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Sun. May 22nd, 2022

BBC

Hungary fans fought with police in the opening minutes of Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against England at Wembley.

Some of their supporters, totalling almost 1,000, booed as England players took the knee before kick-off.

The Metropolitan Police said “minor disorder” broke out as they arrested a fan for “a racially aggravated public order offence” in relation to comments directed towards a steward.

In a statement, Fifa said it “strongly condemns” the incidents.

Crowd trouble also marred Poland’s World Cup qualifying victory over Albania, with the game suspended for more than 20 minutes after home fans threw objects at the visiting players.

A spokesperson said: “Fifa is currently analysing reports of last night’s Fifa World Cup qualifier matches in order to determine the most appropriate action.

“Fifa strongly condemns the incidents at England v Hungary and Albania v Poland and would like to state that its position remains firm and resolute in rejecting any form of violence as well as any form of discrimination or abuse.

“Fifa has a very clear zero-tolerance stance against such abhorrent behaviour in football.”

On the trouble at Wembley, a Metropolitan Police statement said: “Officers entered the stand to arrest a spectator for a racially aggravated public order offence in relation to comments directed towards a steward.

“As officers made the arrest, minor disorder broke out.”

The game ended 1-1 with John Stones levelling for England after Roland Sallai’s penalty for Hungary.

The Football Association said it would investigate, while there have been calls from anti-discrimination body Fare Network’s executive director Piara Powar to ban Hungary.

England boss Gareth Southgate said he was unaware of the severity of the incidents at the time.

“I’m only hearing this as I’m doing the interviews,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live after the game. “I was aware of a disturbance. It sounds like it was not acceptable but I haven’t seen the detail.”

Hungary fans – many in the black T-shirts of the country’s ultras – clashed with stewards soon after the game started and police arrived, hitting supporters with batons.

Many then climbed over a barrier in response and hit security personnel – with police driven back into the concourse.

There was trouble too when the sides met in Budapest with Hungary ordered to play two matches behind closed doors by Fifa following the racism English players experienced.

By Nwosu Chizoba David

Nwosu Chizoba David is a soccer lover and writer. He is a graduate of Biological Sciences, presently teaching in a secondary in Lagos.

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