Fifa punishes Hungary over antisemitic chants

By Marcus Dysch, January 9, 2013
Israel's football squad outside Budapest's Dohany Street Synagogue

Israel's football squad outside Budapest's Dohany Street Synagogue

Hungary’s national football team will be forced to play its next match behind closed doors as a result of antisemitic chanting at a game with Israel.

Fifa instigated the punishment after investigating reports that Hungarian fans chanted “stinking Jews” and “Heil Benito Mussolini”, turned their backs during Hatikva and waved Palestinian and Iranian flags throughout a friendly in Budapest last August.

Organisations including Football Against Racism Europe and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre had contacted football’s world governing body about the incident.

The Fifa Disciplinary Committee said it “unanimously condemned the abhorrent episode of antisemitism” and actions of a “political, provocative and aggressive nature perpetrated by supporters of the Hungarian national team”.

The Hungarian Football Association was also fined £27,000.

Hungary’s match against Malta in March will now be played without spectators in the stadium.

Bulgaria will face a similar punishment after fans subjected Denmark defender Patrick Mtiliga to racist abuse and threw fireworks onto the pitch during a match last October.

Last week AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off the field after being racially abused by spectators at a friendly match in Italy.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter said players should not leave the field in such circumstances, but added that Mr Boateng had acted “courageously”.

● Uefa has announced it has opened disciplinary proceedings into the conduct of fans at Italian club Lazio.

Spectators in Rome allegedly made antisemitic chants during a Europa League game against Tottenham last November. Uefa will also investigate Totenham for reported disturbances among the club's fans at the match.

The case will be discussed by Uefa's control and disciplinary body on January 24.

Last updated: 1:21pm, January 9 2013