Why weren’t they ALREADY banned? FIFA vow to investigate racist abuse of England players in Hungary… after UEFA’s stadium ban WASN’T transferred to World Cup qualifiers
- Several England players were targeted by racist abuse during the win in Hungary
- Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham were subjected to monkey chants by fans
- FIFA vowed to take ‘adequate actions’ into the number of sickening incidents
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the abuse as ‘completely unacceptable’
- He also urged for ‘strong action’, while the FA also called on FIFA to open a probe
FIFA have vowed to take ‘adequate actions’ after the sickening racist abuse directed at England players during their 4-0 win over Hungary in World Cup qualifying last night – despite allowing in a mass crowd while the hosts were under a UEFA ban.
Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham were targeted by monkey chants in Budapest, while Sterling was pelted by a number of plastic cups thrown from a section of the home crowd after scoring the first goal.
After the game, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate and Labour leader Keir Starmer were unified in their condemnation of the incidents, labelling them as ‘unacceptable’.
It has now been confirmed that FIFA, football’s governing body, will probe the behaviour – and they have reiterated their ‘zero tolerance’ stance.
A statement said: ‘First and foremost, FIFA strongly rejects any form of racism and violence and has a very clear zero tolerance stance for such behaviour in football.
FIFA have launched a probe into a number of vile incidents during England’s win in Hungary (pictured: Raheem Sterling being targeted by cups after opening the scoring)
‘FIFA will take adequate actions as soon as it receives match reports concerning yesterday’s Hungary-England game.
‘With regards to the previous UEFA sanction against Hungary, please note that as specified by UEFA at the time, this sanction is to be served in UEFA competitions.’
Players were largely shielded from the abuse during the match, but chanting was audible from the stands and picked up on by several pitchside reporters. England captain Harry Kane and his team-mates also hit out at the abuse.
The game was placed on a ‘red list’ by FIFA because of the high risk of racist and homophobic abuse breaking out. It follows the vile conduct from some Hungary supporters at Euro 2020, which saw them handed a three-match stadium ban.
They were ordered to play behind closed doors by UEFA after incidents against France and Portugal, although the third game has been suspended for a probationary period of two years. A fine of £85,000 was also meted out.
First and foremost, FIFA strongly rejects any form of racism and violence and has a very clear zero tolerance stance for such behaviour in football.
FIFA will take adequate actions as soon as it receives match reports concerning yesterday’s Hungary-England game.
With regards to the previous UEFA sanction against Hungary, please note that as specified by UEFA at the time, this sanction is to be served in UEFA competitions.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the racial abuse as being ‘completely unacceptable’
Hungary forced to play behind closed doors
Hungary were ordered to play their next three home games behind closed doors after UEFA found their supporters guilty of discriminatory behaviour during Euro 2020.
Charges relating to racism and other discriminatory conduct were brought after each of Hungary’s group games against Portugal, France and Germany in June.
The third game of the ban is suspended for a probationary period of two years.
Hungary must also display a banner promoting equality at future matches.
In addition, the Hungarian Football Federation was given a £85,500 fine for the number of fan infringements.
But the UEFA ban does not apply to FIFA matches.
Hungary, however, were able to play England in front of 67,000 spectators because World Cup qualifying is a FIFA competition and under their jurisdiction.
While UEFA oversee qualifiers involving teams in Europe, FIFA are able to take action.
But UEFA appear to have passed the buck over the incidents, instead pointing out that the burden is on FIFA to act.
A statement said: ‘UEFA strongly condemns any discriminatory/racist behaviour and we will continue to lead the fight against racism & discrimination in the game.
‘The alleged incidents happened in a FIFA competition and do therefore not fall under the jurisdiction of our disciplinary bodies.’
Reacting to the abuse, Mr Johnson said: ‘It is completely unacceptable that England players were racially abused in Hungary last night.
‘I urge FIFA to take strong action against those responsible to ensure that this kind of disgraceful behaviour is eradicated from the game for good.’
Southgate, meanwhile, added: ‘It’s not acceptable. We have taken our stance, took the knee, right thing, I don’t think the group of players that we’ve had could be doing anything more for that cause.’
England now hold a five-point lead at the top of their qualification group for Qatar 2022, and the players were forced to confront a hostile atmosphere which also saw missiles and flares thrown their way.
Winger Sterling was subjected to monkey chants by sections of the home crowd in Budapest
‘Another dominant England performance and a great result,’ Mr Starmer said. ‘But once again, our England team are subjected to disgusting racist abuse. Completely unacceptable behaviour.
‘Strong action must be taken against Hungary to protect players and show racism has no place in football.’
FIFA are yet to receive reports from match officials and delegates in attendance at the Ferenc Puskas Stadium, it is understood, but there is a growing demand for strong action to be taken in the wake of the incidents.
The Hungarian Football Association have said that those responsible for the incidents ‘need to be identified and severely punished’. They also claim that perpetrators can expect a two-year ban from sporting events.
‘The vast majority of the sixty thousand fans visiting the Puskas Arena were sporting, encouraging the Hungarian national team, even when the team was already losing,’ a a statement released this morning said.
Racial chants were also directed at teen Jude Bellingham while he warmed up during the game
‘It is in their defence that the disruptors need to be identified and severely punished. Fans entering the field, throwing light grenades and glasses, are being identified. The MLSZ has filed/will file a police report against them.
‘Any fine will be passed on to the perpetrators in civil litigation, and they can expect a 2-year disqualification from sporting events at the end of the trial.’
Speaking to ITV at full-time, Kane admitted he didn’t ‘hear’ the abuse, but went on to add: ‘I’ll talk to the boys and see if they heard it. We’ll have to report it to UEFA as the rules permit and if it was the case then hopefully UEFA can come down strong.’
In a statement, the Football Association said: ‘It is extremely disappointing to hear reports of discriminatory actions towards some of our England players.
‘We will be asking FIFA to investigate the matter. We continue to support the players and staff in our collective determination to highlight and tackle discrimination in all its forms.’
Declan Rice, John Stones and Jack Grealish react after a flare is thrown on to the pitch by fans
Officials were in attendance in Budapest to film any incidents of racist abuse, and to observe if supporters booed England taking the knee before kick-off. Indeed, the gesture was treated to a widespread jeering.
John Stones has insisted the squad will continue to fight for equality.
‘It is so sad to think that this happens at our games and I hope UEFA and whoever needs to take care of it does and I’m sure they will,’ he said.
‘We stand together as a team and we will continue fighting for what we believe in as a team and what we believe is right.
‘I think we definitely have the mindset of “let the football do the talking” and tonight we did that.
England’s players all took the knee before kick-off, a gesture which was greeted with hostility
Manager Gareth Southgate and his coaching staff are pictured also taking the knee pitchside
‘We celebrated our goals as if it is the last one we will score and that is an incredible thing to have as a team and as players.
‘We live the game and are so passionate for the shirt and how we conduct ourselves on the pitch.’
Kick It Out chief executive Tony Burnett urged FIFA to investigate. ‘Kick It Out was appalled to see the actions of some Hungary fans,’ he said.
‘We stand proudly in support of the England players and staff, who once again acted with strength, grace and integrity in the face of racism that has no place in our game or our society.
‘This is not the first incident like this in Hungary, so we urge FIFA to investigate this matter urgently.
‘Those responsible need to be held to account and steps need to be taken to ensure scenes like (this) are not repeated.’
Mr Burnett has also said that FIFA and UEFA could have worked together to stop England’s players from suffering the ‘preventable and predictable’ abuse.
FIFA (pictured: president Gianni Infantino) are now facing calls to punish Hungary extensively
As reported by the Press Association, he believes it would be ‘laughable’ if Hungary’s Euro 2020 offences were not taken into account by FIFA solely because they took place under UEFA’s jurisdiction.
‘I question the will, intent and desire (of FIFA) to eradicate discrimination if you can’t protect players in a city where you’re 90 per cent sure you’re going to get abused,’ he went on to add.
Declan Rice said: ‘We spoke about what could potentially happen, we didn’t hear nothing. It’s disgraceful, something needs to happen. They can’t keep doing stadium bans if this keeps happening when we play away in these sorts of places.’
The unsavoury chants and actions are not the first time that England players have been racially abused at an international fixture. The team threatened to walk off the pitch against Montenegro in 2019 due to abuse aimed at Sterling and Danny Rose.
Following the Euro 2020 final defeat by Italy, trio Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were all sent messages of a racial nature on social media, despite the country rallying around them after their missed penalties.
Share this article
Source: Read Full Article