Hungary hit with stadium ban and £150k fine over racist abuse of England players

·3-min read
Hungary handed stadium ban and £150k fine over racist abuse of England players - AFP
Hungary handed stadium ban and £150k fine over racist abuse of England players - AFP

Fifa and Uefa were on Tuesday night accused of having “allowed racism to flourish” by their own partners in the fight against bigotry after Hungary were handed another stadium ban over their fans’ “abhorrent” abuse of England players.

Both governing bodies came under fresh attack for failing to close a “loophole” blamed for sparing a nation of serial offenders from being thrown out of the World Cup.

Fifa’s disciplinary committee on Tuesday ordered Hungary’s next qualifier against Albania behind closed doors, with a second game suspended for a probationary period of two years, over monkey chants and missiles aimed at England’s players during their 4-0 qualifying win in Budapest at the beginning of this month.

The Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ) was also fined an unprecedented £200,000 Swiss francs (£158,531).

But Hungary were already serving a two-match stadium ban, with a third suspended, in Uefa competitions for racist and homophobic chants and banners at their three previous matches during the European Championship.

Fifa and Uefa had previously come under fire for failing to ensure the former punishment applied to World Cup qualifiers and Tuesday’s sanction saw them attacked again over a lack of a joined-up approach.

Piara Powar, executive director of the FARE Network, which operates both organisation’s anti-discrimination monitoring systems, welcomed a “renewed determination to punish racism” from the former.

But he added: “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. There should be better coordination between confederations, such as Uefa, and Fifa.

“In this case, Uefa should have asked Fifa to apply their previous sanction and the Hungary vs. England match played behind closed doors. An administrative loophole has allowed racism to flourish.”

Tony Burnett, the chief executive of Kick It Out, said: "Hungary’s punishment was an insufficient deterrent to those who abused England’s players."

He added: “We need the footballing authorities to assume genuine responsibility for player safety, both from physical and discriminatory abuse. This means applying or duplicating sanctions that result from discrimination during competitions in other federations, as well as assessing the risk posed to players during games held in specific nations. For those countries that have proven unable to control fans’ appalling behaviour, excluding them from competing at major tournaments should not be off the table.”

In announcing Hungary’s sanction, Fifa said: “Fifa’s position remains firm and resolute in rejecting any form 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 was on Tuesday night still investigating a complaint that Kyle Walker was racially abused during England’s stormy qualifier against Poland the week following the Hungary game.

The Poles strenuously denied that defender Kamil Glik made a racist remark or gesture towards Walker as the pair clashed towards the end of the first-half in the 1-1 draw in Warsaw.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting