Johnson rejects “shameful” racist crimes against English players in Hungary

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LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on world soccer’s governing body FIFA on Friday to respond to what he called “shameful” racist abuse by Hungarian fans against England players during a World Cup qualifier.

“It is totally unacceptable that England players were subjected to racist accusations in Hungary last night,” he wrote on Twitter.

Johnson urged the world soccer regulator to take “firm action against officials to ensure this type of disgraceful behavior is eradicated from the sport for good”.

British broadcasters reported that black English players were subjected to racist crimes by Hungarian fans during the match in Budapest, which England won 4-0.

ITV and Sky Sports said their reporters had heard imitations of monkeys directed at striker Raheem Sterling and reserve Judd Bellingham.

During the match, Hungarian fans threw plastic cups at the English players, and a torch was caught on the field. The Hungarian Football Association (MLSZ) said any fan would be prosecuted, but did not address the allegations of racism.

“We need to identify the rioters and punish them severely,” the association said in a statement posted on its website.

England coach Gareth Southgate and several players said they had not heard of the reported irregularities.

(Bur William Schaumberg et Simon Evans)

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