Euro qualifiers: England 6-0 rout over Bulgaria marred by racism

Updated: Oct 16, 2019, 08:18 IST | AFP | Sofia

Racism mars England's 6-0 victory over Bulgaria; Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate calls it unacceptable

England's Raheem Sterling (third from right) gets into an altercation with a Bulgarian player during their Euro 2020 qualifier. pic/Getty Images
England's Raheem Sterling (third from right) gets into an altercation with a Bulgarian player during their Euro 2020 qualifier. pic/Getty Images

Sofia: England manager Gareth Southgate said his side made a statement by deciding to complete a 6-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Bulgaria after the match was twice halted by racist chanting.

The visitors led 2-0 through early goals from Marcus Rashford and Ross Barkley when play was first stopped and an announcement made to supporters that the game could be suspended if offensive chanting continued.

Once restarted, England quickly made it 3-0 through Barkley before a second stoppage as Croatian referee Ivan Bebek held discussions with players and coaching staff from both sides.

Raheem Sterling then netted twice either side of half-time before Harry Kane rounded off the scoring to take England to the brink of qualification. "We know it is an unacceptable situation," Southgate said. "I think we've managed to make two statements really by winning the game, but also we have raised the awareness of everybody to the situation. The game was stopped twice and I know for some people that won't be enough, but I think we were as a group on board with that process."

FansA group of Bulgarian fans target England players with racist chants during the Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia, Bulgaria on Monday. Pic/AFP

In a statement, The English Football Association said their players "were subjected to abhorrent racist chanting" and called on UEFA to investigate immediately. Tyrone Mings was one of those targeted on his England debut.

The defender believed that stopping the game did have the desired effect of reducing racist abuse in the second half. "The correct steps that were taken definitely helped," said Mings. "We made the decision at half-time to come out and play the game which we thought was the right decision. If anything else happened, we would have taken appropriate action." A comprehensive victory was the perfect riposte for Southgate's men to their shock 2-1 defeat at the Czech Republic on Friday.

Bulgaria football federation raided

Sofia: The Bulgarian Football Union was raided by special prosecutors and police yesterday just hours after its head resigned over racist chants that marred Bulgaria's Euro 2020 qualifier defeat to England, an official said. According to the public Bulgarian national radio, 30 specialised prosecutors, anti-organised crime officers and police entered the headquarters of the BFU on Sofia's outskirts, conducting searches and confiscating documents.

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