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Feb 5, 2013

Bulgaria, Hungary punishments upheld

Bulgaria and Hungary have both lost their appeals against sanctions handed down by FIFA following racist incidents involving their supporters, and warned both countries that a repeat could lead to expulsion from World Cup qualifying.

Both nations must play their next qualifiers for Brazil 2014 behind closed doors after they unsuccessful challenged the decision to the FIFA's appeals committee. The Hungarian FA has been fined £28,000 and the Bulgarian FA £24,000.

Bulgaria were punished after Denmark defender Patrick Mtiliga was racially abused every time he touched the ball in a World Cup qualifier in October. Hungary fans chanted anti-Semitic slogans and displayed offensive symbols in a friendly against Israel in August.

FIFA said in a statement: "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.

"Both associations been warned to their future conduct, and 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.''

Both nations currently occupy the play-off berth in their respective World Cup qualifying groups. Bulgaria will play behind closed doors against Malta next month while Hungary entertain Romania on the same day.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report