England players targeted with racist abuse in Hungary during World Cup qualifying win | Football News

England players were racially abused during their 4-0 win over Hungary in Budapest having been booed when they took a knee prior to the World Cup Qualifier.

The Football Association has called on FIFA to investigate the chants which were aimed at Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham.

Reporting from inside the Puskas Arena in Budapest, Sky Sports News’ Rob Dorsett confirmed he had heard “sporadic monkey chants from various areas of the crowd, directed primarily towards Raheem Sterling when he has touched the ball – and including when he set up Harry Kane for the second goal.

“I have seen four separate individuals specifically involved in the racist chanting. The most recent of those was directed at Jude Bellingham, as he warmed up right in front of us, and close to the Hungarian ultras.”

Raheem Sterling was also hit by a cup thrown from the stands as he celebrated giving England the lead in Hungary
Raheem Sterling was also hit by a cup thrown from the stands as he celebrated giving England the lead in Hungary

Having been told about the abuse after the game, England captain Harry Kane described the incidents as “totally unacceptable”.

Speaking to Sky Sports News in Budapest, England manager Gareth Southgate said: “We weren’t conscious of it on the side. I don’t know if the players on the pitch were. But everyone knows what we’ve spoken about for two or three years.

“They know what we stand for as a team and we have to hope we can continue to eradicate racism not only in football but from life in general.”

The FA released a statement after the game which read: “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.”

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Fans in Hungary booed England’s players as they took a knee before kick-off in the World Cup qualifier in Budapest.

The England players had been loudly heckled at kick-off when they took a knee.

The squad had discussed the issue in the build-up to the game, and were made aware of the fact that the Republic of Ireland players were loudly booed in June when they took a knee before their friendly with Hungary in the nearby Szusza Ferenc Stadion.

Loud boos and jeers were clearly audible as England’s players made the gesture, which draws attention to the fight against racial inequality in the game and society.

Declan Rice drinks from a cup thrown onto the pitch during England's win over Hungary
Declan Rice drinks from a cup thrown onto the pitch during England’s win over Hungary

The England players were also pelted with cups thrown from the crowd after Sterling had opened the scoring in Budapest.

A flare was then thrown onto the pitch following Harry Maguire’s goal to put the Three Lions 3-0 ahead.

With the game played under FIFA jurisdiction, a full-capacity crowd of 60,000 were present at the stadium, despite Hungary having been ordered to play their next three UEFA competition matches behind closed doors – with one of those games suspended for two years – following racist abuse from supporters and homophobic banners in the stands during their Euro 2020 group stage matches in Budapest.

A homophobic banner was seen in the stands during Hungary’s defeat to Portugal in their opening game at the tournament, while monkey chants were also heard during their draw with France.

Hungary’s Italian coach, Marco Rossi, had said ahead of the fixture that he would be “on the side” of England’s players if they were to be subjected to racist abuse, while the Hungarian FA president Sandor Csanyi wrote in the match programme to call on supporters to not make “racist, discriminatory or homophobic chants”.

England’s players were booed earlier this summer by some of their own supporters when they took a knee for their Euro 2020 warm-up games and again by small sections of the crowd in their Euro 2020 opener against Croatia.

Players taking a knee have also been booed at some club matches since the domestic season started.

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