Hungary vs England: Gareth Southgate hopes Nations League clash can act as education tool for young fans

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Hungary vs England: Gareth Southgate hopes Nations League clash can act as education tool for young fans
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Gareth Southgate hopes England’s clash with Hungary on Saturday can help to educate the 30,000 children due to attend about how racism is unacceptable.

This weekend’s Nations League fixture at the 67,000-capacity Puskas Arena is technically being played behind closed doors as a punishment for the “racist and discriminatory” behaviour of some Hungary fans at Euro 2020, but UEFA allow an unlimited number of school-age children to attend for free.

There have been more than 30,000 applications from under-14s across the country, with one adult permitted to attend for every 10 children.

A similar situation happened in September of last year, when Rangers played Sparta Prague, and midfielder Glen Kamara was booed by children in attendance.

Southgate, however, is hopeful that Saturday’s match in Hungary could act as an educational tool for those children attending when they realise why they have been able to watch the game.

“We have got to deal with whatever comes to us,” said Southgate. “I think we have made our feelings clear on where we stand on inclusivity and our feelings in terms of racism, and it’s unacceptability.

“Hopefully, the young people in the stadium will recognise why has this opportunity happened - and the message will be because of what was unacceptable last time we played there.

“So in some way maybe this will be part of the education for the next generation, and I think each generation that passes there will be more tolerance in the world.

“We have the same situation in our country, so we have got to keep doing the right thing, setting the right example and, all being well, the young people in the stadium tomorrow will enjoy the game and take a bigger message from it as well.”

England players suffered racist abuse on their last visit to Hungary back in September 2021, when they won 4-0.

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