Boris Johnson urges FIFA to act over racism towards England players in Hungary

Prime Minister Boris Johnson led the condemnation of racist abuse directed towards England players in Thursday night’s World Cup qualifier in Hungary and called on FIFA to act.

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling and Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham were targeted with monkey chants during the match in Budapest, which England won 4-0.

The PM tweeted from his official account: “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.”

FIFA, the world governing body of football with disciplinary jurisdiction over the qualification tournaments across the globe for the 2022 finals in Qatar, will be expected to open disciplinary proceedings against the Hungarian federation.

Its regulations provide for reoffenders to be deducted points, ordered to play behind closed doors and even expelled from competitions.

Hungary were given a two-match stadium ban by European football’s governing body UEFA as recently as July after allegations of racist chanting and homophobic banners being displayed during Euro 2020 matches against France and Portugal.

However, the ban did not come into effect for the World Cup qualifier against England because it is a FIFA competition.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland also condemned the “deeply depressing” racism targeted at England players.

Cups are thrown at Sterling  after his goal against Hungary in Budapest
Cups were thrown at Sterling after his goal against Hungary in Budapest (Attila Trenka/PA)

He told Sky News: “The message has to go out loud and clear from leaders in society, from all of us who have responsibility, that these young men are working, they are exemplars to the community, they inspire other young people, they represent what’s good in our society.

“That’s why we’ve just got to keep getting the message out there that racism has no space in sport, no place in our society and we should be celebrating these people not denigrating them.”

England’s players were also booed before kick-off after they took the knee as a gesture against racism.