Hungarian fans fight with the English police in the stands of the Wembley Stadium. Hungary’s football association is quick to respond to the violence at the World Cup qualifier. However, that should not be a final solution to the problems with the hooligans.
Hungary’s football association MLSZ reacted unusually quickly and drastically to the riots by hooligans at the World Cup qualifier in England (1-1). According to information from MLSZ spokesman Jeno Sipos to the French news agency AFP, two days after the riots of Hungarian chaos in London’s Wembley Stadium against “several perpetrators”, the association imposed two-year bans on stadiums and visits to all sporting events in their own country. “Several perpetrators who were identified by the security forces on the spot have been banned from sporting events for two years in accordance with the provisions of the Hungarian Sports Charter,” said Sipos.
However, the MLSZ official did not provide any information on the number of sanctions imposed. As a reason, Sipos said that “investigations are still in progress”. According to Sipos, police reports were evaluated and official investigations were initiated to identify other Hungarian rioters who had not yet been identified.
Hooligans from Hungary fought for minutes in the stands in London with the stewards and later also with the English police. The trigger was obviously a case of racism: According to the police, the situation escalated shortly after the kick-off when attempting to arrest a fan who had racially insulted a steward.
Similar incidents over and over again
Dozens of hooligans initially pushed the police from the stands with kicks and blows into the area around the stadium, before the security forces also got the situation under control by using batons. Even before the kick-off, guest supporters booed loudly when the England national team fell on their knees as a sign against racism and presented a banner as a protest.
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The prompt MLSZ reaction appears above all as an effort to avert more far-reaching sanctions from the world association FIFA, which is responsible for the game in London. After similar racist failures by Hungarian viewers in the first leg against English players, FIFA had already sentenced the MLSZ to two ghost games – and suspended one of them on probation.
Hungary’s fans have been considered xenophobic, at least in parts, not only since the duels with England. After the European Championship finals last summer, the European Football Union (UEFA) had sanctioned the association with three home games closed to the public due to racist incidents during the European Championship preliminary round. The Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto then insulted the responsible UEFA body as “pathetic and cowardly”.