On Tuesday, FIFA ordered Hungary to play its next World Cup qualifier without spectators as retaliation for the latest racial abuse by its fans during England’s match in Budapest.
The Hungarian federation was also penalized 200,000 Swiss francs ($217,000 US) by the international governing body, one of the highest financial fines ever imposed on a country.
If there are any more incidences of abuse, the side will have to play another FIFA match without a crowd, with the second match of the penalty being postponed for a two-year probationary term.
If FIFA had been requested to apply a UEFA sanction for discriminatory abuse during European Championship events, Hungary’s match against England on Sept. 2 in Budapest would have already been played without spectators. During the Nations League in June, a two-game spectator restriction will go into force.
The penalty continues their streak of games in empty stadiums due to racism in qualifying for the 2014 and 2022 World Cups, as well as Euro 2016, indicating a systematic problem with racism among Hungarian supporters.
“The committee decided that Hungary would play its next two home matches in FIFA competitions without spectators, the second match being suspended for a probationary period,” FIFA said, “after analyzing and taking into consideration all the circumstances of the case, particularly the seriousness of the incidents (racist words and actions, throwing of objects, lighting of fireworks, blocked stairways).”
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