Metropolitan Police defended their tactics in a violent confrontation with Hungarian supporters at Wembley on Tuesday evening. Video footage showed police officers with batons being kicked and beaten as they retreated from the remote section, after a flight attendant was allegedly racially abused by the audience itinerant.
Police said the retreat was tactical and followed the arrest of the suspect. They confirmed that six people were subsequently arrested, with three arrests inside the stadium: one for an offense aggravated by racist motives and two for suspected brawl.
The Met’s response came as Fifa announced it had opened disciplinary proceedings in connection with England’s World Cup qualifying events and said it strongly condemned the violence.
A Met spokesperson said: “A proportionate policing plan was in place to deal with any incident that arose. In this case, the imperative was to place the arrested suspect in police custody. Once the suspect was dismissed, the police withdrew.
“The other suspects involved in the violence against the police had been identified and were arrested when it was tactically appropriate to do so. A post-event investigation has been launched.
Hungary are currently serving a stadium suspension for the behavior of their supporters in the second leg in Budapest last month. Fifa have imposed a sanction on the Hungarian Football Association after England players suffered racist abuse in their 4-0 victory.
Questions are likely to be asked about the decision to allow Hungarian fans to travel to Wembley, where a banner has also been hoisted criticizing the knee grab.
The disruptions put the focus back on security at Wembley after the Euro 2020 disruption which saw thousands of ticketless fans advance to the final and scenes of chaos outside the ground.
UEFA has confirmed that a disciplinary hearing into the events of July 11 will be held on Monday. The hearing, which could take two days, could also result in a stadium ban for the England FA and force it to play at least one UEFA game behind closed doors.