Hungary ordered to play WC qualifier behind closed doors

Hungary must play its next World Cup qualifier behind closed doors after FIFA imposed a ban on fans and a 200,000 Swiss franc ($217,000) fine following racist incidents in this month's match against England.

England's Declan Rice, John Stones and Jack Grealish react after a flare is thrown on to the pitch by Hungary fans after Harry Maguire scored England's third goal, September 2, 2021.   -  REUTERS

Hungary must play its next World Cup qualifier behind closed doors after FIFA imposed a ban on fans and a 200,000 Swiss franc ($217,000) fine following racist incidents in this month's match against England.

FIFA said the sanctions, which include a further game behind closed doors which has been suspended, were imposed on the Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ) "in relation to the racist behaviour of numerous supporters" during the game at the Puskas Arena in Budapest, which England won 4-0.

"After analysing.....all the circumstances of the case, specifically the seriousness of the incidents (racist words and actions, throwing of objects, lighting of fireworks, blocked stairways), the (Disciplinary) Committee decided that the MLSZ would play its next two home matches in FIFA competitions without spectators, the second match being suspended for a probationary period of two years," FIFA said in a statement.

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Hungary's next qualifier is against Albania on October 9.

It will also have to play its next two games in UEFA competition behind closed doors after a UEFA sanction for "discriminatory behaviour" by fans was imposed in July following incidents during the team's Euro 2020 games at the Puskas Arena.

MLSZ was not immediately available for comment.

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