The Prime Minister of Bulgaria has demanded that the country’s Football Union President, Borislav Mikhailov, step down after England’s players were subjected to incessant racist abuse during Monday night’s Euro 2020 qualifier.
The match was halted twice after several of England‘s players were targeted, with a section of Bulgarian supporters clearly making Nazi symbols in the crowd, and Prime Minister Boyko Borisov says the government intend to freeze all funding and relations with the body until Mikhailov departs his role.
Prior to the match, Mikhailov had been vocal in claiming that England’s public concerns over possible racist abuse were “offensive” and “derogatory”.
Bulgarian minister for sport Krasen Kralev told Bulgarian news site sportal.bg: “A little while ago, the Prime Minister called me urgently. You know that in the last four years, the government has done a lot for the development of Bulgarian football.
“But after the recent events, having in mind the whole state of football, after yesterday’s incidents, the Prime Minister has ordered me from today to suspend any relations with the football union, including financial ones, until the resignation of Borislav Mikhailov.”
Downing Street described the scenes in Bulgaria as “vile” and said that sports minister Nigel Adams was writing to Uefa to demand an urgent investigation.
Prime minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “The racism we saw and heard last night was vile and has no place in football or anywhere else.
“The England players and management showed tremendous dignity, and the Prime Minister commends the players who were targeted for this despicable abuse for their response.
“Uefa need to face up to facts – this stain on football is not being adequately dealt with. Racism and discrimination must be driven out of football once and for all.
“We support the FA’s calls for an urgent investigation, with tough penalties to follow. We are writing to Uefa today to ask for this to be conducted swiftly.”
FA chairman Greg Clarke labelled it “one of the most appalling nights” he’d witnessed in football, while Gareth Southgate praised his players for making an important “statement” in the face of such sickening behaviour.
“We know it is an unacceptable situation,” he told ITV. “I think we have managed to make two statements by winning the game but also we have raised the awareness of everyone to this situation.
“The game was stopped twice and I know for some people that won’t be enough but I think as a group we were on board with that process.”
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