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Boris Johnson blasts ‘completely unacceptable’ racist abuse against England aces at Hungary match as FIFA launches probe

The US Sun
 2021-09-03
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BORIS Johnson has slammed the "completely unacceptable" racist abuse hurled at England players during last night's win over Hungary.

The PM urged FIFA to "take strong action" against fans who targeted Three Lions stars Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham.

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Three Lions stars were pelted with cups and flares during the game against Hungary Credit: Getty

Football's world governing body today announced that it has launched a probe into the shameful scenes.

England's players were booed as they took the knee at the start of the World Cup qualifier played in Budapest.

Later on in the game they were showered with flares and cups and reportedly targeted with monkey chants.

Boris said: "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 behaviour is eradicated from the game for good."

England ran out 0-4 winners on the night thanks to goals from Sterling, skipper Harry Kane, Harry Maguire and Declan Rice.

'Appalling' abuse

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland also blasted the "appalling" abuse Three Lions stars received and said it must be called out.

He fumed: "There are still too many communities and societies where this sort of appalling behaviour is not just tolerated but is normal.

"We saw that last night. It was deeply depressing, it was appalling.

"All of us have a responsibility to get the message out that these young men are working, they are exemplars to the community and inspire other young people.

"They represent what is good in our society. We should be celebrating these young people not denigrating them."

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer added: "Another dominant England performance and a great result.

"But once again, our England team are subjected to disgusting racist abuse. Completely unacceptable behaviour.

"Strong action must be taken against Hungary to protect players and show racism has no place in football."

There were more than 60,000 fans packed into the Puskas arena, in the Hungarian capital, for last night's game.

Eyewitnesses in the stadium said the first abuse was directed at Sterling after he opened the scoring for the Three Lions.

It was then later directed 18-year-old Bellingham while he was warming up on the touchline.

Video footage also appeared to show a fan making racist gestures.

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The game at the Puskas stadium was played out in front of more than 60,000 fans Credit: AP
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England ran out comfortable 4-0 winners on the night Credit: AFP

Hungary has previously been censured by footballing authorities for racist and homophobic chanting by its fans.

Back in July it was ordered by UEFA to play its next three home games behind closed doors.

But that decision didn't apply to last night's match because as a World Cup qualifier it came under world governing body FIFA's jurisdiction.

England players past and presented urged the authorities to come down hard on Hungary over the abuse.

Three Lions skipper Harry Kane said he hadn't initially heard the monkey chanting while on the pitch.

But he added: "We'll have to report it to UEFA as the rules permit and if it was the case then hopefully UEFA can come down strong."

Ex England defender Rio Ferdinand told the European governing body: "Interested to see what your response/sanctions will be to the racism the England players received in Hungary last night."

The national team's boss Gareth Southgate said: 'It's not acceptable. We have taken our stance, took the knee, right thing.

"I don't think the group of players that we've had could be doing anything more for that cause."

The FA said in a statement: "It is extremely disappointing to hear reports of discriminatory actions towards some of our England players.

"We will be asking FIFA to investigate the matter. We continue to support the players and staff in our collective determination to highlight and tackle discrimination in all its forms."

Tony Burnett, boss of the anti-racism charity Kick It Out, said football chiefs must "investigate this matter urgently.

He added: "We stand proudly in support of the England players and staff, who once again acted with strength, grace and integrity in the face of racism that has no place in our game or our society.

"This is not the first incident like this in Hungary, so we urge FIFA to investigate this matter urgently.

"Those responsible need to be held to account and steps need to be taken to ensure scenes like this are not repeated."

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