- Gareth Southgate said Hungary fans who racially abused England players were “dinosaurs.”
- Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham were targeted during a World Cup qualifier in Budapest.
- “Some people are stuck in their ways of thinking and their prejudices,” he said.
England manager Gareth Southgate said the Hungary fans who racially abused his players were “dinosaurs.”
Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham were targeted by Hungary fans as England won 4-0 in Thursday’s World Cup qualifier in Budapest.
Sterling was pelted with cups and other projectiles by Hungary fans who reportedly shouted racist chants at him after he scored the opening goal.
Television cameras picked out at least one fan making a monkey gesture.
Bellingham was then targeted with racial abuse as he warmed up to come on as a late substitute.
“I’ve heard reports of racism, which I hadn’t heard during the game,” Southgate said during his post-match interview.
“Everyone knows what we stand for as a team, and that’s completely unacceptable. It has been reported. Our head of security has spoken to the players and taken their statements. We will deal with it in the right channels.
“The world is modernizing 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 changing.”
The Football Association said in a statement: “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.”
—Jack Grealish (@JackGrealish) September 2, 2021
In July, Hungary was ordered to play their next three home UEFA competition matches behind closed doors because of “discriminatory behavior” by their supporters at Euro 2020.
Because Thursday’s match was under FIFA jurisdiction, however, fans were allowed into the Ferenc Puskas Stadium.
The former England striker Ian Wright slammed the two organizations for not ensuring the ban was enforced across all competitions.
“You can’t believe that two organizations can’t get together and say they are banned,” Wright said on British broadcaster ITV.
“The sad thing is, Black players will know that they are probably going to get racially abused because they are banned as it is, and they are allowed back in.”
He added that FIFA and UEFA “don’t care enough to do anything about it.”
Piara Powar, executive director of the FARE, European soccer’s leading anti-discrimination network, agreed.
“This match should have been played behind closed doors,” he told The Associated Press. “It does not make sense that a set of supporters sanctioned for discrimination in the European Championships are then free to racially abuse members of the next team they play because it’s a World Cup qualifier.
“That is not a punitive sanction designed to deal with a chronic problem such as racism or homophobia. It is a pretense.”