Police fought with Hungary fans in ugly scenes at Wembley during a World Cup qualifying match on Tuesday evening as they attempted to arrest a spectator for racially abusing a stadium steward.
A cluster of visiting supporters mostly wearing black T-shirts clashed and forced back stewards and police at a gangway entrance in the lower tier. Police could be seen wielding batons during the skirmish. The incident occurred during first the 10 minutes of the match, although it soon calmed down.
A statement by the Metropolitan Police said: “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. 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 would investigate. “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 fracas follows other instances of racist abuse by Hungary fans towards England players during the reverse fixture in Budapest in September. Hungary were ordered to play two home Fifa competition matches behind closed doors, one suspended for two years, after Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham were targeted with monkey chants during the match, which England won 4-0.
The scenes are another blow to the FA only three months after a disastrous Euro 2020 final, where ticketless fans stormed the stadium amid chaos and violence, raising doubts about England’s fitness to host the 2030 World Cup.