No fans for 1 match, Hungary avoids World Cup ban for racism | National sports



LONDON (AP) – FIFA on Tuesday ordered Hungary to play a crowd-free game over racist abuse against England players, although Europe’s main anti-discrimination group has said it may be time to expel the World Cup qualifying team on several occasions. discriminatory behavior of its supporters.

Monkey chants were aimed at England striker Raheem Sterling and unused substitute Jude Bellingham, who are black, at Puskas Arena on September 2 – just as Budapest players suffered discriminatory abuse at the European Championship in June.

The Hungarian football federation was also fined 200,000 Swiss francs ($ 217,000), one of the heaviest financial penalties imposed on a country by the world governing body. The federation claimed to have implemented “all reasonable measures” by asking fans not to be racist and that “punishing a crowd that creates a good atmosphere” is “rather counterproductive”.

But a sign of a systemic problem of racism on the part of Hungarian fans, the FIFA sanction extends the country’s race to have to organize matches in empty stadiums due to racism in the qualifiers for the 2014 and 2022 World Cups, Euro 2016 and the UEFA Nations League. year.

Hungary’s match against England in Budapest would have already been played without spectators if FIFA had been asked to apply a UEFA sanction for discriminatory abuse in European Championship matches. But this two-game spectator ban will take effect next June at the Nations League, which the anti-racism network FARE sees as a sign of the rambling way in which sport punishes racism.

“FIFA’s ban on Hungary for racism and the huge fine are welcome and a signal from FIFA of a renewed determination to punish racism,” FARE Executive Director Piara Powar told The Associated Press. “But it also means that Hungary will serve bans from two different football governing bodies at European and international level at the same time, the escalation principle has not been applied, it will not address the problem of racism in stadiums longer-term Hungarian. “

Hungary are due to host Albania on October 9 in an empty stadium in their next World Cup qualifier. The team will also have to play another FIFA match without a crowd if there are future incidents of abuse, with the second match of the sanction being suspended for a probationary period of two years.

But had FIFA taken the previous cases into account and the UEFA sanction had yet to take effect, Powar said Hungary should have been stranded for next year’s World Cup in Qatar.

“This case highlights the need to ensure that regulations ensuring a consistency of approach between governing bodies are in place,” said Powar. “If all Hungarian offenses had been taken into account, they would be threatened with exclusion from the World Cup and corrective measures would have been put in place. There should be better coordination between confederations, such as UEFA and FIFA, to coordinate the action.

“In this case, UEFA should have asked FIFA to apply its previous sanction and the Hungary-England game was played behind closed doors. An administrative loophole allowed racism to flourish.”

The FIFA Disciplinary Committee ruled that there had been “racist behavior by many supporters” during the game against England this month which took place in front of a crowd of nearly 60,000 spectators at the Puskas Arena.

The verdict came “after having analyzed and taken into consideration all the circumstances of the case, in particular the seriousness of the incidents,” FIFA said in a statement highlighting “racist words and actions, throwing objects, fireworks, stairs blocked “by Hungary. Fans.

The Hungarian Football Association said “behavior which has turned out to be racist towards players must be deeply condemned” while asserting that only a “small minority” was responsible and questioning the need to close its stadium to supporters.

“Anyone in the Puskás Arena who engages in racist chants or behaves in a discriminatory manner can be seen as opposing the federation and its national team,” the federation said. “These ill-behaved individuals intentionally caused damage to Hungarian football and therefore they can expect the most severe penalties.”

FIFA’s claim to take a “clear zero-tolerance stance against such heinous behavior in football” has been challenged by the anti-racist English football organization.

“What does the zero tolerance approach mean? Words that read well on paper, but we will never adhere to them, ”tweeted Troy Townsend, Kick It Out Development Manager. “Either way, we have our own issues and don’t even go that far with punishments.


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