ZURICH — FIFA said Friday that once the investigation into the racist harassment of England players in Hungary is concluded, it will take “appropriate steps.”
The FIFA statement stopped short of openly denouncing Hungary fans for the abuse, which included monkey chants, during England’s 4-0 victory over Hungary in a World Cup qualifier on Thursday at Puskas Arena in Budapest.
“Fifa has initiated disciplinary proceedings over the events following a review of the match reports,” the international governing body said, without mentioning racist incidents explicitly.
Hungary had been forced to play two games without fans by UEFA, but the punishment did not apply to England’s visit because the game was under FIFA’s authority. FIFA could not explain why it did not attempt to impose the sanction right away.
“FIFA would like to underline that our attitude on racism and violence, as well as any other kind of discrimination or abuse, is clear and resolute,” FIFA stated in a statement. “We have a very clear zero-tolerance policy in football when it comes to such heinous behavior.”
On Twitter, Johnson stated, “It is utterly disgusting that England players were racially insulted in Hungary last night.” “I implore (FIFA) to take severe measures against those guilty in order to ensure that this type of heinous behavior is permanently eliminated from the game.”
England’s players were booed for kneeling, hit with plastic bottles following scores, and then allegedly racist shouts were directed at them.
Individuals among the Hungary supporters behind one of the goals target monkey chants towards Black players Raheem Sterling and unused substitute Jude Bellingham, according to pitch-side reporters for home broadcasters ITV and Sky Sports. Sky Sports broadcasted a video of one of the spectators abusing the other.
The game was played in front of a crowd of 60,000 mostly Hungarian fans just two months after UEFA ordered the team to play three games without fans — one of which was suspended for a two-year probationary period — as a punishment for what was described as “discriminatory” behavior by the team’s supporters during all three of its Euro 2020 group games.
Those behind-closed-doors games, on the other hand, must be in UEFA competition. FIFA is in charge of organizing World Cup qualifications.
“Why do we keep returning to the same circumstances when they’re so foreseeable and preventable?” Tony Burnett, CEO of the anti-racism organization Kick It Out, agreed. “If the appropriate governing authorities and individuals have the will to effect change, they will.
“For us, the question is why FIFA did not act to avoid this, and why the world football system did not work together to prevent this,” says the author “Burnett went on. “All I’ve heard so far are excuses about who has to complete what paperwork and who needs to file permission.”
The Hungarian Football Association stated it was hunting for the persons who hurled “flash grenades and cups” into the pitch and will report them to the police.
The “vast majority of the 60,000 supporters in the Puskas Arena were there cheering their team in a sportsmanlike manner, even while their side was losing,” according to the report.