Hungary to play one match behind closed doors


Lausanne (AFP) – Hungary must play two matches behind closed doors, with one suspended for two years, and were fined 200,000 Swiss francs ($216,635) by FIFA over their fans’ racist chants at England players during a World Cup qualifier earlier this month.

Hungarian fans subjected Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham to monkey chants during England’s 4-0 romp on September 2.

England players were also pelted with cups thrown from the hostile Puskas Arena crowd, with many Hungary fans also booing Southgate’s team when they took the knee before kick-off to show support for equality.

Missiles and a flare were also thrown onto the pitch.

“After analysing and taking into consideration all the circumstances of the case, specifically the seriousness of the incidents (racist words and actions, throwing of objects, lighting of fireworks, blocked stairways), the (FIFA Disciplinary) Committee decided that the MLSZ would play its next two home matches in FIFA competitions without spectators, the second match being suspended for a probationary period of two years,” read the FIFA statement.

“In addition, the Committee imposed a fine of CHF 200,000.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had called for FIFA to take “strong action” the day after the match.

But Hungarian football chiefs robustly defended the “vast majority” of fans and Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto warned Johnson against “hypocrisy” after the Euro 2020 final at Wembley was marred by booing and crowd trouble.

It is not the first time that Hungary has found itself under the spotlight over fan misbehaviour.

European football’s governing body UEFA in July ordered the team to play their next three games behind closed doors, with one match suspended for two years, after finding supporters guilty of discriminatory behaviour during Euro 2020.

However, the ban did not come into effect for the World Cup qualifier against England because it is a FIFA competition.

England manager Gareth Southgate has had to deal with previous episodes of racist behaviour towards his team — Euro 2020 qualifiers in Montenegro and Bulgaria were tarnished by similar incidents.

And Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were the victims of online racist abuse after missing penalties in England’s Euro 2020 final defeat by Italy in July.

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