Sports World

World football body opens disciplinary proceedings after racist abuse aimed at England players

FIFA launches disciplinary proceedings after racist abuse was aimed at England players during Thursday’s 4-0 win over Hungary in a World Cup qualifier in Budapest.

English players Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham were both targeted.

They were also pelted with objects in the second half and a flare was thrown on the pitch by the home fans at Puskas Arena.

England condemned the abuse as “completely unacceptable”.

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Bellingham, 18, tweeted on Friday: “Part of the game and always will be until proper punishments are put in place by those with the power. We can’t let hate win, keep smiling.”

“It is a disgrace how it keeps on happening,” said Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount.

“When these things happen, consequences need to take place and the FA will be speaking to FIFA about it and hopefully it keeps getting put to them and they hand out bans.

“But it needs to stop and we need to get this out of football.”

British Prime Minister Boris 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”.

On Friday afternoon, football’s world governing body FIFA said disciplinary proceedings had been opened “following analysis of the match reports”.

It added: “Once again, FIFA would like to state that our position remains firm and resolute in rejecting any form of racism and violence as well as any other form of discrimination or abuse.

“We have a very clear zero tolerance stance against such abhorrent behaviours in football.”

Despite UEFA ordering Hungary to play three home games behind closed doors after their supporters’ discriminatory behaviour, fans were allowed in on Thursday as the game came under FIFA’s jurisdiction.

The UEFA ban relates to racism and other discriminatory conduct which took place during Euro 2020 in June.

While UEFA manage World Cup qualifiers involving European teams, FIFA is able to take action because it is their competition.

“FIFA strongly rejects any form of racism and violence and has a very clear zero tolerance stance for such behaviour in football,” the game’s global governing body said.