Bulgaria vs England racism: FA chairman Greg Clarke reveals England staff ‘visibly upset’ at abuse

The FA chairman has called for ‘stringent’ punishment after vile chanting in Sofia

Harry Latham-Coyle
Monday 14 October 2019 22:26
comments
Alexander-Arnold discusses threat of racist abuse

Football Association chairman Greg Clarke has called for “stringent” punishments for racist behaviour after revealing some of England’s players were “visibly upset” at the abuse they suffered in Bulgaria.

The game was twice halted and fans warned the game would be cancelled should racist chanting continue.

And Clarke, who joined manager Gareth Southgate on the touchline after the first incident, has revealed the extent of the abuse suffered, and that England wanted to play on after half-time discussions among the squad.

“I was up in the stands with some of the FA staff. We were watching the game and heard some sounds that sounded like monkey chanting,” Clarke said after full

“I came down and heard more at the side of the pitch and I saw some activity from some people dressed in black that was appalling.

“We were told by the officials that 50 people had been thrown out at half time. They said there were isolated examples not mass examples, and the protocol deals with mass behaviour.”

Croatian referee Ivan Bebek engaged in discussions with Gareth Southgate after the second incident, with the decision made that England would discuss the incidents in the dressing room with half-time close.

After those discussions, which involved management, staff and players, England decided that they would re-emerge for the second half and complete the game.

Clarke praised Southgate’s calm and control in managing the situation.

“I’m happy that Gareth was in control from our side. Gareth said there are four minutes until half-time, let’s get to half-time and review it. The players said they wanted to play.

“Gareth felt they made the right decision to finish the game.”

And Clarke also insisted that Uefa need to take a hard line.

“I know they take racism very seriously,” he said.

“One of the ends was closed tonight because of previous examples and problems. They need to decide who they are going to make an example of.

“To me, one person making monkey noises is the same as a hundred.

Greg Clarke praised Gareth Southgate’s handling of the situation

“Some of the staff were visibly upset at the amount of abuse the squad were suffering.”

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments