Southgate ‘surprised’ by fan numbers for closed-doors game in Hungary


England coach Gareth Southgate said he was “sur-prised” that 35,000 fans will be in attendance for Saturday’s Nations League game against Hungary due to take place behind closed doors in Budapest.

Hungary were ordered by both UEFA and FIFA to play matches without crowds after racist behaviour by their fans last year. But the Hungarian FA is using a loophole in UEFA’s regulations that allow children to attend.

According to the rules every 10 children must be accompanied by one adult. The English FA is implementing a similar pro-gramme for the behind-closed-doors game against Italy at Molineux next week, but has limited the numbers to around 3,000 children from local, Eng-land Football-accredited under-14 teams.

“I think we are all surprised,” Southgate said of the expected numbers of Hungary fans. “But we are inviting children into our stadium so I wasn’t really clear on the rules of any of it at the start of all of this. I don’t know what the figure should be or shouldn’t be. “Other people have got to deal with that. —APP