England players jeered while taking knee in Hungary despite stadium ban

The majority of the bottom two tiers of the Puskas Arena were full for the Group A3 opener in Budapest

England players took the knee before kick-off (Nick Potts/PA)
England players took the knee before kick-off (Nick Potts/PA)

England players were once again jeered when they took the knee ahead of their Nations League clash with Hungary, as a crowd in excess of 30,000 watched on despite the hosts being forced to play behind closed doors.

The majority of the bottom two tiers of the Puskas Arena were full for the Group A3 opener in Budapest.

UEFA had ordered Hungary to play three games in empty stadiums, the third of which has been suspended, following the behaviour of fans during Euro 2020.

One of those UEFA bans came against England on Saturday but, while article 73 of the governing body’s disciplinary regulations caps the number of VIP guests, team delegations, UEFA staff and those holding complimentary tickets, there is no limit on the number of school children invited to the match free of charge – with one adult accompanying every 10 children.

The England players – as is custom – took the knee in a stance against racism and discrimination, only to be jeered by most of those in attendance.

Hungary have concurrent FIFA sanctions in place – a two-match stadium ban with a game suspended, following racist abuse aimed at England players during the 4-0 World Cup qualifying win for Gareth Southgate’s side last September.

Southgate had professed his “surprise” at the reported attendance figure on the eve of the match, with a crowd of around 3,000 expected at England’s Nations League game with Italy at Molineux later in the month, as the Football Association serves its one-match stadium ban for the trouble ahead of the Euro 2020 final defeat at Wembley last summer.

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