Gareth Southgate, Rio Ferdinand and Keir Starmer have criticized Hungarian fans for their ‘unacceptable’ racist insult to England’s black players during last night’s World Cup qualifier.
Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham were subjected to vicious monkey chants during the match, while Sterling was also pelted with plastic cups after opening the score.
England boss Gareth Southgate said: ‘It is not acceptable. We took our stand, got the hang of it, well, I don’t think the group of players we’ve had could do anything more for that cause.”
The Labor Party leader tweeted: ‘Another dominant performance from England and a great result. But again, our England team is being subjected to disgusting racist abuse. Totally unacceptable behaviour.
“Strong action must be taken against Hungary to protect players and show that racism has no place in football.”
Sir Keir Starmer and Rio Ferdinand were among those who condemned the despicable behavior
Meanwhile, Rio Ferdinand asked European football’s governing body what action it planned to take, tweeting: ‘@UEFA, interested to see what your response/sanctions will be to the racism the @England players received in #Hungary last night . Totally unacceptable.’
Players seemed shielded from the abuse, but the chanting could be heard from the stands. England captain Harry Kane and a number of his other teammates all condemned the abuse after the match, which England won 4-0.
“I haven’t heard,” Kane told ITV after the game. “I’ll talk to the boys and see if they’ve heard. We will have to report it to UEFA if the rules allow it and if that was the case then hopefully UEFA can act strongly.”
The Football Association said in a statement: “It is extremely disappointing to hear reports of discriminatory actions against some of our English players.
“We will ask FIFA to investigate the matter. We will continue to support the players and staff in our collective determination to raise awareness and address discrimination in all its forms.”
Kick It Out CEO Tony Burnett has urged FIFA to investigate the matter urgently. “Kick It Out was shocked to see the actions of some Hungarian fans,” he said.
“We are proud to support the players and staff of England, who have once again acted with strength, grace and integrity in the face of racism that has no place in our game or society.
“This is not the first incident like this in Hungary, so we urge FIFA to investigate this matter urgently.
“Those responsible must be held accountable and steps taken to ensure that scenes like this are not repeated.”
Sterling was also pelted with cups of beer as he celebrated his strike in the second half
England’s Declan Rice, John Stones and Jack Grealish react after a flare is thrown on the field by Hungarian fans
England’s players were also booed for having to take a knee before the game. Defender John Stones insisted that the squad continue to fight for what they believe in.
“It’s so sad to think that this is happening during our matches and I hope UEFA and whoever has to take care of it does and I’m sure they will,” he said.
“We stand together as a team and we will continue to fight for what we believe in as a team and what we believe is right.
“I think we definitely have the mentality of ‘let the football do the talking’ and tonight we did that.
“We’ve celebrated our goals like it’s the last we’re going to score and that’s incredible to have as a team and as players.
“We live the game and are so passionate about the shirt and how we behave on the pitch. It is our passion, let us speak football and it showed tonight.’
Declan Rice said, “We’ve talked about what could possibly happen, we haven’t heard anything. It’s a shame, something has to be done. They can’t go through with stadium bans if this continues to happen when we play out in places like this.”
Jack Grealish added his comment on the incident on Twitter, writing: ‘Brilliant victory in an unacceptable atmosphere. But well done guys.’
The ugly scenes at the Hungarian national stadium last night sparked a wave of criticism
The match had been ‘red-listed’ by FIFA due to a high risk of racial and homophobic abuse following behavior by Hungarian supporters during their Euro 2020 campaign this summer, which saw the team receive a three-match stadium ban from UEFA after incidents against France and Portugal.
England captain Harry Kane walks across the field with a torch in the background
The ban’s third match will be suspended for a two-year trial period, with Hungary also being ordered to display a banner promoting equality in future matches.
In addition, the Hungarian Football Association was fined £85,500 for the number of violations committed by fans.
However, Hungary was able to play against the Three Lions in front of 67,000 spectators at the Ferenc Puskas Stadium in Budapest as they played in a FIFA competition.
Arsenal legend and pundit Ian Wright insisted governing bodies don’t care enough about the issue.
“You can’t believe two organizations can’t come together to ban them,” Wright told ITV.
“Black players will know that they are likely to be racially abused. Once Sterling commits a foul it’s embarrassing, don’t know what to say about FIFA and UEFA, they don’t care enough, they don’t care enough.”
Presenter Chris Kamara also criticized Hungary’s supporters, writing on Twitter: ‘Well done England. Disgusting behavior from many Hungarian fans in the stadium.
“The England players behaved impeccably, huge respect for everyone. Oh and it was 4-0 by the way.’
It is not the first time that English players have been racially abused in connection with an international match. The team famously threatened to walk off the field in a clash against Montenegro in 2019 after persistent chanting aimed at Raheem Sterling and Danny Rose.
And following their final Euro 2020 defeat to Italy on penalties, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka all received racist messages on social media after missing crucial kicks.
Officials from the organizers were on hand in Budapest to film incidents of racial abuse and to see if supporters booed England on the knee. The crowd had booed the Republic of Ireland players for the anti-racism gesture in June.
That opposition was supported by the country’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, who argued that Hungarian culture should be accepted and warned others not to “provoke” fans by kneeling.