FIFA to investigate abuse that took place in Hungary, while UK PM Johnson condemns ‘completely unacceptable’ racism.
After England players faced racial abuse in Hungary, FIFA has said it will take “adequate actions” once it has investigated the incidents.
The statement from FIFA on Friday stopped short of directly condemning Hungary fans for the abuse, which included monkey chanting, in Thursday night’s World Cup qualifier at Puskas Arena in Budapest. England won 4-0.
“FIFA strongly rejects any form of racism and violence and has a very clear zero tolerance stance for such behaviour in football,” the football governing body said.
“FIFA will take adequate actions as soon as it receives match reports concerning yesterday’s Hungary-England game.”
Hungary had recently been ordered to play two matches without fans but the sanction from UEFA did not take effect for the visit of England because the game was under FIFA’s jurisdiction.
The racist abuse has been condemned by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has been criticised for his own racially offensive comments in the past.
“It is completely unacceptable that England players were racially abused in Hungary last night,” Johnson said on Twitter.
“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.”
England’s players were jeered for taking a knee, pelted with plastic cups after goals and then targeted with racist chants.
Missiles and a flare were also thrown onto the pitch by a hostile home crowd.
Pitch-side reporters for domestic broadcasters ITV and Sky Sports said they saw and heard individuals among the Hungary supporters behind one of the goals aim monkey chants at Raheem Sterling and unused substitute Jude Bellingham, who are Black.
Sky Sports showed video footage of one spectator giving the abuse.
The game was played in front of a crowd of 60,000 mostly Hungarian fans about two months after UEFA ordered the team to play three matches without fans – one of which was suspended for a probationary period of two years – as a punishment for what was termed “discriminatory” behaviour by its supporters at all three of its Euro 2020 group games.
Those behind-closed-doors games have to be in UEFA competition, though. World Cup qualifiers are organised by FIFA.
It is not the first time England manager Gareth Southgate has had to deal with the fallout from racist behaviour towards his team.
The Euro 2020 qualifiers in Montenegro and Bulgaria were tarnished by similar incidents.
Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were the victims of online racist abuse after missing penalties in England’s Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy at Wembley in July.
“It sounds like there has been some incidents and everybody knows what we stand for as a team and that that’s completely unacceptable,” the England boss said after the result in Hungary, which preserved his side’s perfect record in the group.
“Everything is being reported … and we have to see what happens from there.
“They [the players] recognise the world is changing. Although some people are stuck in their way of thinking and prejudices, they are going to be the dinosaurs in the end because the world is modernising.”
It is completely unacceptable that @England players were racially abused in Hungary last night.
I urge @FIFAcom to take strong action against those responsible to ensure that this kind of disgraceful behaviour is eradicated from the game for good.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) September 3, 2021
The Football Association said in a statement: “It is extremely disappointing to hear reports of discriminatory actions towards some of our England players.”
England defender Harry Maguire said he was unaware of the monkey chants but could not miss the deafening jeers when England took the knee.
“It was disappointing to hear the boos when we took the knee but, listen, it’s happened in previous games,” the Manchester United captain told the BBC.
“I am happy all of the boys stood by it and we did that in the end.”