British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called on world soccer’s governing body FIFA to take action over what he described as “disgraceful” racist abuse aimed at England players by Hungary fans during a World Cup qualifier.
“It is completely unacceptable that England players were racially abused in Hungary last night,” he wrote on Twitter.
Johnson urged FIFA to take “strong action against those responsible to ensure that this kind of disgraceful behaviour is eradicated from the game for good.”
British broadcasters reported that Black England players were targeted with racial abuse by some Hungary supporters during Thursday’s World Cup qualifier in Budapest that England won 4-0.
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 also landed on the field, and the Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ) said any fans identified would face legal action.
But it did not address the racism allegations.
“We need to identify the troublemakers and strictly punish them in order to protect these fans,” the MLSZ said in a statement on its website.
“The fans who threw flares and cups on the pitch are being identified. The Hungarian Football Federation will report/has already reported them to the police,” they said, adding that those responsible faced two-year bans.
England manager Gareth Southgate and several of the team’s players said they did not hear the reported abuse.
“We weren’t conscious of it on the side and I don’t know whether the players on the pitch were, but I think everyone knows what we have talked about for two or three years,” he told Sky Sports.
“They know what we stand for as a team, and we have to hope that we can continue to eradicate racism from not only football but life in general.”