Hungary ordered to play game without fans for racist abuse of England players

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<span>Photograph: Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images

Hungary must play their next home World Cup qualifier behind closed doors and pay a fine of 200,000 Swiss francs (£158,000) as punishment for the racist abuse aimed by their fans at England players in Budapest this month.

Fifa handed down the sanction after a section of Hungary supporters targeted Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham with monkey chants during England’s 4-0 win in a World Cup qualifier on 2 September. A suspended penalty of a second game without spectators was also imposed by Fifa’s disciplinary committee for a probationary period of two years.

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In July Hungary were ordered to play their next three Uefa home competition matches without supporters after incidents of racism and homophobia at Euro 2020, with one of those games suspended for two years. Those sanctions will apply in the Nations League next year.

Related: Racism and disorder during England’s win in Hungary was completely preventable | Tony Burnett

Hungary’s next World Cup qualifier is at home to Albania on 9 October. Fifa said the punishment covered “racist words and actions, throwing of objects, lighting of fireworks [and] blocked stairways”. Plastic cups were hurled at England players during the match.

“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,” the world governing body said. “Fifa takes a clear zero tolerance stance against such abhorrent behaviour in football.”

Kick It Out’s head of development Troy Townsend tweeted: “What does zero tolerance approach even mean? Words that read good in print but we’ll never actually adhere to them. Anyway, we have our own problems and don’t even go this far with punishments, so best leave alone.”

The fine dwarfs the 20,000 Swiss francs the Hungarian FA was ordered to pay by Fifa in 2017 for homophobic chants directed at Cristiano Ronaldo during a World Cup qualifier against Portugal.

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