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Reported Racial Abuse During Hungary-England WC Qualifier Prompts British to Ask for FIFA Investigation

Hungary Today 2021.09.03.

During the World Cup qualifier between the Hungarian football team and England on Thursday evening, the Hungarian fans booed the English team when they knelt down before kick-off. In addition, some viewers reported hearing monkey noises made by Hungarian supporters in the direction of British players such as Jude Bellingham and Raheem Sterling during the game, which England won 4-0. The British Football Association has asked international federation FIFA to launch an investigation into the racist behavior by Hungarian supporters. British PM Boris Johnson deemed it unacceptable that “England football team players were racially abused in Hungary.” 

This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute. Translation by Júlia Tar.

Even before the game, England head coach Gareth Southgate made it clear that his players will definitely kneel before the game, as they always have.

Yes, we will kneel down even if we are booed,”

he said.

Before the match, the Hungarian football association, the national team players, and head coach Marco Rossi all asked Hungarian fans to avoid racist comments and behavior since that can result in getting fines from the UEFA or future matches held behind closed doors.

However, this did not have an effect on some Hungarian fans who reacted to the England players taking the knee with loud boos:

According to Sky News, the whistle was not “the only insulting gesture” as the first English scorer, Raheem Sterling, was mocked by Hungarian fans with monkey noises. “It was scattered but clear,” wrote Rob Dorsett, a British television correspondent.

Captain Kane was also asked about the case and said on ITV TV that he had not heard the calls. “I’ll talk to the guys to see if they heard,” he said.

If there were racist insults, he hoped for a prompt reaction from the football federation.

According to ATV, Hungarian fans also threw a firecracker into the field, and beer cups towards the English players who scored goals. In response, Declan Rice and Jack Grealish demonstratively drank from the cups.

Jack Grealish imitates drinking from one of the cups the Hungarian fans threw in the direction of England players. Photo by Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI

“Although some people are stuck in their way of thinking and prejudices, they are going to be the dinosaurs in the end. The world is modernizing,” said Southgate about the incident, also adding that “there’s a balance in the crowd. Not everyone causes problems at home. Our anthem was really respected, remarkably well. It’s not fair to criticize all the Hungarian fans, a lot were generous and behaved well.”

Britain’s Football Association turns to FIFA over racist incidents in Budapest

The British Football Association has asked international federation FIFA to launch an investigation into racist behavior displayed by Hungarian supporters during the Hungary-England World Cup qualifier played in Budapest on Thursday night.

After the match, the British players complained about being loudly booed when they had taken the knee as a gesture against racism before starting, and said that after each goal, plastic cups and other objects were thrown into the field, while racist slogans were chanted.

Photo by Tibor Illyés/MTI

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson commented on Facebook: “It is completely unacceptable that England football team players were racially abused in Hungary,” and called on FIFA to “…take strong action against those responsible to ensure that this kind of disgraceful behavior is eradicated from the game for good.”

It was not the first time something like this happened in a Hungarian crowd. European federation UEFA condemned Hungarian fans for “discriminative behaviors” in July. They imposed a fine of 100,000 euros on the Hungarian football association (MLSZ) and ruled that the Hungarian team should play three European matches behind closed doors, with one of the games suspended for two years.

Featured photo by Tibor Illyés/MTI