Fifa opens disciplinary proceedings after England stars racially abused in Hungary qualifier

·2-min read
Fifa opens disciplinary proceedings after England stars racially abused in Hungary qualifier

Fifa have opened disciplinary proceedings after England’s players were racially abused in Hungary on Thursday night.

Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham were targeted by monkey chants from a section of the home crowd during the 2022 World Cup qualifier in Budapest, while England’s players were also loudly booed and whistled as they took the knee before kick-off.

Sterling was also pelted by cups and other debris as he celebrated opening the scoring in England’s 4-0 Group I rout, while a flare was also later hurled onto the pitch on a terrible night at the Puskas Arena.

Fifa have been urged by the likes of the Football Association (FA) and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to take action against those responsible for the abhorrent abuse witnessed in Budapest.

In a statement on Friday, world football’s governing body said: “Following analysis of the match reports, FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings concerning the incidents last night at the game Hungary-England.

“Once again, FIFA would like to state that our position remains firm and resolute in rejecting any form of racism and violence as well as any other form of discrimination or abuse.

“We have a very clear zero tolerance stance against such abhorrent behaviours in football.”

Hungary are currently subject to a three-match Uefa stadium ban - with the final game suspended for two years - and their Football Federation were fined €100,000 back in July due to incidents of racism and homophobia from fans in Budapest at the European Championship.

However, that ban was not enforced last night as European World Cup qualifiers fall under the jurisdiction of Fifa, rather than Uefa.

That meant a capacity crowd of 60,000 was allowed to attend the match against England, with Uefa insisting on Friday that their own regulations left them unable to request the sanction be carried over.

Uefa disciplinary regulations establish that punishments should apply to every Uefa match but adds that: “These regulations do not foresee the possibility for the UEFA disciplinary bodies to ask for an extension of a sanction such as a match(es) to be played behind closed doors (or similar sanctions) to competitions organised by FIFA.”

On Friday morning, Fifa confirmed they would be launching an investigation into the abuse and said the existing sanctions would only be served in Uefa matches, although it is understood the world governing body had the power to enforce the stadium ban.

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