Hungary ordered to play WC qualifier behind closed doors

England’s team celebrates scoring during the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification Group I football match between Hungary and England, at the Puskas Arena in Budapest on September 2, 2021. — AFP pic
England’s team celebrates scoring during the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification Group I football match between Hungary and England, at the Puskas Arena in Budapest on September 2, 2021. — AFP pic

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MANCHESTER, Sept 21 — Hungary must play their next World Cup qualifier behind closed doors after Fifa imposed a ban on fans and a 200,000 Swiss franc (RM907,700) fine following racist incidents in this month’s match against England.

Fifa said the sanctions, which include a further game behind closed doors which has been suspended, were imposed on the Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ) “in relation to the racist behaviour of numerous supporters” during the game at the Puskas Arena in Budapest, which England won 4-0.

“After analysing.....all the circumstances of the case, specifically the seriousness of the incidents (racist words and actions, throwing of objects, lighting of fireworks, blocked stairways), the (Disciplinary) Committee decided that the MLSZ would play its next two home matches in Fifa competitions without spectators, the second match being suspended for a probationary period of two years,” Fifa said in a statement.

Hungary’s next qualifier is against Albania on October 9.

They will also have to play their next two games in Uefa competition behind closed doors after a Uefa sanction for “discriminatory behaviour” by fans was imposed in July following incidents during the team’s Euro 2020 games at the Puskas Arena.

MLSZ was not immediately available for comment.

British broadcasters ITV and Sky Sports said their reporters heard monkey chants being aimed at England forward Raheem Sterling and substitute Jude Bellingham during the September 2 match.

During the game, Hungarian fans threw plastic cups towards England players and a flare landed on the field.

Footage was shown of one fan making a monkey gesture in the stands at the Puskas Arena and other individuals were seen behaving similarly. — Reuters

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