Home WORLD Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov calls for country’s football chief to resign

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov calls for country’s football chief to resign


The game was twice temporarily halted in the first half after England debutant Tyrone Mings alerted officials to the abuse being directed at both himself and his teammates from various parts of the Levski Stadium in Sofia.

“It is unacceptable for Bulgaria, which is one of the most tolerant countries in the world, and people of different ethnicity and religions live in peace, to be associated with racism and xenophobia,” said Borissov

“I urge Borislav Mihaylov to immediately resign as president of the Bulgarian Football Union.”

As well as the monkey chanting, some Bulgarian fans made Nazi salutes during the game.

UEFA told CNN on Tuesday that its control, ethics and disciplinary body will wait to read the referee’s match report and the report of the UEFA delegate before launching an investigation into the racist abuse.

It added that it will also likely consider observations from FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) anti-racism spotters who were at the game.

Football journalist Darren Lewis told CNN Sport that Bulgaria must face “a stringent punishment” before explaining why he thought issues such as this still continue to surface.

“There is no black representation at the top of their [Bulgarian] game, just like there isn’t at the top of UEFA. That’s why so few people have any faith in their ability to actually understand this issue,” Lewis told CNN World Sport.

England's players speak with  officials during a temporary interruption due to racist abuse.

England response

Seemingly unfazed by the ugly scenes, England won 6-0 but the result was almost the last thing on the England players’ minds after the match.

“Feeling sorry for Bulgaria to be represented by such idiots in their stadium. Anyway. 6-0 and we go back home, at least we did our job. Safe travel to our fans, u guys did well,” Raheem Sterling wrote on Twitter.

Marcus Rashford, who opened the scoring with a wonderful goal, tweeted: “Not an easy situation to play in and not one which should be happening in 2019. Proud we rose above it to take three points but this needs stamping out.”

Bulgaria response

Monday’s game put UEFA’s protocol in dealing with such abuse to the test and it seemed to be working when a stadium announcement told fans that racist behavior was “interfering with the game” and that if it continued, the match would be abandoned.

It did continue, although less in the second half, but England refused the option to walk off the pitch with team coach Gareth Southgate twice seen speaking to his players.

England’s manager acknowledged that abandoning the match could have sent out the ultimate message but his players were unanimous in their decision.

Bulgarian fans gesture during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier between Bulgaria and England.

Meanwhile Bulgaria captain Ivelin Popov spent the half-time break pleading with the home fans to stop the abuse.

“To stand alone and do the right thing takes courage and acts like that shouldn’t go unnoticed,” tweeted Rashford.

However, as England players and staff criticized the treatment they received, Bulgarian coach Krasimir Balakov said he “personally did not hear the chanting.”

Prior to the match, Balakov had argued that England has a worse problem with racism than Bulgaria.

“Not sure about this one chief,” Sterling tweeted in response to a story about Balakov’s comments.

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