Hungary fan arrested at match against England on suspicion of racially abusing steward

Hungary fans clash with police officers in the stands. Credit: PA

Hungary fans clashed with police inside Wembley at a match against England as officers attempted to arrest a spectator for racially abusing a steward.

During the World Cup qualifier on Tuesday, the Metropolitan Police released a statement saying: “Shortly after the start of the match, officers entered the stand to arrest a spectator for a racially aggravated public order offence in relation to comments directed towards a steward. “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 Football Association said it would be investigating the incident, in addition to reporting it to international governing body FIFA.

Footage from inside the stadium showed police using their batons against fans in the Hungarian end of the stadium after some supporters were reportedly seen kicking at officers, who eventually retreated.

In a statement, the FA wrote: "We are aware of an incident in the away section during tonight's FIFA 2022 World Cup Qualifier at Wembley Stadium. We will be investigating and will report the incident to FIFA."

The majority of Hungary fans in their corner of Wembley jeered as the England players took the knee before kick-off in their collective stance against racism.

They were also making gestures towards the England supporters on the other side of the division.

Last month’s meeting between the sides in Budapest was marred by monkey chants aimed at Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham. FIFA ordered Hungary to play two home FIFA competition matches behind closed doors, one suspended for two years, following racist behaviour by supporters.

Hungary fans booed as England players took the knee before kick-off.

Tuesday had started in respectful fashion as Wembley stood and applauded in remembrance of England greats Roger Hunt and Jimmy Greaves. But the mood soon changed and England fans booed the scenes unfolding in the away section, with attention turning to on-field matters in the ninth minute. Jack Grealish and Luke Shaw combined superbly before the latter fired in a low cross that Harry Kane looked set to turn in beforer Zsolt Nagy’s timely challenge. Hungary looked ready to break on the counter against the out-of-sync hosts, who fell behind for the first time in this qualification campaign in the 24th minute. Referee Alejandro Hernandez awarded a penalty after Luke Shaw caught Loic Nego with a high boot. Sallai sent Jordan Pickford the wrong way from the spot after the video assistant referee ratified the decision.

England's John Stones scores the side's only goal.

England were soon claiming a penalty of their own when Kane went down in the box and Grealish was unhappy about the roughness of some attention he was receiving. But two Manchester City team-mates helped improve his mood in the 37th minute. Phil Foden, so impressive against Andorra on Saturday, sent in a free-kick from the right and Stones reacted to score at the far post when it was flicked on. Grealish threatened a quickfire second and Foden sent over another free-kick, with Sterling having the chance to score in stoppage time only to fluff his lines after Peter Gulacsi saved his initial header. The Hungary goalkeeper stopped a Sterling cross and held onto a Kane effort when play got under way after the break, with a Foden set-piece headed narrowly wide by Stones in the 62nd minute.

Hungary fans during the game.

Fans were becoming frustrated and the decision to take off Grealish was not unanimously popular with the Wembley crowd, despite replacement Bukayo Saka getting a superb reception. Kane threaded through Sterling but Gulacsi spread himself well to save, with the England skipper lashing off target as paper planes began to be aimed at the pitch. Southgate took the bold decision to replace Kane and Sterling with Tammy Abraham and Jordan Henderson as the match entered the final 15 minutes. Substitute Filip Holender bent over as Hungary looked to snatch a shock winner, with England failing in their attempts to grab a winner as late substitute Abraham limped off.