Football: Hungary to play one match behind closed doors, fined over racist abuse

Hungarian fans had directed monkey chants at England's Raheem Sterling (right) and Jude Bellingham during the World Cup qualifying match on Sept 2, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

LAUSANNE (AFP, REUTERS) - Hungary must play two matches behind closed doors, with one suspended for two years, and were fined 200,000 Swiss francs (S$293,000) by Fifa over their fans' racist chants at England players during a World Cup qualifier earlier this month.

"The (Fifa disciplinary) committee decided that the MLSZ (Hungarian Football Federation) would play its next two home matches in Fifa competitions without spectators, the second match being suspended for a probationary period of two years," read the Fifa statement.

"In addition, the committee imposed a fine of CHF 200,000."

Fifa said on Tuesday (Sept 21) that the sanctions were imposed on the Hungarian federation "in relation to the racist behaviour of numerous supporters" during the game on Sept 2 at the Puskas Arena in Budapest, which England won 4-0.

The global football governing body said it analysed "all the circumstances of the case, specifically the seriousness of the incidents (racist words and actions, throwing of objects, lighting of fireworks, blocked stairways)".

Hungary's next qualifier is against Albania on Oct 9.

They will also have to play their next two games in Uefa competition behind closed doors, after the European governing body's sanction for "discriminatory behaviour" by fans was imposed in July, following incidents during the team's Euro 2020 games at the same venue.

MLSZ was not immediately available for comment.

British broadcasters ITV and Sky Sports said their reporters heard monkey chants being aimed at England forward Raheem Sterling and substitute Jude Bellingham.

During the game, Hungarian fans threw plastic cups towards England players and a flare landed on the field.

Footage was shown of one fan making a monkey gesture in the stands at the stadium and other individuals were seen behaving similarly.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.