search for cocaine among fans will be part of a beefed-up security plan for Saturday night’s WBC heavyweight title fight between Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte.

There will also be a “significant number” of police stationed inside and outside the stadium, along with security staff and stewards, in an attempt to avoid the drug- and drink-fuelled violence that marred the Euro 2020 final.

Up to 94,000 are expected to attend the fight, making it the largest boxing event staged in Britain, and the biggest test for Wembley since England’s match with Italy last summer.

Organisers have drawn up what they are calling an enhanced security plan, which includes “high numbers” of search dogs and handlers patrolling all areas approaching the stadium and a larger police presence. Fans have been warned that anyone drinking on Olympic Way, the route which leads to the venue, and the surrounding streets will be asked to hand over their alcohol.

Wembley has confirmed that more security will be in place than for Anthony Joshua’s two fights at the national stadium in 2017 and 2018. The expectation is that the enhanced police and security presence will help set the tone for the night and provide a safe and enjoyable environment for everyone attending.

The measures are also a response, in part, to Louise Casey’s report on the trouble at the Euro 2020 final, which found there was “collective failure” to see the dangers of fans, influenced by alcohol and drugs, going on the rampage.

“Our team of role models were in our first major final for 55 years,” said Lady Casey in December. “However, they were let down by a horde of ticketless, drunken and drugged-up thugs who chose to abuse innocent, vulnerable and disabled people, as well as police officers, volunteers and Wembley staff.”

The Metropolitan police made 51 arrests connected to the final, 26 of which were made at Wembley, and says its investigation is ongoing.

The growing use of cocaine among fans at British sporting events has also led to the UK’s head of football policing, Mark Roberts, to warn it was fuelling an escalation in antisocial behaviour – and should be punished by a ban from all games.

Robert Smith, the general secretary of the British Boxing Board of Control, said he was confident the enhanced security measures would make Saturday’s event safe for fans. “From what I understand from the meetings we’ve had with Wembley security and personnel, they’ve beefed it all up a little bit since the Euros when they were caught unawares,” he said.

“We’re not being blase but we’ve done Wembley before and we haven’t had many problems. Obviously, we’re always very wary with regard to any event. Anything can happen. But, at the present time, everybody seems satisfied with what is in place.”

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