SPONSORS Pukka Pies are to make an official protest to UEFA after the England band - featuring Sheffield Wednesday fans - was refused entry into tonight’s Euro 2012 encounter with France in Donetsk, writes Graham Walker.
The band have travelled 2,500 miles by road to get to Ukraine for tonight’s game.
But despite assurances from the Football Association and UEFA, the band were not allowed to bring their instruments into the Donbass Arena.
The England band have been a feature of Three Lions games for the past two decades and estimate they have been present for over 300 consecutive matches.
Tonight is the first time they have been refused entry to a game and no reason was given for the decision.
The band were allowed entry once their instruments had been confiscated and the authorities said they will be returned after the final whistle.
“We are going to make an official protest about this matter,” said a spokesman for Pukka Pies, who are sponsors of the band.
“There were no grounds for taking this disgraceful action, which is over-zealous in the extreme.
“Needless to say, we intend the band to be back in its rightful place by the time we get to Kiev for the Sweden game on Friday.”
The England Band play in support of the England football team at home and away and have done since 1996.
Formed in 1993 at their club, Sheffield Wednesday, they were selected to play for England three years later and have followed the national team at home and away ever since.
The incredible journey the band has taken includes visiting more than 65 different countries, several World Cup and European tournaments and all the classic England games of recent times.
Driven by the passion and pride that all England fans feel, the England Band have an overwhelming desire, together with the fans, to create the best support in the world.
Although unpopular amongst many rival fans they have released several records and have been invited to regularly attend England matches.