Owls’ England band silenced at Euros

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SHEFFIELD Wednesday’s England Supporters Band were prevented from playing for the first time ever during the national side’s opening match against France.

The group started playing at Owls games in 1993 and have performed during England games since 1996, with favourite tunes including the theme from film The Great Escape.

But officials stopped them taking their drums and trumpets into yesterday’s game in Donetsk. No official reason was given.

The band’s sponsor, Pukka Pies, said it will make an official protest to UEFA after the band was refused permission to take their instruments into the Donbass Arena.

The band had travelled 2,500 miles by road to get to Ukraine for the game.

Members were allowed ein once their instruments had been confiscated. The authorities said they would be returned after the final whistle.

A spokesman for Pukka Pies said: “We are going to make an official protest about this matter. 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 has played in more than 65 countries, several World Cup and European tournaments.

Negotiations are set to take place today between The English FA, UEFA and Ukrainian authorities over whether to allow the band’s instruments into England’s next game.

The band had understood they were allowed to play at all games, under an agreement reached before the tournament between the Football Association and Ukranian authorities.

It was the first England fixture in 18 years without the band playing.