England players were racially abused during Thursday’s 4-0 win over Hungary in a World Cup qualifier in Budapest. The racist abuse targeted Manchester City striker Raheem Sterling and Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham. Three England players were racially abused earlier during their EURO 2020 final loss to Italy.
Previously during Euro 2020, UEFA had ordered Hungary to play three home matches behind closed doors after fans were found guilty of discriminatory behavior. Allegations relating to racism and other discriminatory conduct. But home fans were allowed to enter Budapest’s 67,000-seat Puskas Arena against England as the match came under FIFA’s jurisdiction.
The tone was set early in the day when English players took a knee in protest against racism and shouted loudly. The Hungarian players and their head coach, Marco Rossi, asked fans to respect England’s gesture before the match, but the message was disregarded.
The first half was uneven on and off the field – but in the second half, Sterling was covered in glass and paper bottles as he opened the scoring for England while a rocket was thrown on the field after Harry Maguire put the scoreboard on 3 – 0.
England manager Gareth Southgate said during a post-match interview with BBC Radio 5 Live: “I heard reports of racism, which I had not heard during the game. Everyone knows what this means for the team, and that is completely unacceptable. It has been reported. Our security chief has spoken to the players and taken their statements. We will deal with it on the right channels.”
“I think people were filmed and we have to hope that they are treated right. The world is getting modern and, although some people are stuck in their way of thinking and their prejudices, they will eventually be dinosaurs, because the world is changing.” England captain Harry Kane, who is one of the scorers in the 4-0 win, said: “I’ll talk to the boys. We have to report it. If necessary, we expect the authorities to come down strongly.”
The Football Association said in a statement: “It is extremely disappointing to hear of discriminatory action against some of our players in England. We will ask FIFA to investigate the matter. We will continue to support players and staff in our collective determination to expose and combat discrimination in all its forms.”
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