Darren Abela, the Maltese youth with autism who was dragged out of Wembley Stadium on Wednesday night soon after making a complaint, has sent an open letter to Wembley Stadium explaining his devastation due to the “undeserved mistreatment” he suffered at the hands of the stewards.
The 23-year-old Inter super-fan has also provided the exact time and location of the incident, and requested CCTV footage be found to show exactly how his ejection occurred.
Below is Darren’s letter in full.
I attended the Spurs vs Inter game yesterday at Wembley stadium. I’m an avid Inter fan and chose to visit London for the first time to fulfil my wish of seeing my favourite team live at what is known to be one of the most influential venues for sport.
I was excited to be welcomed at Wembley and fulfil my lifelong dream of seeing Inter live.
Unfortunately, an incident at your venue completely deterred what was meant to be a great evening of sport. 25-30 minutes into the game, the view from my seat was obstructed by other fans who decided to stand on top of the block away from their assigned seats.
Seeing as no security stopped them, I called to a steward to request assistance on the matter. In the midst of this confusion I yelled to call out his attention fearful of leaving my seat, which may have been heated in the moment however was a far cry from anything even remotely violent or dangerous in any capacity.
The security guard I had called on for help called me over to speak about what I presumed was the situation with the other fans violating the stadium’s regulations. Instead, the security guard accused me of “spitting”, and claimed that this was good enough reason to be ejected from the ground for my “spitting” offence.
Confused by the situation, I left my jacket behind which contained keys to my cousin’s house when escorted out of the venue. Upon realising this, I asked that I return to collect my jacket which possessed my keys to return home and my only source of warmth on a freezing cold November evening.
This request was refused and I was instead informed that I should consider myself lucky that the police were not being involved in this offence. There was no room for discussion, further explanation or an illustration of a rule that stipulated that visitors are not allowed to spit whilst talking.
I’m autistic. Football, and particularly Inter, are everything to me.
I’m very passionate about this. More importantly, I’m an avid advocate for the positive sport culture that allows for an inclusive community to experience, share and enjoy their passions.
There are no words to describe how devastated I am by the attitude and personnel I encountered.
There aren’t enough words to describe how mistreated I was by your staff. By all accounts, you left an autistic tourist – who worked hard to save up for this once in a lifetime trip – out in the cold without a jacket and a way of getting home for no rational reason.
I was sitting in Block 113, Seat 46, Row 39.
I request that you to check the footage on your CCTV cameras as soon as possible to ensure that the above has indeed taken place and provide me with reasonable compensation and damages to be paid out to me for the undeserved mistreatment I experienced during my visit. Hear from you shortly.
Darren Abela was forced to leave his jacket and keys behind in Wembley Stadium when, around a third of the way into an Inter vs Tottenham Spurs Champion’s League match, he was ejected from the Stadium
The steward that kicked him out said he had been spitting, which Darren denies. He had initially contacted the steward to complain about people standing in front of his row, blocking his row’s view.
Darren’s mother and brother have both expressed their frustration and sadness over the incident, and the Maltese football and general community have expressed their support for the Maltese youth who is still in London.