Fifa, FA to probe violence, racist incident at Wembley

LONDON • Hungary supporters clashed with police at Wembley as a fan was arrested for racist abuse of a steward during the 2022 World Cup qualifier against England on Tuesday.

Just moments after kick-off, trouble flared among the pocket of around 1,000 Hungarians in one corner of the stadium.

Dozens of Hungary supporters charged at stewards, who were forced to retreat before police wielding batons arrived.

The fighting continued for several minutes before riot police finally restored order in the stands and the stadium concourse.

Police had taken extra security measures in a bid to avoid problems with the Hungarian ultras. But the incident occurred when they moved in to arrest one Hungary fan for a racist comment to a steward.

Hungary's supporters also booed when England players took the knee before kick-off and held up a banner protesting against the anti-racism gesture.

"Shortly after the start of tonight's match at Wembley, officers entered the stand to arrest a spectator for a racially aggravated public order offence following comments made towards a steward," the Metropolitan Police said on their Twitter account.

"As the officers made the arrest, minor disorder broke out involving other spectators.

"Order was quickly restored and there have been no further incidents at this stage."

The English Football Association said it will launch a probe into the incidents. Fifa has also said it is investigating the clashes, including Poland's 1-0 win in Albania, where objects were thrown at the Polish players. It said it has "zero tolerance against such abhorrent behaviour".

It was not the first time Hungary fans had caused problems during their meetings with England in the qualifying campaign.

England's 4-0 win in Budapest last month was marred by racist chants from supporters aimed at Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham. Missiles were also thrown at England's players at the Puskas Arena.

Hungary were ordered to play two Fifa competition home matches behind closed doors, one suspended for two years, following the racist behaviour.

Uefa had already told Hungary to play one game behind closed doors following racist abuse from supporters and homophobic banners in the stands during their Euro 2020 matches in Budapest.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2021, with the headline 'Fifa, FA to probe violence, racist incident at Wembley'. Subscribe