Football: Bulgarian football chief quits after racist abuse during England match

England's Harry Kane scores the team's sixth goal during the Group A Euro 2020 Qualifier match between Bulgaria and England at the Vasil Levski National Stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria on Oct 14, 2019.
England's Harry Kane scores the team's sixth goal during the Group A Euro 2020 Qualifier match between Bulgaria and England at the Vasil Levski National Stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria on Oct 14, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

SOFIA (REUTERS) - Bulgaria’s football union chief resigned on Tuesday Oct 15), a day after a match against England was twice halted because of racist abuse.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov had urged Borislav Mihaylov, the president of the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU), to immediately step down following Monday’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia.

The match, which England won 6-0, was halted twice after England players were targeted by racist chanting.

The BFU said in a statement on its website that Mihaylov presented his resignation on Tuesday and would hand it to the members of the BFU executive committee during its meeting Friday.

“His decision resulted from the tension created over the past days, which is detrimental to Bulgarian football and the Bulgarian Football Union,” the statement said.

Borisov said on Facebook that it was “inadmissible that Bulgaria... is associated with racism and xenophobia” and he “categorically condemned the behaviour of some of those present at the stadium”.

 
 

Earlier on Tuesday, BFU media chief Hristo Zapryanov had said his union was not to blame for the trouble, dismissing Monday’s incidents as “inadmissable” but saying the BFU had no power “to investigate and to track hooligans”.

England manager Gareth Southgate said his side had made a statement by deciding to complete the match instead of leaving the pitch in the face of the abuse, calling it “an unacceptable situation”.

Mihaylov has headed the football federation since 2005. During his time in charge, Bulgaria have failed to qualify for any major tournament.

Before the game, he had urged Uefa to stop “tensions” after England forward Tammy Abraham said his team were prepared to walk off the pitch if they faced abuse during Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Mihaylov had said the BFU had made “extreme efforts and measures... to ensure a fair and safe environment”.

Uefa had ordered the BFU to partially close the Vasil Levski national stadium for England’s visit after supporters were found guilty of racist behaviour in matches earlier this year.

On the pitch, Barkley struck twice after Marcus Rashford score in the seventh minute as Southgate’s side highlighted the gap in quality with the hosts before Raheem Sterling netted before half-time.

England’s victory was rounded off by Sterling’s second goal midway through the second half and a cool finish from Harry Kane five minutes from the end against bottom side Bulgaria.