England players had the full support of the Football Association as they left the field on Thursday night for the sickening racial abuse against Hungary – and will continue to do so in the future.
World football’s governing body, FIFA, confirmed their intention to launch an official investigation into the scenes in which English black footballers were targeted by monkey chants by home supporters in Budapest.
England players (above) had the full support of the Football Association if they were to walk off the pitch Thursday night over the sickening racial abuse against Hungary
And Sports post can reveal:
- That the FA chiefs would have fully supported the players who walked away – and taken the resulting chin sanctions
- Anti-racism organization FARE had mockers in the crowd and has evidence of alleged racist abuse
- That Boris Johnson’s condemnation of the racial abuse has been met with a sense of confusion from the camp in England, given the government’s failure to support the team’s stance on kneeling during the European Championship
- There is a growing sense within the FA that sanctions for discriminatory behavior should apply to both FIFA and UEFA competitions, as Hungary already has an excellent stadium ban from serving from the European Championship.
FIFA has launched an investigation into a number of vicious incidents during England’s win over Hungary (Photo: Raheem Sterling targeted by trophies after opening score)
If players are subjected to continued racial abuse during a match, umpires can stop the proceedings and remove both teams from the field of play.
When England players faced racist abuse in Bulgaria in 2019, UEFA’s three-step protocol was implemented in an effort to stop the taunts against Gareth Southgate’s players, but in the end neither team left the field.
However, Sportsmail understands that the FA chiefs were fully prepared for the scenario of the England players, led by captain Harry Kane, who made the decision to walk off the field in Hungary on Thursday evening.
Without the referee’s permission, this could have resulted in hefty sanctions for the FA. Nevertheless, it was a situation the FA was prepared for if England’s players felt they had to take a stand.
Winger Sterling was subjected to monkey chants by parts of the Budapest home crowd
Racial chants also targeted teen Jude Bellingham as he warmed up during the match
The FA’s stance is very encouraging, especially with Wednesday’s trip to Poland on the horizon, where there are concerns that England players could be greeted with similar behaviour.
The FA has played a leading role in pushing for equality in English football in recent years.
The governing body’s elite coaching placement program, developed by Paul Elliott, the FA’s Chair of Inclusion Advisory – who also played a leading role in introducing the FA’s historic Leadership Diversity Code, paved the way for Chris Powell and Paul Nevin to become key members of the England senior team coaching staff.
Powell and Nevin were sitting on the couch in Budapest.
Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham were both the target of monkey chants throughout the match, while the England base squad were roundly booed for taking the knee before kick-off.
England’s players all took the knee before kick-off, a gesture that was greeted with hostility
Manager Gareth Southgate and his coaching staff are also on the knee in the photo
However, on Friday there was a feeling from the England dressing room that some players did not hear the abuse during the match.
England boss Southgate kept his players in the dressing room longer than usual to determine which players had heard the abuse.
Nevertheless, the concern that many players were unaware will not stop FIFA from conducting a thorough investigation.
Indeed, the anti-racism network FARE is said to have had mockers in the stadium and have footage to support claims that players have been racially abused.
Likewise, numerous broadcasters and photographers on the pitch are believed to have witnessed the taunts.
Boris Johnson’s condemnation of the racial abuse has been met with a sense of confusion from the camp in England, given the government’s failure to back their stance on Euro 2020
In addition to the racist element, fans threw rockets – including coins – onto the field.
Thursday’s outrageous scenes were roundly condemned on Friday, with the PFA and Kick It Out both releasing statements.
Similarly, Prime Minister Johnson wrote on Twitter on Friday: “It is completely unacceptable that England players were racially abused in Hungary last night.
“I urge FIFA to take strong action against those responsible to ensure that this kind of disgraceful behavior is eradicated from the game for good.”
However, it is clear that a number of England players find Johnson’s comments hypocritical, given his government’s stance on the team’s decision to bow to its knees during the European Championship.
Johnson declined to condemn supporters who booed England players for taking the knee before the tournament, while Home Secretary Priti Patel said: ‘I just don’t support people taking part in that kind of gesture.’
Organization FARE had mockers in the crowd and has evidence of alleged racist abuse
Indeed, Johnson’s tweet did not go unnoticed in the camp in England on Friday.
The fact that Hungary had already been hit by a UEFA stadium ban but were still able to play their World Cup qualifier against England in front of supporters was heavily questioned on Friday.
Hungary was banned from two matches by UEFA for discriminatory behavior by their fans during the European Championship, but because the World Cup is a FIFA competition, the sanction was not enforced on Thursday night.
However, both governing bodies blamed privately on Friday; UEFA insisted it was not under their jurisdiction to impose a ban during a FIFA competition.
FIFA, on the other hand, believed that their counterparts had the power to close the stadium to fans.
And there was a feeling on Friday that there should be more coordination on such issues, especially those as important as racial abuse, from both organizations, with the issue likely to be discussed by the FA in the coming weeks.