Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football

Giggs not focusing on threat of racism in Hungary

Hungary were punished by UEFA after their fans caused trouble away to Slovakia in March.

Wales manager Ryan Giggs says his sole focus in Budapest is on the game and not on the spectre of rascism (Adam Davy/PA)
Wales manager Ryan Giggs says his sole focus in Budapest is on the game and not on the spectre of rascism (Adam Davy/PA)

Ryan Giggs has brushed aside fears that his Wales players could be the target for racism during their Euro 2020 qualifier against Hungary.

Some 3,000 seats will be unfilled at Budapest’s Groupama Arena on Tuesday after UEFA ordered a partial stadium closure following the behaviour of Hungary supporters in Slovakia in March.

Hungary fans were found guilty of racist behaviour, vandalism and the setting off of fireworks, and the Hungarian Football Federation must display a banner with the wording ‘EqualGame’ on it in the closed sector on Tuesday.

bpanews_b22f5d65-7784-481a-b100-70f96fb17072_embedded235727215
The Groupama Arena will be partly empty when Wales visit (Tim Goode/PA)

“There will be less fans in the stadium, but I understand it’s a very good atmosphere,” Giggs said when asked about the threat of racism from Hungary fans.

“I’ve talked before about sanctions on racism not being strong enough. They need to be stronger.

“But for me it’s all about concentrating on the game. I’ve got enough to worry about with winning this game.

“We hope that all the fans behave as always in all the games as they should.”

bpanews_b22f5d65-7784-481a-b100-70f96fb17072_embedded243396032
Gareth Bale has a key role to play for Wales (Adam Davy/PA)

Wales are seeking inspiration from captain Gareth Bale as they attempt to bounce back from their 2-1 weekend defeat in Croatia, which left them three points behind Group E leaders Hungary.

Bale has not scored since mid-March, lost his first-team place at Real Madrid towards the end of the season, and his club future is in doubt this summer.

But Giggs said: “I was happy with Gareth’s performance in Croatia, he had a couple of chances and on another day they go in.

“It was his first game in six weeks, we had a great build-up in Portugal and a great week at Colliers Park (their training facility in Wrexham).

“Gareth grew into the game, not playing for six weeks that might be understandable. Hopefully’s he’s saving it for Hungary.”

bpanews_b22f5d65-7784-481a-b100-70f96fb17072_embedded241886923
History beckons for Chris Gunter, left (Nick Potts/PA)

Giggs is likely to make changes after the draining demands of playing in 30-degree heat in Osijek on Saturday.

Chris Gunter is set to replace Connor Roberts at right-back and win a record 95th cap.

David Brooks and Ethan Ampadu, who both impressed as late substitiutes against Croatia, will also come into contention if they can prove their match fitness.

“I realise after the impact they made, a lot of fans are asking why I didn’t start them,” Giggs said.

“Ethan hasn’t started a game for six months and Brooksy didn’t end the season with Bournemouth. He only trained for two days.

“You’re already giving up two substitutions and you’re not being fair on the other players. That’s my job and it’s our job as staff to assess what’s best.

“Brooksy’s ankle seems fine and Ethan was feeling his back a little bit, but I think that was more from a knock that he got. After the training session we’ll know a lot more.

“I thought a lot of the players did well but we have to take the heat into consideration.

“Some of the players are short of minutes at the end of the season, so maybe it’s about freshening the side up a little bit but also assessing how the recovery has gone.”

PA

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph