Budapest stadium could be half full for England match despite fan ‘ban’

The Hungarian Football Federation was given a two-match stadium ban from FIFA because of racist chanting.

By Press Association Published: 31 May 2022 - 8.45pm

England’s Nations League fixture against Hungary will be played in front of a half-full stadium in Budapest – despite the hosts serving a stadium ban for racism offences.

The Three Lions travel to the Hungarian capital to open their Nations League campaign on Saturday evening.

Their last visit to the 67,000-seater Puskas Arena, a 4-0 World Cup qualifying win last September, was marred by racist chanting from home supporters – landing the Hungarian Football Federation a two-match stadium ban from FIFA.

UEFA has also 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 comes against England this weekend but the PA news agency understands the Group A3 opener could now be played in front of a crowd of up to 30,000 supporters as Hungary make the most of the UEFA regulations on behind closed doors fixtures.

Declan Rice (left) was among the goals during England's win in Budapest last year.
Declan Rice (left) was among the goals during England’s win in Budapest last year. (Attila Trenka/PA)

Although there are caps on 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.

It is understood there have been more than 30,000 registrations from youngsters up to the age of 14, with one accompanying adult for every 10 children issued with a free ticket.

England travel to Munich to face Germany three days on from their game in Budapest, before returning home for two more Nations League ties.

Both will take place at Molineux, the first fixture against Italy also taking place behind closed doors after the Football Association was punished for the behaviour of supporters ahead of the England’s Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy last summer.

It is understood there will be approximately 2,000-3,000 supporters in place, using the same UEFA regulations.

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