Hungarian fans clashed with police at Wembley as a fan was arrested for racist abuse by a steward during Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against England.
England coach Gareth Southgate called the awful clashes “unacceptable”, while England defender Tyrone Mings called for tougher penalties for racism in football.
Moments after kick-off, trouble broke out in the pocket of around 1,000 Hungarians in a corner of Wembley.
Dozens of Hungarian supporters charged stewards, who were forced to retreat before police arrived wielding batons.
The fighting continued for several minutes before riot police finally restored order to the stands and the stadium hall.
The incident happened when police intervened to arrest a Hungarian fan for a racist comment to a steward.
Hungarian fans also booed when the England players took a knee before kick-off and held up a banner to protest the anti-racism gesture.
“I was aware of a disruption. It looks like it wasn’t acceptable but I haven’t seen the details,” Southgate said.
Mings added: “Whenever we talk about racial abuse, the punishments that follow never seem to be consistent with what happened.
“I sincerely hope that if this is the case, the sanctions will be in line with what happened this time.”
Hungarian coach Marco Rossi refused to condemn the fans, saying: “I don’t want to comment on this situation.
“It is not my task. Anything I say could be interpreted differently, so I prefer not to comment.”
The Metropolitan Police confirmed the arrest on their Twitter account
“Shortly after the start of tonight’s game at Wembley, officers entered the stand to arrest a spectator for a racially aggravated public order offense following comments made to a steward,” reads a statement.
“As the officers made the arrest, minor disturbances broke out involving other onlookers. Order was quickly restored and there have been no further incidents at this stage.”
The English Football Association said it would report the incident to FIFA and launch its own investigation.
“We will investigate and report the incident to FIFA,” a statement from the FA said.
It was not the first time that Hungarian supporters caused problems during their meetings with England during the qualifying campaign.
England’s 4-0 victory in Budapest in September was marred by racist chants from the Hungarians targeting Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham.
Missiles were also launched at the England players at the Puskas Arena.
Hungary have been ordered to play two competitive FIFA matches at home behind closed doors, including one suspended for two years, over racist behaviour.
UEFA had previously told Hungary to play a game behind closed doors following racist abuse by fans and homophobic banners in the stands during their Euro 2020 fixtures in Budapest.
Wembley had also been the scene of crowd disorder just months ago when England’s loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final was marred by ticketless fans storming the gates to enter.
Thousands of fans made it through Wembley’s understaffed security cordon ahead of the final, while drunken supporters wreaked havoc outside the stadium hours before kick-off.
© 2021 AFP