LONDON • Jordan Henderson has admitted England decided to play on in the face of racist abuse from Bulgarian supporters during the Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia on Monday because they wanted their opponents and their fans to "suffer".
With the match having already been halted twice before half-time following repeated monkey chants and Nazi salutes from more than one section of the Vasil Levski Stadium, England manager Gareth Southgate left it to his team to discuss whether or not to come out for the second half.
Henderson insisted that the entire team agreed to continue because they felt to do otherwise would have sent the wrong message. "I obviously wasn't happy with the situation," he said after the 6-0 win. "But... we spoke together and the decision was that we carried on because if you leave the pitch and stop the game they win, really.
"We wanted to go out in the second half and make them suffer and make their team suffer on the pitch and I think we did that."
Uefa has opened disciplinary proceedings against Bulgaria over the racist behaviour. The case will be dealt with by the European football governing body's control, ethics and disciplinary body, with the date of the meeting yet to be confirmed, according to Sky Sports.
Yesterday, Bulgarian police also said they had detained six people in connection with the abuse and were searching for three more individuals.
THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS