FIFA sanctions repeat offenders Hungary and Mexico

November 2 – Hungary and Mexico have been sanctioned by FIFA over persistent fan disorder at their World Cup qualification matches following the October international window.

On Monday, the global governing body released a list of sanctions imposed on various national member associations with Hungary and Mexico among the most high-profile cases.

Last October, Hungary fans engaged in violent clashes with police during a World Cup qualifier against England at Wembley Stadium. Minutes into the match, the away fans went on a rampage, leading to ugly scenes at the London venue, which had come under heavy scrutiny following the chaos and confusion at last summer’s Euro 2020 final.

Metropolitan Police said “minor disorder broke” out as a fan was arrested for “a racially aggravated public order offence” after comments were directed towards a steward. For the November 15 qualifier in Poland, FIFA has banned Hungary fans from attending the match. The Hungarian federation has also been fined CHF 75,000.

FIFA “strongly condemned” the actions of the Hungary fans in this latest incident. Last September, England’s visit to Budapest was also marred by various racist incidents, leading Zurich to slap the Hungarians with having to play two matches behind closed doors and a fine of CHF200,000. In June, UEFA fined the Hungarian federation and ordered a three-game stadium closure, the final match being suspended, for discriminatory behaviour by their supporters during Euro 2020.

The Hungarians aren’t the only recidivists.

Mexico will have to play behind closed doors in their next two World Cup qualifiers at home because of persistent anti-gay chants by fans. The Mexican Football Federation (FMF) has also been fined CHF100,000 by FIFA for charges of “discriminatory behaviour by supporters.” The matches against Costa Rica and Panama early next year will be affected.

FIFA’s punishment is the latest in a long-standing attempt to address the homophobic slurs Mexican fans indulge in and which have been heard in other Central American qualifying matches since the summer. The World Cup qualifier against Jamaica in September was played without fans because of a previous FIFA punishment.

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