Hungarian Football Federation defends fans in racism incident
A flare is thrown onto the field during England’s win over Hungary
After England players were subjected to racism during a World Cup qualifier in Budapest, the Hungarian Football Federation defended “the vast majority” of the country’s supporters on Friday.
The organization promised to take action against fans who “entered the field, threw flares and drinks,” but emphasized that such “disruptors” were in the minority and did not mention the racist comments in a statement.
“The vast majority of the sixty thousand fans visiting the Puskas Arena supported the Hungarian national team in a sporting manner, even when the team was already losing,” it said in a statement.
“It is in their defence that the disruptors need to be identified and severely punished.”
The association stated that spectators found guilty of entering the field and throwing flares and cups will face a two-year ban from sporting events in addition to fines.
During England’s 4-0 victory against Hungary at the Puskas Arena in Budapest on Thursday, monkey chants were directed at Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham.
FIFA has promised to take action in response to the abuse, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the incidents “totally unacceptable” on Friday.
“I urge (world governing body) @FIFAcom to take strong action against those responsible to ensure that this kind of disgraceful behaviour is eradicated from the game for good,” Johnson wrote on Twitter.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto reacted to Johnson’s remarks by warning him against “hypocrisy.”
“With all due respect to the Prime Minister I say that in my opinion hypocrisy should be avoided regarding such a serious question,” he said in a video statement on his Facebook page.
“Everyone could see at the Euro 2020 final (in Wembley) how the English fans behaved with the Italians,” he said.
“You couldn’t even hear the Italian anthem due to the English fans’ booing, not to mention the insults after the game, so hypocrisy has no place in either sport or politics.”
In another Facebook post, he wondered if the English players who criticised the atmosphere in Budapest were similarly upset with the booing of the Italian national song before the July final.