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Racist chants directed at Sterling as England beat Hungary in Budapest

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Racist chants were directed at England players during their 4-0 win over Hungary.

Sky Sports News reporter Rob Dorsett said he heard “sporadic monkey chants from various areas of the crowd” at the Puskas Arena in Budapest.

They were “primarily towards Raheem Sterling when he touched the ball”, Dorsett added.

“I have seen four separate individuals specifically involved in the racist chanting. The most recent of those was directed at Jude Bellingham, as he warmed up right in front of us, and close to the Hungarian ultras.

“They have been sporadic pockets of racist abuse we have seen, but they are nonetheless clear.”

Hungary fans at the Puskas Arena in Budapest
Image: Hungary fans at the Puskas Arena in Budapest
A Hungary fan being led away after the final whistle
Image: A Hungary fan being led away after the final whistle

Sterling was “pelted by cups thrown from the crowd” as he celebrated at the corner flag after scoring the first goal, Sky Sports News’s Peter Smith said.

The BBC’s Juliette Ferrington heard similar things. “I definitely heard one and saw it with my own eyes, aimed toward Jude Bellingham, when he was warming up,” she said.

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“Another plastic cup was thrown and he reacted with his fingers and carried on.

“Then came the monkey chants and there have been four different reports of that. Raheem Sterling was also targeted after Harry Kane’s goal.”

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‘It is not acceptable’: Southgate on racism

The Football Association said it would be asking FIFA to investigate.

A spokesperson said: “It is extremely disappointing to hear reports of discriminatory actions towards some of our England players.”

There is a “collective determination” to tackle such matters, they added.

Speaking after the final whistle, England manager Gareth Southgate was told about abuse directed at Bellingham and said the 18-year-old “shouldn’t have to suffer that”.

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Sky Sports News reporter Rob Dorsett said he heard ‘sporadic monkey chants from various areas of the crowd’

Before the World Cup qualifier began, England players were booed as they took the knee.

Captain Harry Kane told ITV he “didn’t hear” the racist abuse directed towards Sterling and Bellingham, but added: “I’ll talk to the boys and see if they heard any of it.

“Look, we’ll have to report it to UEFA. If it’s the case then hopefully UEFA can come down strong.”

Defender John Stones said he did not hear the abuse either, but added: “It is so sad to think that this happens at our games and I hope UEFA and whoever needs to take care of it does and I’m sure they will.

“We stand together as a team and we will continue fighting for what we believe in as a team and what we believe is right.”

Plastic cups litter the pitch after the final whistle
Image: Plastic cups litter the pitch after the final whistle

Kick It Out chief executive Tony Burnett said the organisation was “appalled to see the actions of some Hungary fans”.

He added: “We stand proudly in support of the England players and staff, who once again acted with strength, grace and integrity in the face of racism that has no place in our game or our society.

“This is not the first incident like this in Hungary, so we urge FIFA to investigate this matter urgently.

“Those responsible need to be held to account and steps need to be taken to ensure scenes like (this) are not repeated.”

Declan Rice celebrates scoring England's fourth goal with Kalvin Phillips and Jack Grealish
Image: Declan Rice celebrates scoring England’s fourth goal with Kalvin Phillips and Jack Grealish

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said “strong action must be taken against Hungary to protect players and show racism has no place in football”.

The ground will be empty for the next two UEFA-organised matches.

It follows sanctions after racist and homophobic abuse marred Hungary’s Euro 2020 fixtures, with the third match of a stadium ban suspended.