FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings after racist abuse occurred during Thursday’s 4-0 win over Hungary in a World Cup qualifier in Budapest. Targeted were England players Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham. Racist chants could be heard during the match. A flare was also thrown on the pitch by the home fans at Puskas Arena. England officials condemned the abuse as “completely unacceptable”. Many footbalers expressed opinions about the incidents. It is a disgrace how it keeps on happening,” said Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged FIFA “to take strong action against those responsible to ensure that this kind of disgraceful behaviour is eradicated from the game for good”.
“We have a very clear zero tolerance stance against such abhorrent behaviours in football,” governing body FIFA responded on Friday afternoon in a statement. Previously, UEFA ordered Hungary to play three home games behind closed doors after their supporters’ discriminatory behavior. However fans were allowed on the stadium Thursday. Anti-discrimination bodies Kick It Out, Show Racism the Red Card and Fare criticised FIFA and UEFA for their handling of Hungary’s existing ban. A “long-term education programme” was suggested to be put in place to help tackle racism in Hungarian football. The Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ) said that those who disrupted the match “need to be identified and severely punished.”