Shropshire Star

Ambulance bosses plead with football fans to keep 'cool heads' tonight following spike in call-outs

West Midlands Ambulance Service bosses are calling for “cool heads”, whatever the result of tonight’s Euro 2024 semi-final between England and the Netherlands.

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The plea follows a near 15 per cent increase in call numbers last Saturday night, after England's quarter-final match against Switzerland.

In the three hours following the final whistle, 999 call handlers took over 700 emergency calls, compared to the 615 that the service would normally expect to see on an average Saturday night.

Ambulance Strategic Commander, Aidan Brown, said: “During other tournaments, particularly at this point, we see a fall in call numbers during the couple of hours before and during the match and then a sharp rise immediately after the end of the game, with fans either ecstatic or upset at the result.

“As with previous games during the tournament, we have increased the number of call handlers we have on duty in our control rooms and will have more ambulances on the streets than we would normally see on a Wednesday night in case we see a similar situation unfold.

“Clearly, we want to see England reach the final on Sunday, but we hope that those watching will be mindful of their own safety so that they don’t get into a position where they need an ambulance."

He said: “Unfortunately, we do see a rise in cases of domestic abuse during big championships such as this. There is increasing evidence pointing to a link between high-profile football matches and cases of domestic violence and abuse, so I would like to remind people that there is help available to anyone who feels they are at risk.”

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He added: “We know emotions can run high at times when the result might not go the way you hope, but it is important people remember that it isn’t acceptable to take your anger out on our staff. We will always take a zero-tolerance approach to abuse of our staff and will work together with the police to secure prosecutions wherever possible.”