UEFA claim they were powerless to ask FIFA to enforce a stadium ban on Hungary for last night’s World Cup qualifier against England, which was marred by vile racist abuse of Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham.
England’s players were subjected to monkey chants at the Puskas Arena on a night when home supporters also booed players for taking the knee.
The match in Budapest was allowed to be at full capacity despite Hungary having been ordered to play two UEFA matches behind closed doors, with another one suspended for two years, due to incidents of racism and homophobia at the European Championship.
The stadium ban was not applied last night because the qualifier for Qatar 2022 fell under the jurisdiction of FIFA rather than UEFA, and the European governing body said this morning their own regulations left them unable to request the sanction be carried over.
UEFA’s 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.”
FIFA this morning 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.
A UEFA statement said: “UEFA strongly condemns any discriminatory/racist behaviour and we will continue to lead the fight against racism and discrimination in the game.
“The alleged incidents happened in a FIFA competition and do therefore not fall under the jurisdiction of our disciplinary bodies.”
A FIFA statement, which did not directly condemn Hungary, read: “First and foremost, FIFA strongly rejects any form of racism and violence and has a very clear zero tolerance stance for such behaviour in football.
“FIFA will take adequate actions as soon as it receives match reports concerning yesterday’s Hungary-England game.
“With regards to the previous UEFA sanction against Hungary, please note that as specified by UEFA at the time, this sanction is to be served in UEFA competitions.”