Fifa promises ‘adequate actions’ over racist abuse aimed at England players in Hungary

Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham were targeted for abuse in the World Cup qualifier against Hungary in Budapest.

Jamie Gardner
Friday 03 September 2021 10:30
Supporters throw cups at Raheem Sterling after he scored England’s opening goal in Budapest (Attila Trenka/PA)
Supporters throw cups at Raheem Sterling after he scored England’s opening goal in Budapest (Attila Trenka/PA)

FIFA has promised “adequate actions” in response to the racist abuse which marred England’s World Cup qualifying win in Hungary

England players Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham were targeted by monkey chants by home supporters during the game in Budapest, which England won 4-0.

Sterling was also pelted with cups after scoring England’s opening goal on Thursday night.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on FIFA to act, and world football’s governing body has pledged to do so.

“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,” a statement from the governing body read.

“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.”

The Prime Minister had earlier tweeted from his official account: “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.”

FIFA’s regulations provide for reoffenders to be deducted points, ordered to play behind closed doors and even expelled from competitions.

Hungary were given a two-match stadium ban by European football’s governing body UEFA as recently as July after allegations of racist chanting and homophobic banners being displayed during Euro 2020 matches against France and Portugal.

However, the ban could not be extended or carried over into the World Cup qualifier against England because it is a FIFA competition.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland also condemned the “deeply depressing” racism targeted at England players.

He told Sky News: “The message has to go out loud and clear from leaders in society, from all of us who have responsibility, that these young men are working, they are exemplars to the community, they inspire other young people, they represent what’s good in our society.

“That’s why we’ve just got to keep getting the message out there that racism has no space in sport, no place in our society and we should be celebrating these people not denigrating them.”

England’s players were also booed before kick-off after they took the knee as a gesture against racism.