Hungary v England: Nations League match to have 30,000 fans despite supporters ban

Raheem Sterling

England will play their Nations League group match against Hungary in Budapest on Saturday with at least 30,000 fans in attendance – even though the fixture is being held behind closed doors.

Hungary have been ordered to play games without crowds after racist behaviour by their fans.

But their football association is using a Uefa regulation that allows children to attend, accompanied by an adult.

And the Hungarian FA has had 30,000 children register for Saturday’s game.

In June 2021 Uefa ordered Hungary to play three games without fans, with the final match being suspended, and fined them £85,000 as a result of discriminatory behaviour by their supporters during Euro 2020.

They were also ordered to play two games behind closed doors by Fifa following racist abuse towards England players during the World Cup qualifier in Budapest on 2 September.

Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham were both subject to the abuse, with objects and a flare thrown onto the pitch by the home fans at the Puskas Arena, the venue for Saturday’s game.

Under Article 73 of Uefa’s regulations, children up to the age of 14 from schools and/or football academies can be invited to the match free of charge, if they are accompanied by an adult.

Glen Kamara was jeered by fans of Sparta Prague in the Czech Republic when Rangers played them in the Europa League last year when the game was played under the same circumstances, with 10,000 children and their chaperones making up the crowd for the behind-closed-doors game.

The Football Association is also planning to use Article 73 to invite a number of under-14 clubs within a 50-mile radius of Wolverhampton to apply for complimentary tickets for the behind-closed-doors fixture against Italy at Molineux on Saturday, 11 June.

However, this is understood to be a much lower number of invitees, with about 2,000 fans expected to attend.

The game against Italy at Molineux is behind closed doors because of the poor behaviour of supporters at the Euro 2020 final at Wembley.

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