Bulgaria player claims racist abuse against England was pre-planned

15 October 2019, 06:56 | Updated: 15 October 2019, 12:04

A Bulgarian player told the England squad that the racist abuse they endured in their European Qualifier in Sofia was pre-planned and coordinated, Sky Sports News has learned.

The player, who has not been named, felt he had to apologise to the England squad and explain what he knew after the match, which ended in a 6-0 win for the visitors.

  • England players debated walking off
  • Bulgaria coach 'didn't hear' racist chants

Officials confirmed to Sky Sports News in the second half of the match that around 50 individuals, dressed all in black, were ejected from the stadium during the interval.

The group are thought to be affiliated to a neo-Nazi political group and were seen giving Nazi salutes during the match.

As a result of their ejection, there was less widespread racist abuse of England's black players in the second half.

However, some monkey chants were still directed towards the England players from smaller pockets of Bulgarian fans.

UEFA has told Sky Sports News that its control, ethics and disciplinary body will wait to read the referee's match report and the report of the UEFA delegate before launching an investigation into the racist abuse.

UEFA is also likely to consider observations from FARE anti-racism spotters who were at the game.

'Monkey chants, Nazi salutes'

Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol was part of the travelling media in Sofia and gave his account of what he saw and heard inside the stadium.

He said: "It seemed, especially in the first half, when any black England players got the ball they were subjected to abuse, racist abuse, monkey chants, Nazi salutes, the worst racism I've ever seen at a game.

"It was not all the supporters inside that stadium. By and large, a lot of Bulgarians are very well behaved and not racist, but the whole country was shamed tonight by some of their supporters.

"I'm not even sure they were football supporters. Some of the Bulgarian police told us they were neo-Nazis, people with balaclavas on, a lot of them wearing all black uniform.

"The Bulgarian police, at least in the first half, seemed to try to deal with the situation, to get these neo-Nazis out of the stadium.

"It has to be said in the second half the situation did calm down a bit but I was very close to the Bulgarian supporters and we still had the racist abuse, we still had monkey noises every time Raheem Sterling got the ball.

"When Jadon Sancho came on in the second half the first thing he heard were monkey chants aimed at him. It was a disgraceful night for Bulgarian football."

Bulgarian PM demands football chief resigns

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov has called on the president of the country's football union to resign following the racist abuse that marred the Euro 2020 qualifier between Bulgaria and England.

Sports minister Krasen Kralev said he had received a call from Borissov on Tuesday ordering him to cut ties with the BFU until Borislav Mihaylov offers his resignation as head of Bulgarian football's governing body.

"The prime minister called me urgently a short time ago," Kralev said.

"You know that the government has done a lot for the development of Bulgarian football in the last four years.

"But after the recent events, having in mind the whole state of football and last night's incidents, the prime minister has ordered me from today to suspend any relations with the BFU, including financial ones, until the resignation of Borislav Mihaylov."

The BFU was not immediately available to comment.