Gareth Southgate calls for protection for his players after abuse against Hungary
Cups and missiles were thrown at England players during the match in Budapest, with reports of monkey chants as well
England manager Gareth Southgate has called for FIFA to take strong action against Hungary after fans threw cups and objects at England players, with reports of monkey chants directed at Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham during the match as well.
There were loud boos when the England players took the knee before kickoff on Thursday night but this was just the start of the unrest.
When Sterling put England ahead in the 55th minute, objects were thrown at him and other players as they celebrated. Later, a flare was thrown on the pitch, and both Sterling and Jude Bellingham were targeted with racist abuse.
Southgate labelled those who were abusing his players as "dinosaurs" and insisted that the authorities must be tough on Hungary, saying that there is "no more this group of players or staff can do in the fight against racism".
He continued: "Other people have got to take the right action to try and make progress.
"Our players can’t do anything more than they have done in the past two or three years in trying to get the right messages out, take the right stands, and it’s for other people to protect them. It’s for me to protect them in the main, but for the authorities to protect them as well."
Southgate added that it would be unfair to criticise all Hungary fans for the crowd trouble and abuse.
"There’s a balance in the crowd," he said. "As we know at home not everybody causes problems. Tonight our anthem was really respected remarkably well.
"It’s not fair to criticise all the Hungarian fans. A lot were very generous and behaved extremely well. The individuals that are responsible need to be dealt with. I think there’s some evidence that people have been filmed and we’ve got to hope the authorities deal with that in the right way."
So proud of the players tonight 🏴 representing our country with class. These fans need to be banned for life. They are such a disgrace and non of our players should have to be put into these types of environments when doing they’re job.Hostile is one thing but this 😡 #England pic.twitter.com/7P3P6XobCs
— Lianne Sanderson (@liannesanderson) September 2, 2021
Southgate was also asked whether the abuse in Budapest was why his side continues to take the knee before matches.
The England manager said: "They 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. The world is modernising.
"Hungary isn’t anywhere near as diverse as our population. It’s taken us a long time to get to where we need to get to. We’ll continue to try to set the right example for young people in our country."
The Football Association has asked FIFA to launch an investigation into the events at the Puskas Arena.
The FA said: "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."