RACE STORM Hungary race shame as ‘monkey chants’ aimed at Sterling and Bellingham after fans booed England players taking knee
thesun– A large section of supporters jeered Southgate’s side as they made a stand against racism before kick-off.
That came after a plea to fans from Hungarian FA president Sandor Csanyi in the match programme to not make “racist, discriminatory or homophobic chants”.
And the poor behaviour of Hungarian fans was on show again during the game as goals from Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, Harry Maguire and Declan Rice put Gareth Southgate’s men one step closer to qualification for Qatar next year.
Plastic cups of beer were launched towards Sterling as he celebrated his opener, with an emotional tribute to influencer pal Steffie Gregg who passed away after Covid-19 complications this week.
Rice made light of the situation as he pretended to take a sip from one of them.
But things soon became more serious as flares were launched after following goals before troubling reports of racism emerged.
ITV pitch side reporter Gabriel Clarke said on the live broadcast that Sterling and Bellingham were the targets of racist taunts.
Clarke said: “We’re behind the goal that England are attacking.
“I’m sad to report some monkey chanting from supporters in the ultras section directed first at Raheem Sterling and then Jude Bellingham when he was warming up in this corner of the ground.
“I’m not sure if the players heard any of that.
“The Hungarian FA have warned fans not to do this but it’s been audible and it’s been visible.”
England captain Harry Kane said after the game that he didn’t hear the racist chants but would talk to his players about them.
Skipper Kane said: “I didn’t hear that. I will talk to the boys and see if they heard any of it or not.
“Look, we will report it to Uefa as the rules permit and if it is the case then Uefa can come down strong.”
And manager Southgate added: “We were aware of booing but weren’t aware of anything else but I need to speak to the players and if that’s the case it’s very disappointing.
“As a team we have dealt with a very difficult atmosphere in a football sense. It’s not acceptable. Everyone knows, I’ve said enough about racism over the last two years, you know where I stand on it,
“But we also have to look at ourselves, we haven’t got our own house in order. I don’t want to come here and make a big fuss about Hungary but if it’s happened action should be taken. At any level it’s not acceptable whether it’s one person or an entire stand.
“It was definitely an incredible atmosphere and in a football sense the players kept the crowd quiet. I have heard reports of racism and we were not aware of that during the game.
“I am not sure we were particularly sensible celebrating right in front of their fans with the flare but the racism is the key part.
“We try to take a right stand, we knew taking the knee would get an adverse reaction and anything of that nature is unacceptable.
“I think players recognise that the world is changing and although some people are stuck in their ways of thinking and their prejudices, they’re going to be the dinosaurs in the end because the world is modernising.”
An FA spokesperson later added: “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 stand in our collective determination to highlight and tackle discrimination in all its forms.”
There were fears England players would be booed for taking the knee after Uefa ordered Hungary to play three games behind closed doors.
That lenient punishment was given after Hungarian fans were heard chanting horrific racist abuse at Euro 2020.
Disgraceful homophobic banners were also seen around the Puskas Arena in Budapest during the tournament.
Hungary’s penalty is only applicable in Uefa competitions and two of those behind-closed-doors games are suspended for two years.
The Hungarian Football Federations was also fined a measly €100,000 – around £86k – for their fans’ ugly actions.
Republic of Ireland players were also booed by Hungarian supporters in Budapest for taking the knee during their friendly in June.
Hungary manager Marco Rossi vowed before the match to stand by any action taken by England players during the World Cup qualifier.
But his players chose NOT to take the knee in solidarity with their English counterparts.