Hungary fined and given one-match fan ban by FIFA for racist abuse

A flare was also thrown onto the field during this month's FIFA World Cup Qualifier in Budapest.
A flare was also thrown onto the field during this month's FIFA World Cup Qualifier in Budapest. Copyright Tibor Illyes/MTVA - Media Service Support and Asset Management Fund
By Euronews with AP, AFP
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Hungary will have to host its next World Cup qualifier in an empty stadium after fans directed racist abuse towards England players.


Hungary has been ordered to play its next FIFA World Cup qualifier behind closed doors after racist abuse by its supporters.

The team will now have to play its FIFA qualifying match against Albania next month with no fans in attendance.

Hungary was also fined 200,000 Swiss francs (€184,700) by FIFA on Tuesday, one of the largest financial penalties ever handed out.

FIFA’s disciplinary committee ruled there had been "racist behaviour of numerous supporters" during their match against England earlier this month.

Monkey chants were reportedly directed by supporters towards England players Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham.

Hungarian fans used "racist words and actions, threw objects, lit fireworks, and blocked stairways" at the Puskas Arena in Budapest, FIFA said in a statement.

The team will have to play another FIFA match without a crowd if there are future incidents of abuse, with "a two-year reprieve".

Hungary had already been ordered by UEFA to play its next three home games behind closed doors after fans' discriminatory behaviour at EURO 2020, but the ban had not yet been implemented.

"The FIFA ban on Hungary for racism and the huge fine is welcome and a signal from FIFA of a renewed determination to punish racism," Piara Powar, executive director of the anti-racism FARE network, told The Associated Press.

But Powar added that the punishments "will not deal with the problem of racism" in Hungarian football stadiums in the long term.

"If all Hungarian offences had been taken into account they would be facing exclusion from the World Cup, and remedial measures would have been put in place," Powar said.

"There should be better coordination between confederations, such as UEFA, and FIFA".

FIFA had been asked to crack down on racist abuse by the UK government. The organising body said it condemned "all forms of racism and violence, as well as any other form of discrimination or abuse".

"FIFA takes a clear zero-tolerance stance against such abhorrent behaviour in football," it added.

The Hungarian football federation said it had filed a complaint "against the identified perpetrators of the offences committed during the match".

But the federation said the FIFA penalties were "counter-productive" and unfair and indicated it may appeal the decision.

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