London, October 16, 2019 (CABNC): During the Euro 2020 qualifying match between Bulgaria and England, Bulgarian Football fans had subjected black England players to racist abuse by making Nazi salutes and monkey noises. Following a police raid, four Bulgarian football fans have been detained.
England’s 6-0 Euro 2020 qualifier win over Bulgaria in Sofia was stopped twice in the first half following the racist chanting by home supporters.
In a statement by Bulgaria’s Ministry of the Interior “Work is still ongoing to identify others,”.
The incident had led to the resignation of Bulgaria’s football chief Borislav Mikhailov on Tuesday. He had claimed after the game he “didn’t hear” any chanting, and accused England of having a bigger racism problem.
But Balakov has since posted a statement on Facebook, acknowledging the incidents on Monday and apologising to “English footballers and to all those who felt offended”.
“I condemn all forms of racism as an unacceptable behaviour that contradicts normal human relations,” he added.
“I think that this form of prejudice should be buried deep in our past, and no-one should ever be subjected to it.”
– Borislav Mikhailov
Meanwhile, the English FA and UEFA have condemned the actions of the ‘ultras’ section of Bulgaria fans, with Aleksander Ceferin, president of the sport’s European governing body, calling for “football family and governments” to “wage war on the racists”.
Players condemn abuse
England midfielder Jordan Henderson called the behaviour of Bulgaria fans “disgusting” after they were warned for making Nazi salutes and monkey noises.
“I obviously wasn’t happy with the situation that we were in – it wasn’t nice to be involved in and it shouldn’t be happening in 2019,” he said.
Team-mate Tyrone Mings, who was making his international debut on Monday, said he heard racist chanting “clear as day” during the pre-match warm-up in Sofia.
A number of players posted on social media following the game, thanking travelling fans for their support and expressing their pride in the performance despite the abuse.
“Not an easy situation to play in and not one which should be happening in 2019,” said striker Marcus Rashford. “Proud we rose above it to take three points but this needs stamping out.