Gareth Southgate and FA respond to racist chanting from Hungary fans in England win

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Hungary v England: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

England’s impressive win was marred by racist chanting in the Budapest crowd (Picture: Getty)

Gareth Southgate said he was unaware of the monkey chanting which took place during England’s 4-0 win over Hungary but backed Uefa to act accordingly, with a view to ‘eradicating racism’ from football and ‘life in general’.

Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, Harry Maguire and Declan Rice all got on the scoresheet in a dominant second-half display at Budapest’s Puskas Arena to ensure the Three Lions maintained their 100 per cent record in World Cup qualifying.

But unsavoury behaviour within some sections of the crowd overshadowed the one-sided Group I encounter, with both Sterling and England’s youngest player, Jude Bellingham, subjected to racist abuse as an already hostile atmosphere intensified after the break.

Manchester City attacker Sterling also had objects pelted down at him as he celebrated his 55th-minute opener next to the corner flag in front of a group of enraged Hungarian supporters.

Talk of such scenes coming to fruition dominated pre-match headlines after Hungary were ordered to play their next three Uefa competition games behind closed doors due to racist abuse and homophobic banners at the stadium during Euro 2020.

However, a full-capacity 60,000 home crowd packed into the stands on Thursday night as the qualifier was being played under Fifa jurisdiction.

FBL-WC-2022-QUALIFIERS-HUN-ENG

Sterling was pelted with objects as he celebrated England’s opening goal (Picture: Getty)

‘I can only go on what you’re telling me and if that is the case then we know it’s not acceptable,’ England head coach Southgate told Sky Sports when informed about several incidents of racist chanting.

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‘We weren’t conscious of it on the side and we don’t if the players on the pitch were but I think everybody 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 that we can continue to eradicate racism, not only from football but from life in general.’

Hungary v England: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Bellingham was subjected to racist abuse in Budapest (Picture: Getty)

According to Sky Sports, 18-year-old Borussia Dortmund midfielder Bellingham responded to the abuse being hurled at him by smiling and waving at the crowd as he warmed up on the touchline.

Asked whether teenager’s classy reaction spoke volumes about his character, Southgate replied: ‘It does but he shouldn’t have to suffer that quite frankly.

‘It’s fantastic from him that he’s shown that maturity and we know that our security guys have spoken to him since the game just to get his account of that.

‘But we don’t want to see it, everybody knows it’s not acceptable but he’s shown great maturity – if that’s the case – in how he’s dealt with that.’

Hungary v England: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Southgate’s side maintained their 100 per cent record in Group I (Picture: Getty)

Southgate is confident Uefa will come down strong on the culprits once England put their accounts forward.

Asked whether the FA would lodge an official complaint, Southgate responded: ‘I think Uefa have taken this fixture really seriously.

‘They’re obviously taking accounts on everything. I’m not really across all of the process of that but we’re just got to put the accounts forward we’ve heard and I’m sure Uefa will gather evidence from the sources.’

In a brief statement posted shortly after the final whistle, the FA confirmed that they would be asking Fifa to open an investigation into what took place in Budapest.

‘It is extremely disappointing to hear reports of discriminatory actions towards some of our England players,’ it said.

‘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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