“Three Lions” singer Frank Skinner said UEFA had opposed plans for him and David Baddiel to perform their popular song before Sunday’s European Championship final between England and Italy at Wembley.
The hit song, released in 1996, has been revived in recent years as England’s footballing performances have improved, moving up the charts as fans began chanting the lyrics when Gareth Southgate’s squad stormed into the 2018 World Cup semi-finals.
The catchy “Football’s Coming Home” verse has become the de facto anthem for English fans, and Skinner said there was a suggestion he perform at Wembley before the final.
“UEFA said it was too partisan and not fair to the Italians to have that,” Skinner was quoted as saying by Sky Sports on British talk show ‘The Last Leg’.
“In the opening game, which was Italy versus Turkey, (Italian opera tenor) Andrea Bocelli sang ‘Nessun Dorma’ before the game.”
Europe’s soccer governing body UEFA confirmed they had received a request on Friday but refused as the programme for the closing ceremony had already been finalised.
“No additional elements can be integrated at this stage due to the very tight countdown schedule and operational complexities ahead of the kick-off,” a UEFA spokesperson told Reuters via email.
“The song ‘Three Lions’… is the fan song selected by the English Football Association, and will be played during the players’ warm-up, as has been the case for England’s previous matches.”