Hungary’s national football team will play games behind closed doors and have been hit with a fine by UEFA over racist abuse and homophobic banners witnessed among their fans during Euro 2020.
Hungary gave a good account of themselves after suffering an initial 3-0 Group F loss to holders Portugal – inspired by a late Cristiano Ronaldo brace – before drawing 1-1 with World Cup winners France and only just missing out on qualification to the knockout phases when Leon Gortezka scored a late equalizer for Germany in a 2-2 draw.
Yet some of their supporters let them down in the first two of those outings. At a packed Puskas Arena in Budapest, which welcomed around 60,000 punters, a homophobic banner was seen on display in the stands during the Portugal rout, while monkey chants were aimed at France’s black players including Kylian Mbappe.
In Munich, where UEFA refused the local council’s request to light Bayern’s Allianz Arena up in rainbow colors, there were also reports of homophobic chanting coming from those that had traveled to cheer Hungary on in Bavaria.
Uefa announce Hungary are forced to play next two games behind closed doors – with a third suspended – due to "discriminatory behaviour of supporters".
They will also be fined €100,000 and be ordered to display a banner with the wording “#EqualGame”, with the UEFA logo on it.
— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) July 9, 2021
The administrative body remarked that mayor Dieter Reiter’s reason for the request came as a response to controversial legislation passed in Hungary, which bans the inclusion of gay people in school educational materials or programs for under-18s.
It therefore argued that it could not grant the request, leading to Dieter branding the ruling “shameful”.
There were further incidents in the Hungarian capital, where Netherlands fans were reportedly banned from entering the Puskas Arena for their last 16 loss to the Czech Republic with rainbow flags or a fan zone in the city.
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UEFA rushed to deny it had instructed security to confiscate the items and has been accused of cowering to the regime of conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
But it has now taken action against his country’s fanbase and national team with the announcement of the punishment.
One of the matches is suspended for two years, and the Hungarian Football Federation has also been hit with a fine of $119,000 while being ordered to display a banner promoting UEFA’s ‘Equal Game’ campaign.
The ruling doesn’t apply to upcoming qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, including a game against England in September, because those matches fall under FIFA jurisdiction.
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