England’s World Cup qualifier match against Hungary last night should have been a cause for celebration, after they thrashed the opposition 4-0.

But the atmosphere was marred after black players in the team Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham were subjected to racist abuse – including monkey chants – from Hungary fans, who reportedly also threw cups and flares onto the pitch as Sterling celebrated his first goal.

England’s players were also jeered loudly as they took the knee in the now-familiar stance against racism and discrimination.

It is not the first time the players have been abused, with the team frequently booed for taking the knee. And after the Euro 2020 final, abuse was particularly bad with people using social media to slam players including Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka after they failed to score penalties against Italy.

With the abuse renewed last night, people have spoken out against it once more in an effort to encourage change.

Speaking after the match, England manager Gareth Southgate said those who chant against the players are “dinosaurs”. He said: “It sounds like there has been some incidents and everybody knows what we stand for as a team and that that’s completely unacceptable.

“They (the players) recognise the world is changing. Although some people are stuck in their way of thinking and prejudices, they are going to be the dinosaurs in the end because the world is modernising.

“Hungary isn’t anywhere near as diverse in their population as our country is, it is still taking us a long, long time to get to where we need to get to and inevitably, if other countries don’t have that same level of diversity, it is probably not in their thinking in the same way as in our country.”

He added: “The individuals found responsible need to be dealt with. I think there’s evidence people were filmed and we have got to hope that the authorities deal with that in the right way.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the behaviour was “disgraceful” and urged FIFA to act.

While leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer called the behaviour “completely unacceptable”.

Piers Morgan said:

And Jack Grealish added:

The Football Association told Sky News it would be asking FIFA to investigate.

A spokesperson said: “It is extremely disappointing to hear reports of discriminatory actions towards some of our England players.”

There is a “collective determination” to tackle such matters, they added.

Here’s how other social media users reacted:

The ground will be empty for the next two UEFA-organised matches.

It follows sanctions after racist and homophobic abuse marred Hungary’s Euro 2020 fixtures, with the third match of a stadium ban suspended.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)