Gareth Southgate on racist 'dinosaurs' as Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips and England take knee to boos

England boss Gareth Southgate says some football supporters are in danger of becoming 'dinosaurs' after reports of racist chanting from Hungary fans on a night when Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips and his international team-mates were booed for taking the knee.

Friday, 3rd September 2021, 11:44 am
Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips with his England team-mates. (Photo by ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP via Getty Images)

The Three Lions defeated Hungary 4-0 on Thursday night in World Cup qualifying in Budapest but the game was marred by off-field incidents.

England players Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham were reportedly the targets of racist abuse from home supporters - which included monkey chants - while a number of missiles were aimed at visiting players.

A flare was also thrown on the pitch in what was a hostile and partisan environment, with no England fans present amid Covid-19 travel restrictions.

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The Puskas Arena was permitted to have 60,000 supporters in attendance due to the match coming under FIFA rule, despite Hungary having to play their next two UEFA-sanctioned games behind closed doors for a previous charge during the Euros.

The English Football Association confirmed post-match they would be lodging a complaint and asked FIFA to investigate the fixture.

“We weren’t really aware of it on the bench,” Southgate said post-match of the racist abuse.

“It sounds like there has been some incidents and everybody knows what we stand for as a team and that's completely unacceptable.

“Everything is being reported to UEFA and we have to see what happens from there.

“They (the players) recognise the world is changing. Although some people are stuck in their way of thinking and prejudices, they are going to be the dinosaurs in the end because the world is modernising.

“Hungary isn’t anywhere near as diverse in their population as our country is, it is still taking us a long, long time to get to where we need to get to and inevitably, if other countries don’t have that same level of diversity, it is probably not in their thinking in the same way as in our country.

“We’ll continue to do what we do, continue to try set the right example for young people in our country who will be more influenced by us than people will be elsewhere.”

Ahead of the game, Southgate's side showed their support for the battle against racism by taking the knee and were met by loud boos. Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips was vocal in his support for England players completing the act ahead of kick-off.

"It's hard to say we're starting to win but we're going in the right direction," Phillips said ahead of the game. "I just know that us, as a group know, we'll carry on taking the knee because it's important for us, important for our country and to fight racial abuse."

A number of the Three Lions squad took to social media post-match to deem the night "unacceptable" and were joined by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he called for FIFA to take action.

The governing body have no released a statement saying that they will take 'adequate actions', which read: "First and foremost, FIFA strongly rejects any form of racism and violence and has a very clear zero tolerance stance for such behaviour in football,” a statement from the governing body read.

“FIFA will take adequate actions as soon as it receives match reports concerning yesterday’s Hungary-England game.

“With regards to the previous UEFA sanction against Hungary, please note that as specified by UEFA at the time, this sanction is to be served in UEFA competitions.”

Sterling, Harry Kane, Harry Maguire and Declan Rice were the scores on the night as England moved five points clear of Group I.