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London calls on FIFA to act after racist insults against English footballers in Hungary

London calls on FIFA to act after racist insults against English footballers in Hungary

The British government called on FIFA to take action in the wake of racist insults leveled at black England players in the 2022 World Cup qualifying game against Hungary on Thursday.

British media such as the BBC and Sky News reported racist chants and monkey-like shouts directed at black players Jude Bellingham and Raheem Sterling during England’s 4-0 win.

These attacks in Budapest are in addition to other similar incidents recorded in other Three Lions matches, in a context of growing outrage in British football at the racism commonly seen in stadiums or on social media.

“It is totally unacceptable that English national team players were subjected to racist insults last night in Hungary,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson denounced on Twitter.

The head of government urged FIFA to “crack down on those responsible to ensure that this type of shameful behavior is eradicated forever.”

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The governing body of world football, responsible for organizing the qualifying matches for the World Cup-2022, responded by promising to take “appropriate measures” and reiterated its firm rejection of “all forms of racism and violence.”

Just before the game, the English players were also booed by the majority of the 60,000 Hungarian fans for kneeling to denounce racism.

The Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ) defended this Friday in a statement to “the vast majority” of its fans, promising that those who caused “problems” will be “severely punished.”

He added that spectators who threw flares and glasses onto the pitch could receive a two-year suspension from entering the stadium and a fine, but did not mention the monkey screams towards the English players.

– ‘Unacceptable’ –
“I have not heard,” acknowledged the captain of England, Harry Kane, referring to the chants and racist insults, in statements to the British channel ITV. But “I’ll talk to the boys to see if they heard anything,” he added.

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Coach Gareth Southgate, who also said he had not heard the insults from the bench, nonetheless called them “unacceptable”. “Everyone knows what we stand for as a team,” he stressed.

However, at the post-match press conference, he stated that many Hungarian fans had behaved ‘impeccably’, noting that the English anthem had been respected, as opposed to foreign anthems at Wembley Euro matches.

The English football association also asked FIFA to investigate, saying it is “extremely disappointing to learn that these discriminatory acts were committed”.

It is not the first time that Hungary has been the subject of investigation by the football authorities. In July, the Hungarian soccer federation received three closed-door matches (one of them suspended) for “discriminatory behavior by its fans” during the three matches played by its national team at the European Championship.

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This penalty does not apply to matches organized by FIFA.

These acts are reminiscent of what happened in 2019, in a qualifying match for Euro 2020 that England won against Bulgaria and which was marred by racist outbreaks, causing outrage in the United Kingdom and in European football organizations.

Or, more recently, in the Euro Cup qualifying matches in Montenegro and Bulgaria.

England itself is not immune to the phenomenon. For years, English players have been the victims of racism during matches, or on social media after a defeat or disappointing performances.

In July, Johnson announced his intention to ban English fans who use racist insults against players online from stadiums, following attacks by three black England soccer players following their defeat in the European Championship final. 2020 against Italy. AFP (HN)

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