Hungary’s soccer team punished for anti-Semitism of fans

(JTA) — Hungary’s national soccer team will face sanctions because of anti-Semitic chants by its fans in August, the FIFA soccer association said.

The Hungarian MLSZ squad was fined $43,000 by FIFA’s disciplinary committee on Tuesday and will have to play its next match, scheduled for March against Romania, in an empty stadium.

The measures were FIFA’s response to chants of “stinking Jews” and “Heil Benito Mussolini” during a friendly against the Israeli national team in Budapest. The Hungarian fans also turned their backs as "Hatikvah," the Israeli national anthem, was played, and waved Palestinian and Iranian flags throughout the game.

The Zurich-based FIFA said it “unanimously condemned the abhorrent episode of anti-Semitism” and actions of a “political, provocative and aggressive nature perpetrated by supporters of the Hungarian national team.”

Bulgaria will face a similar punishment after fans subjected Denmark defender Patrick Mtiliga, whose father is Tanzanian, to racist abuse and threw fireworks on the pitch during a match last October.

Spectators in Rome allegedly made anti-Semitic chants during a Europa League game against London’s Tottenham last November. The case will be discussed by UEFA’s control and disciplinary body on Jan. 24.

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