During the qualifying round for the 2020 European Football Championship the Romanian national team first played in Norway, Oslo on the 7th of June, followed by a match on the 10th on the Ta’Qali National Stadium in Malta. During both games Romanian fans were continuously shouting anti-Hungarian slogans, even on the TV coverage one could hear for several minutes the sadly familiar chant: “Out with the Hungarians from the country!”

During the match in Oslo approximately 800 fans took part in this xenophobic action, which had clearly been planned beforehand. The situation is unacceptable in itself, but it is even more worrisome, if we take into consideration that the matches themselves had no Hungarian connotations, none of the referees were Hungarian, and in the qualifying round Romania and Hungary are not even in the same group. Romanian football hooligans regularly display hate speech and instigatory behaviour directed against racial and ethnic minorities, with the Romanian Football Federation being so far unable to address the situation in an effective manner.

Given that the supporters of the national football team have manifested anti-Hungarian behaviour on several occasions this year, both at home and abroad, the Mikó Imre Minority Rights Legal Services Assistance has addressed letters regarding the issue to the Romanian Football Federation, as well as FIFA and UEFA, asking for the most severe punishment possible to be applied in the case of the national team. We have also addressed a complaint to the National Council for Combatting Discrimination.

“In the hours following the two matches, several dozen Hungarian football fans signaled to us how unacceptable the behaviour of the Romanian fans present at the games had been, and so our organisation has taken the appropriate steps. We stand by our belief that sport should be about fair play” – declared Erika Benkő, the leader of the legal services assistance.