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4 Sep, 2021 11:53

Hungarian foreign minister makes dig at England players over anthem booing – as fan ban pledge by FA makes no mention of racism

Hungarian foreign minister makes dig at England players over anthem booing – as fan ban pledge by FA makes no mention of racism

Hungary's foreign minister has called out England's footballers over anthem jeering in London before the Euro 2020 final – while the country's FA has vowed to ban disruptive fans for two years but avoided mentioning racism claims.

England's 4-0 win over Hungary on Thursday hit the headlines over fiery scenes in Budapest, featuring several flashpoints including loud booing for the visiting players when they took a pre-match knee, cups and other objects being thrown by the crowd and multiple allegations of racism.

Peter Szijjarto, the long-serving Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade for Hungarian leader Viktor Orban's government, appears to have taken exception to criticism by England players of the atmosphere at the Ferenc Puskas Stadium, which Manchester City star Jack Grealish called "unacceptable"

"The English players complain about [the] 'hostile atmosphere in Budapest'," said Szijjarto, sharing a clip of the crowd at Wembley Stadium during the playing of the Italian national anthem before the Azzurri's victory over England to win the tournament in July.

"The following shot was taken at Wembley before the European Championships final.

"The Italian anthem is barely audible amid the whistling of English fans. Have they also mentioned this?"

Much was made of the crescendo of booing that greeted the Three Lions team briefly taking the knee before their victorious World Cup qualifier – a gesture in support of Black Lives Matter that Orban has condemned.

The footage reproduced by Szijjarto seemed to show the eventual champions' anthem being drowned out at a febrile Wembley, with a man appearing to tell the Italians to "f*ck off" at the start of the clip.

The showpiece was marred by chaotic scenes of disorder throughout the day and during the match, including violence around London and fans forcing their way into the stadium.

There was talk of Hungary's FA issuing bans to fans who booed the taking of the knee when England visited, although some pointed out the potential difficulties of administering punishments given how many supporters appeared to be jeering shortly before kick-off.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the English FA have condemned the events during the game, which they said included racism.

Also on rt.com ‘Eradicate this behavior for good’: UK PM Johnson demands FIFA action after ‘racist abuse’ hurled at England players in Hungary

The Hungarian FA (MLSZ) has promised to hand down two-year bans to supporters who disrupted the match, although they made no mention of the alleged racist abuse. 

"The vast majority of the 60,000 fans present in the Puskas Arena supported the teams in a sporting manner, cheering on the Hungarian national team even when the team was already losing," it said in a statement.

"It is in their defense that the minority of disruptive ticket-holders need to be identified and severely punished.

"Fans entering the field of play, throwing flares and plastic cups are in the process of being identified. The MLSZ has already filed or will file police reports against them and will pass on any financial penalties to the perpetrators through civil litigation.

"Furthermore, at the end of proceedings, those found guilty can expect a two-year ban from all sporting events."

Also on rt.com Southgate admits UK has ‘similar’ racism issue to Hungary after England stars are pelted & booed for kneeling during chaotic match

Elsewhere, FIFA has promised "adequate" action will be taken against Hungary "as soon as it receives match reports".

"First and foremost, Fifa strongly rejects any form of racism and violence and has a very clear zero-tolerance stance for such behavior in football," the global authority clarified in its own statement.

FIFA's European equivalent, UEFA, have already ordered Hungary to play three matches behind closed doors as a result of homophobic and racist abuse dished out during Euro 2020 group games.

Fans were allowed in against England because the match came under FIFA's jurisdiction.

Also on rt.com Opportunists like Boris Johnson should look closer to home before condeming Hungary in popularity points contest over racism