Football: FIFA nixes Hungary, Bulgaria racism appeals

FIFA on Tuesday said it had rejected Hungary and Bulgaria's attempts to overturn empty-stadium penalties they received after racist behaviour by fans last year.

"The appeals lodged by the Hungarian Football Federation and Bulgarian Football Union were both rejected and the decisions of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee rendered on 20 November 2012, are confirmed in their entirety," the sport's world governing body said in a statement.

As a result, Hungary will have to play their home 2014 World Cup qualifier against Romania on March 22 without the presence of fans.

They were also fined 40,000 Swiss francs (33,000 euros, $44,000).

The same day, Bulgaria will also play Malta in a fan-free ground.

The financial sanction imposed by FIFA on Bulgaria was 35,000 Swiss francs.

Hungary's fans sparked outrage by hurling anti-Semitic abuse during a friendly match against Israel last August 15.

Bulgaria supporters were spotlighted by FIFA for racism during a World Cup qualifier against Denmark on October 12.

FIFA warned both associations that they were under watch.

"Should such incidents of a racist/discriminatory nature occur again, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee would be left with no other option than to impose harsher sanctions, which could go as far as forfeiting a match, a points deduction, or disqualification from a competition," it said.