The British Football Association has asked international federation FIFA to launch an investigation into racist behaviours by Hungarian supporters during a Hungary-England World Cup qualifier played in Budapest on Thursday night.
After the match, which England won 4-0, the British players complained about being loudly booed when they took 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. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Facebook that it was “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 behaviour is eradicated from the game for good”.
In response to the critical remarks, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó posted on Facebook footage taken in London’s Wembley Stadium, in which British supporters are heard whistling during Italy’s national anthem. “Were similar remarks made at that time?” the minister asked.
FIFA rejected all forms of racism and violence in a statement, and pledged zero tolerance for such behaviours. The federation also pledged to take appropriate action once they received reports on the events. Hungarian association MLSZ said in a statement that “most of the 60,000 supporters stayed sportsmanlike even when the [Hungarian] team was losing”. They said that the perpetrators were being identified and would be “strictly punished”. MLSZ also said that it would sue the perpetrators for compensation should the federation be fined, and they would be banned from sporting events for two years.
European federation UEFA condemned Hungarian fans for “discriminative behaviours” in July and ruled that the Hungarian team should play three European matches behind closed doors, with one of them suspended for two years.