London (AFP) – A senior member of the UK’s governing Conservative Party said football has a racism problem after Hungary fans were involved in violent clashes with police during a World Cup qualifier with England at Wembley.
Footage showed police being forced back by a mob of around 1,000 travelling fans.
Conservative Party co-chairman and former sports secretary Oliver Dowden described the incidents as “deeply disturbing”.
Fighting continued for several minutes before riot police finally restored order in the stands and the stadium concourse.
The incident occurred when police moved in to arrest one Hungary fan for a racist comment to a steward.
Hungary supporters also booed when England players took the knee before kick-off and held up a banner protesting against the anti-racism gesture.
“I know that the FA (English Football Association) will be investigating this fully and engaging with FIFA as well,” Dowden told ITV.
“There’s clearly still an underlying problem with racism in football.”
FIFA said in a statement it will analyse reports of the disorder both at Wembley and Poland’s 1-0 win in Albania, which was held up for 20 minutes due to objects being thrown at the Polish players in Tirana.
In a statement, world football’s governing body said: “FIFA strongly condemns the incidents at England v Hungary and Albania v 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 behaviour in football.”
It was not the first time Hungary fans have been at the centre of crowd trouble in recent months.
England’s 4-0 win in Budapest in September was marred by racist chants aimed at Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham.
Missiles were also thrown at England’s players at the Puskas Arena.
Hungary were ordered to play two home FIFA competition matches behind closed doors, one suspended for two years, following the racist behaviour.
UEFA had already told Hungary to play two games behind closed doors following racist abuse from supporters and homophobic banners in the stands during their Euro 2020 matches in Budapest. A third match was also suspended for two years.
“Every time we speak on racial abuse the punishments that follow never seem in line with what has happened,” said England defender Tyrone Mings.
“I sincerely hope that if that is the case, the punishments fall in line with what happened this time.”
The FA said they would report the incident to FIFA and launch an investigation of their own.
Wembley had also been the scene of crowd disorder just months ago when England’s defeat against Italy in the final of Euro 2020 was marred by ticketless fans storming the gates to gain entry.
Thousands of fans managed to break through Wembley’s under-staffed security cordon before the final, while drunken supporters caused havoc outside the stadium hours before kick-off.
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