FIFA launches investigation after visiting fans clash with police at England vs. Hungary World cup qualifier

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World football’s governing body FIFA has launched an investigation into crowd trouble that marred England’s World Cup qualifier against Hungary at Wembley Stadium yesterday.

Hungary supporters fought with police inside the ground during the match — which ended in a 1-1 draw — after officers had entered the away end of Wembley Stadium to make an arrest following a “racially aggravated public order offence”, according to London’s Metropolitan Police. Fans were shown hitting security personnel and jumping over security barriers, driving police back into the concourse as they attempted to enter the stadium.

England players were also booed when they took the knee by fans in the away end, who numbered less than 1,000.

It was not the only European qualifier marred by crowd trouble. In Tirana the World Cup qualifier between Albania and Poland was suspended for 20 minutes after visiting players were pelted with plastic bottles as they celebrated Karol Swiderski’s winning goal. 

“FIFA is currently analysing reports of last night’s FIFA World Cup qualifier matches in order to determine the most appropriate action,” a statement said. “FIFA strongly condemns the incidents at England vs. Hungary and Albania vs. 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 behavior in football.”

Hungary were ordered to play two home matches behind closed doors following their home qualifier against England last month, in which visiting players were racially abused and pelted with missiles and a flare. UEFA had ordered the Magyars to play three games behind closed doors following the behavior of their fans at Euro 2020 but as the World Cup qualifiers are under FIFA’s jurisdiction fans had been allowed in these games.

In the aftermath of last night’s game 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.”

There had also been trouble at Wembley Stadium earlier this summer with fights between supporters and police as ticketless fans attempted to breach the security cordon to attend the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy. There were 45 arrests at the match with 19 police officers injured in the events.

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