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England players booed as they take a knee ahead of their World Cup Qualifier in Hungary

England players booed by fans when taking a knee prior to kick-off; Republic of Ireland had been booed in June for making the same gesture in Hungary

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Fans in Hungary booed England's players as they took a knee before kick-off in the World Cup qualifier in Budapest.

England players were booed as they took a knee ahead of their World Cup Qualifier with Hungary in Budapest.

The squad had discussed the issue in the build-up to the game, and were made aware of the fact that the Republic of Ireland players were loudly booed in June when they took a knee before their friendly with Hungary in the nearby Szusza Ferenc Stadion.

There were similar scenes at the Puskas Arena on Thursday evening, with loud boos and jeers clearly audible as England's players made the gesture, which draws attention to the fight against racial inequality in the game and society.

With the game played under FIFA jurisdiction, a full-capacity crowd of 60,000 were present at the stadium, despite Hungary having been ordered to play their next three UEFA competition matches behind closed doors - with one of those games suspended for two years - following racist abuse from supporters and homophobic banners in the stands during their Euro 2020 group stage matches in Budapest.

A homophobic banner was seen in the stands during Hungary's defeat to Portugal in their opening game at the tournament, while monkey chants were also heard during their draw with France.

Hungary's Italian coach, Marco Rossi, had said ahead of the fixture that he would be "on the side" of England's players if they were to be subjected to racist abuse, while the Hungarian FA president Sandor Csanyi wrote in the match programme to call on supporters to not make "racist, discriminatory or homophobic chants".

Harry Kane and his England team-mates took a knee before kick-off against Hungary
Image: Harry Kane and his England team-mates took a knee before kick-off against Hungary

At his own pre-match news conference, England boss Gareth Southgate refused to confirm whether his side would walk off the pitch if Hungary's fans racially abused England players during the game.

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England decided to play on against Bulgaria in Sofia in October 2019 after Bulgarian fans racially abused Southgate's players in a Euro 2020 qualifier.

England's players were booed earlier this summer by some of their own supporters when they took a knee for their Euro 2020 warm-up games and again by small sections of the crowd in their Euro 2020 opener against Croatia.

Players taking a knee have also been booed at some club matches since the domestic season started.

Rob Dorsett reporting from the Puskas Arena

"Booing the taking of a knee is not sanctionable under FIFA or UEFA rules.

"Therefore Hungary cannot be punished by FIFA for their fans booing when England took a knee at the start of this game.

"However, the booing of an opponent's national anthem is a sanctionable offence under FIFA and UEFA rules.

"It's something that the English FA were charged with as one of the punishable actions during the Euro 2020 final at Wembley.

"We heard clear booing when the England national anthem began in the Puskas Arena tonight, but it largely fizzled out before the anthem had finished.

"It remains to be seen whether that will be deemed serious enough for FIFA to act."

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