Bulgaria vs England: Kick It Out urge Uefa to issue ‘points deductions and tournament expulsion’

The anti-discrimination organisation also criticised Uefa’s failure to implement Step Two and Step Three of its protocol

Tom Kershaw
Tuesday 15 October 2019 08:46
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Gareth Southgate reacts to England win over Bulgaria

Kick It Out have criticised Uefa after the governing body failed to correctly implement its three-step protocol during England‘s 6-0 victory over Bulgaria, and said that Monday’s match should have been abandoned amid the “sickening” scenes of racist abuse.

The Euro 2020 qualifier was halted twice due to racist abuse directed towards England’s players as well as the team’s dugout, while sections of Bulgarian supporters were clearly seen making Nazi salutes, with Kick It Out urging Uefa to issue “points deductions and tournament expulsion”.

Step Two of the protocol called for the players to be taken into the dressing room after Bulgarian supporters failed to stop the abuse when directed by the PA system. Racist abuse was again clearly audible in the second-half with Kick It Out questioning why Step Three – to abandon the match – was not then taken.

A statement read: “We are sickened by the disgusting racist abuse directed at England men’s team tonight by Bulgaria supporters – including TV footage which appeared to show Nazi salutes and monkey noises.

“We applaud Gareth Southgate, his staff and players for the actions taken in reporting the abhorrent abuse, and offer our full support to the entire squad, their families and anyone affected by those appalling scenes.

“We are encouraged that the protocol was initially enforced by the match officials, but Uefa must explain why players weren’t sent to the dressing room during Step Two, as is clearly stated in the rules. TV footage also clearly shows that racist abuse continued in the second half, so it is unacceptable that Step Three was not enforced. This match should have been abandoned by the officials.

“It’s now time for Uefa to step up and show some leadership. For far too long, they have consistently failed to take effective action. The fact Bulgaria are already hosting this game with a partial stadium closure for racist abuse shows that Uefa’s sanctions are not fit for purpose.

“There can be no more pitiful fines or short stadium bans. If Uefa care at all about tackling discrimination – and if the Equal Game campaign means anything – then points deductions and tournament expulsion must follow.”

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