Bulgarian PM Urges Resignation of Soccer Chief After Racist Abuse During Qualifier

Bulgarian PM Urges Resignation of Soccer Chief After Racist Abuse During Qualifier

England will be one of the favourites.

On Tuesday, Bulgaria Prime Minister Boyko Borrissov condemned the racist fans and called on soccer federation president Borislav Mihailov to resign.

Marcus Rashford, who was subjected to racist abuse on a miserable evening in Sofia, took to social media to praise the efforts of Popov.

The match was halted twice as some Bulgarian fans made monkey noises and raised their arms in Nazi-style gestures.

The decision "resulted from the tension created over the past days, which is detrimental to Bulgarian football and the Bulgarian football union", the statement said.

Earlier Sports Minister Krasen Kralev said the government would suspend relations with the BFU, including financial ties.

The offending Bulgarians were said to have been dressed in all black, and in addition to the racist chants, some were seen to be making Nazi salutes. "The state has no right to demand that and interfere in football".

Mihaylov was a former goalkeeper who once played for English club Reading.

The match in Sofia came to a standstill on two separate occasions after England players reported the abuse to manager Gareth Southgate.

I doubt it was with any kind of hope that this prevent any problems on Monday night, instead I think it was all about putting UEFA on warning, so that when the predictable behaviour did take place, the ball would be very much in their (UEFA's) court for them to deal with. The England players and management showed tremendous dignity and the prime minister commends the players who were targeted with this despicable abuse for their response.

"A lot of hard questions UEFA will need to answer now, these are not easy issues to grapple with".

England's midfielder Jordan Henderson celebrates a goal by Ross Barkley during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier Group A game between Bulgaria and England in Sofia, Bulgaria on October 14, 2019.

England made it 3-0 before Croatian referee Ivan Bebek was forced to stop the game again and he held discussions with players and coaching staff from both sides. "Then you start to notice it".

The Aston Villa defender was making his Three Lions debut in the game, in which England steam-rolled their hosts with a 6-0 victory.

Afterwards Southgate told ITV: "We know it is an unacceptable situation. I don't know what that says about our society but that's the reality, so that actually saddens me that when I speak to them about it, they are absolutely hardened to it". "I don't think a game of this magnitude has ever been stopped twice".

After the game, Bulgaria head coach Krasimir Balakov claimed: "I didn't actually hear anything but I just talked to the English press downstairs and I told them that if this is proven to be true, then we have to be ashamed and we have to apologise for it". While the "monkey" chants seem to have stopped by the second half, fans could be heard booing England players throughout the rest of the game, seemingly focused on the team's black players.

"We all saw the second half was calmer and that allowed our players to do their talking with the football".

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