Gareth Southgate on Thursday night branded the sickening racist abuse suffered by England’s black players were in their thrashing of Hungary as ‘unacceptable’.
The Three Lions took a commanding a five point lead at the top of their qualification group for Qatar 2022 with a convincing victory in Budapest – but the win was marred after England players were targeted by monkey chants.
Reports were emerging tonight that Raheem Sterling, who scored the first goal, and unused substitute Jude Bellingham were taunted – while England players were widely booed for taking the knee before kick-off.
England boss Gareth Southgate (L) branded the sickening racist abuse aimed at Raheem Sterling (R) and Jude Bellingham by Hungary fans as ‘unacceptable’
Sterling was subjected to monkey chants, as was Bellingham (R) whilst he was warming-up
Southgate said: ‘We weren’t really aware of it on the bench but it sounds like there have been some incidents. People know what we stand for as a team and that’s completely unacceptable. Everything has been reported to UEFA and we will see what happens from there.
‘There’s no more this group can do in the fight against racism. We are trying to uphold our part of it and other people have to take the right action to try and make progress.
‘It’s for other people – and me in the main – to protect the players but the authorities as well. They shouldn’t have to be subjected to any forms of racism. Our head of security has spoken with he players and taken their statements and we will deal with it in the right way, through the right channels.
‘But it’s not fair to criticise all the Hungarian fans, its a very similar situation to the one we find at home I think.
Sterling was pelted with plastic cups after scoring before the sickening racist abuse later on
‘The individuals that are responsible need to be dealt with, I think there’s evidence of people being filmed and we have to hope it’s defat with in the right way.
‘The world is changing and although some people are stuck in their prejudices, they are going to be the dinosaurs in the end because the world is modernising.’
The Football Association released a statement condemning the abuse soon after the final whistle, it read: ‘It is extremely disappointing to hear reports of discriminatory actions towards some of our England players.
‘We will be asking FIFA to investigate the matter. We continue to support the players and staff in our collective determination to highlight and tackle discrimination in all its forms.’
England’s players were also booed as they took a knee before the qualifier with Hungary
In addition to the racist abuse players, players were targeted with missiles while a flare also found its way onto the pitch.
Nevertheless, England’s players stood up to the intimidating atmosphere to take a giant step toward World Cup qualification ahead of Sunday’s clash against Andorra at Wembley.
‘I’m really pleased, from the start the players were excellent,’ added Southgate.
Southgate did however praise England’s performance following an impressive 4-0 victory
‘They showed humility to approach every day in the right way, they know the standards they have to set.
‘I was very pleased with the first half, although we didn’t score any goals we were in total control but just couldn’t get the final pass quite right.
‘But we knew they would tire with the way we were using the ball and by the end we could have had even more.’