Football governing body UEFA charge Bulgaria with racist behaviour following the disturbing scenes they caused in their fixture against England on Monday night.
The Bulgarians went onto lose 6-0 at the hands of the Three Lions with Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley getting a brace but the actions of certain Bulgaria fans overshadowed the match.
England players such as debutant Tyrone Mings suffered disgusting abuse and was seen asking the linesman if they could hear that abuse.
England were also charged with two offences by UEFA. They face charges of disrupting Bulgaria’s national anthem as well as not having enough travelling stewards for the fixture.
In Monday night’s game, the match had to be stopped twice by Ivan Bebek due to England reporting vile racial abuse.
The first was midway through the first half where the referee implemented UEFA’s first step in their three-step protocol to combat any racial abuse suffered during a football match.
The first step is to stop the match and instruct stadium authorities to put out an announcement, calling on spectators to stop otherwise the game could be abandoned.
A second stoppage was caused at the end of the first half however, the referee did not go into the second step of UEFA’s protocol.
The second step is to make another announcement and send the players into the dressing room which the referee did not do meaning that Bebek did not actually fulfil the second step of the protocol.
However, soon after the match was stopped for the second half, many of the Bulgarian fans who had caused this abuse had started to leave the stadium.
Gareth Southgate’s players did have the chance to walk off the pitch when the game was stopped but decided to finish the game.
Bulgaria fans have previous history of racial abuse and it was a subject heavily talked about ahead of their fixture against England.
The Three Lions have encountered racial abuse before this game most when they beat Montenegro 5-1 away from home back in late March. That game was also a European Championship qualifying group and Gareth Southgate’s men will welcome them next in November.
It is reported that UEFA will punish Bulgaria by having a potential two-match ground closure as well as hefty fine in the region of £70k.
In the aftermath of the game, the Bulgaria manager Krasimir Balakov had shockingly stated that he did not hear anything which England defender Trent Alexander-Arnold had an issue with on Twitter.
Manchester City forward Sterling also had an issue with Balakov’s statements ahead of the England match-up where he had said that England have a bigger racism problem.
Following on from this incident, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov called for the president of the Bulgaria Football Union, Borislav Mihaylov, to quit.
And the president decided to resign just a few hours after the Prime Minister had called him out.
Footballing governing bodies like UEFA have often come into criticism for not dealing with and punishing racism in a severe and just manner but seem to have changed their approach in the right way following the last few incidents.
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