British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called on football’s world governing body to take “strong action” against those who hurled racist abuse at England players during a World Cup qualifier match against Hungary the previous evening.
“It is completely unacceptable that England players were racially abused in Hungary last night,” Johnson tweeted on Friday.
“I urge FIFA to take strong action against those responsible to ensure that this kind of disgraceful behaviour is eradicated from the game for good,” he added.
The Three Lions were jeered for taking a knee before the start of the game — an gesture denouncing racism — and were pelted with plastic cups after goals. Players of colour were also reportedly harassed with monkey noises throughout the match.
England manager Gareth Southgate said after the clash — which ended in a 4-0 victory for England — that his players, including 18-year-old Jude Bellingham, “should not have to endure this suffering”.
He added that he had not personally seen the racist abuse and that he did not believe that all Hungarian fans were involved — but that those who were should not be excused. Garreth was pelted with ice during his interview.
England’s Football Association described it as “extremely disappointing to hear reports of discriminatory actions towards some of our England players.”
“We will be asking FIFA to investigate the matter,” It added.
FIFA said in a statement to Euronews that it “will take adequate actions as soon as it receives match reports concerning yesterday’s Hungary-England game.”
“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,” it also said.
Marco Rossi, who manages the Hungarian national team, had urged supporters not to behave that way before the match.
Hungary had been ordered to play its next two matches in front of an empty stadium by the UEFA — Europe’s governing body for football — following this summer’s Euro championships because of racist and homophobic abuse observed during games held in Budapest.
But supporters were allowed in the stands on Thursday evening because the European qualifying matches for next year’s World Cup in Qatar, fall under FIFA’s jurisdiction and not the UEFA’s.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó seemingly dismissed accusations lobbed at his country’s supporters on Friday morning, sharing a video in a Facebook post and writing: “English players complain about the “hostile atmosphere in Budapest yesterday”. The following footage was taken at Wembley before the European Championship final. The Italian national anthem can barely be heard amidst the whistling of the England fans. Did they make similar statements then?”
Several black members of the England squad were subjected to serious online racist abuse by British fans following the Euro final, after missing their penalties, resulting in an Italian victory.