Hungarian football fans cautioned against racism, homophobia
The Hungarian Football Association has urged local fans to refrain from racist, homophobic and chauvinistic abuse ahead of the Euro 2020 match featuring the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. The Budapest Puskas Arena is hosting the Round of 16 game scheduled for Sunday at 6 p.m., for which tens of thousands of Hungarian fans have bought tickets.
"I ask everyone to cheer in a sportsmanlike manner in all respects, to refrain from booing the anthems and from any exclusionary (racist, homophobic, chauvinistic) manifestations that would overshadow the commendable performance of the Hungarian national team and its fans, and thus the image of the country," Hungarian Football Association president, Sándor Csányi, stated in an open letter.
Ahead of the game, UEFA banned LGBT flags from appearing inside the Puskás Aréna. The game has received a lot of attention due to the strong response the Netherlands has taken about Hungary’s new anti-LGBT law. Legislation intended to ban ‘promotion of homosexuality’ has been approved in Hungary this month, sparking harsh response internationally.
Dutch fans were expected to voice their opposition to the law by waving rainbow flags at the match before the ban was reported. UEFA decided not to allow any flags other than those of countries participating in the tournament. The ban also applied to the Oranje fan zone in Budapest. Many Dutch fans said on social media accounts they were ordered to hand their rainbow flags over to security staff.
During the group stage game between Hungary and France in Budapest, racist slogans were als chanted towards the French player Kylian Mbappé. UEFA then decided to open an investigation into the alleged incident. No findings have yet been made public.
"In order for Hungary to be able to host prestigious sporting events in the future, and at least as importantly, for the Hungarian national team to be able to play its matches always and at all times, a sport-like atmosphere is essential in addition to excellent organization," the letter stated.