Met police to increase presence at Wembley for England v Hungary

The Metropolitan police are to increase their presence outside Wembley stadium on Tuesday night in the leadup to the visit of Hungary.

Following the scenes of racist abuse directed at England players last month in the World Cup qualifying fixture in Budapest, and the shocking unrest at the Euro 2020 final, the Football Association is also putting in place robust procedures to deal with any possible trouble.

The Hungary fixture is expected to return focus on to security at Wembley for the first time since the summer. Extra measures are to be put in place despite fewer than 1,000 tickets having been sold to Hungary supporters for the Group I match.

“Ahead of Tuesday’s match, the Met is developing a policing plan to ensure the safety of visiting fans,” a spokesperson said. “A number of officers will be on duty, conducting high visibility patrols around Wembley Stadium.”

The absence of police intervention outside Wembley, particularly in the run up to the final against Italy, was one of the main criticisms made of officials following the disturbing events of 11 July. Public unrest outside the ground was followed by a storming of the stadium, as thousands of ticketless fans gained entry to the match in some of the worst scenes at an English football match in decades.

With sources at the time admitting they had been unprepared for the “unprecedented” disorder in and around the stadium, the FA has drawn up what they believe are measures sufficient to protect fans and staff before, during and after the match on Tuesday.

The risk of similar scenes to those in July have been mitigated to an extent by the lack of travelling supporters, with most of the Hungarian FA’s ticket allocation being sold to fans from inside the UK. Amber list restrictions have this week come to an end for people entering Britain, but travellers are still required to show proof of vaccination, with two of the most common vaccines used in Hungary – the Russian Sputnik and Sinovac from China – not recognised by British authorities.

Despite this, the match is taking place just one month after England players were subjected to tirades of racist abuse during the away fixture, a 4-0 victory at the Ferenc Puskas Stadium. Similar racist and homophobic actions also occurred during matches held in Budapest during Euro 2020, and the Hungarian FA is subject to bans served by both Uefa and Fifa, forcing them to play at least two competitive matches behind closed doors.