Sterling and Bellingham targeted by racist chants, Boris Johnson steps up

Hungarian supporters had already been signaled by racist cries during the match against France (1-1) in Budapest, during the last Euro. Similar incidents took place Thursday night against England, as part of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. British media including the BBC and Sky News reported racist chants targeting black players Jude Bellingham and Raheem Sterling during this match easily won 4-0 by the “Three Lions” (goals from Sterling, Kane, Maguire and Rice).

“It is completely unacceptable that English players were the subject of racist insults in Hungary last night,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacted on Twitter on Friday. The head of the conservative government urged Fifa to “take strong action against those responsible to ensure that this kind of shameful behavior is eradicated for good”.

“I didn’t hear that” (the racist chants), England captain Harry Kane told ITV after the match. “I’m going to talk to the guys and see if they heard anything,” he added. If so, it will be reported to UEFA which he hoped will crack down hard.

A precedent in Bulgaria

Just before the start of the match, the English players were also booed by the majority of the 60,000 Hungarian supporters for having put their knees on the ground in order to denounce racism.

In 2019, a qualifying match for Euro 2020 won by England against Bulgaria was marked by racist outbursts, triggering outrage in the United Kingdom and in European football bodies. Last July, Boris Johnson announced his intention to ban football supporters from the stadium who used racist slurs against players online, after such attacks targeting three black players of the England team after the lost final of the Euro against Italy.

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