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Hungarian soccer federation appealing fine for anti-Semitism of fans

(JTA) — Hungary’s soccer federation reportedly will appeal sanctions imposed by the world soccer association for the anti-Semitic behavior of fans.

The federation said Wednesday that it had notified FIFA of its decision to file an appeal by the mid-January deadline, The Associated Press reported.

A day earlier, the disciplinary committee of the Zurich-based FIFA soccer association fined the Hungarian MLSZ soccer team $43,000 in response to chants of “stinking Jews” and “Heil Benito Mussolini” by its fans during a friendly match in Budapest in August against the Israeli national team. The Hungarian fans also turned their backs as "Hatikvah," the Israeli national anthem, was played, and waved Palestinian and Iranian flags throughout the game.

FIFA also ruled that MLSZ will have to play its next match, scheduled for March against Romania, in an empty stadium. Hungary’s far-right Jobbik Party said it wanted to hold a protest outside the stadium during the match so the Hungarian players could hear the support of their fans despite the ban.

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."

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