Soccer Football - World Cup - UEFA Qualifiers - Group I - England v Hungary - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - October 12, 2021 Hungary's Attila Szalai in action with England's John Stones Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine
October 12, 2021
By Mitch Phillips
LONDON (Reuters) -Dozens of Hungary fans fought with baton-wielding police inside Wembley Stadium at the start of their country’s World Cup qualifying game against England on Tuesday in scenes reminiscent of the worst days of football hooliganism.
Around 600 Hungary fans were squeezed into a small corner of the stadium, many dressed in the black t-shirts of the ultras who follow the country.
The Metropolitan Police said they had taken action after racial abuse of a steward.
“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 police said on Twitter.
“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.”
Hungary fans had booed as the England players took the knee before kickoff, the visitors staying on their feet and pointing to the respect badge on their shirts.
As the match started, trouble erupted between the fans and a group of stewards.
A line of police then arrived and some were raining baton blows on fans, many of whom climbed over a barrier and were punching and kicking the security personnel.
One fan fell to the ground with blood gushing from a head wound, while several police officers were also knocked down as the fans attacked them.
The police then moved back out of sight down a tunnel and fans returned to their seats, with a group of helmeted riot police arriving in force.
The incident comes after there was extensive trouble at Wembley in the Euro 2020 final, when hundreds of fans charged barriers to gain entry.
It also follows Hungary being fined and banned from having fans in their ground as punishment for racist abuse and missile-throwing in Budapest when the teams met in September.
(Reporting by Mitch Phillips; editing by Toby Davis)