Amid the increased and stringent security measures at Wembley, NFL fans still enjoyed a wonderful carnival atmosphere on Sunday with bars, streets and the tailgate all rammed under the baking autumnal sun before the Baltimore Ravens faced the Jacksonville Jaguars. Security has been tightened further at Wembley after the recent terrorist attacks in Manchester and London, including one nine days ago at Parsons Green underground station . There was a strong and obvious security and police presence at the stadium ahead of the game, but it did not detract from the enjoyment of supporters. When walking out from Wembley station, supporters were greeted by numerous police officers and newly laid stone barriers had been stationed at the top of Wembley Way — cloaked in a rather fetching green-turf covering — while police vans blocked off either end of Engineers Way. The Baltimore Ravens’ band take a walk through the huge crowds here at Wembley . Not only do they have to hold on to their instruments, but also dodge the flying footballs which are peppering the air.
0:19 The league’s clear-bag policy was implemented with supporters holding their belongings in transparent plastic bags, with small purses permitted in the stadium . Ravens-Jaguars is the first of four NFL games to be held in London before the end of October, with one more at Wembley and two at Twickenham, the home of England’s rugby team.
“We have not been advised of any threats to our games or events,” read a statement from NFL UK. “We have been and will continue to work in close coordination with law enforcement and intelligence personnel in both countries, along with our teams, our security staffs and outside specialists to ensure the safety of our events. “We will constantly be reviewing the issue in the days and weeks leading up to our games . We have played 17 regular-season games to date safely and successfully in the UK and look forward to four great games in London this season.”
Fans who had flocked to the game were also subject to being scanned with hand-held metal detectors, while police, bomb-sniffing dogs — with their handlers flown over from America — and security walked among the fans as they enjoyed the official tailgate party and various other sideshows for the event. It was all part of the enhanced security operation implemented by the Football Association, who own and run Wembley, and they also recommended to supporters they should arrive as early as possible to avoid being held up by the various security measures at Wembley. Huge queues at the Tailgate with bag searches and thorough security causing one almighty queue . Everyone in good spirits with all manner of shirts on display with Ravens and Patriots’ jerseys seemingly the most popular.
The staff were reminded of their need to prioritise the security of supporters in a handbook they received when they arrived for work at Wembley . Called the “Teammate Playbook,” it includes a line saying: “I make safety a non-negotiable.” One Ravens fan, who had travelled to London for the first time to watch her team in action, said she was loving her time in London and vowed to come back again in the future, and was appreciative of the security measures in place. The Maryland flag has made its way to London’s Wembley Stadium . More and more Ravens fans are filing into the stadium.
The 1-1 Jaguars are playing their fifth game at Wembley, where they have a 2-2 record . The Ravens are playing outside of the U.S . for the first time.
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