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Bulgarian Football Union president resigns after racist controversy in Euro 2020 Qualifier against England

ANALYST
News
15 Oct 2019, 19:52 IST

Bulgaria v England - UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier
Bulgaria v England - UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier

What's the story?

Borislav Mihaylov has resigned from his position as the president of the Bulgarian Football Union after the country's Euro 2020 qualifier against England in Sofia on Monday was halted as a result of racial abuse from home supporters.

In case you didn't know

The Three Lions made up for their discouraging defeat against the Czech Republic with a 6-0 victory over Bulgaria at the Vasil Levski Stadium on Monday. Marcus Rashford, Ross Barkley, Raheem Sterling, and Harry Kane all found the back of the net in a game that was unfortunately marred by controversy.

The European Championship qualifier was halted twice owing to racist abuse on the part of the Bulgaria supporters who initially taunted Tyrone Mings with monkey chants on his international debut for England.

In accordance with UEFA's three-step protocol for tackling such abuse, a stadium announcement was made requesting fans to refrain from interfering with the game with such chants. The game was halted a second time as England manager Gareth Southgate and the refereeing officials were seen having an intense discussion. 

The match edged closer to abandonment after England's fourth goal as the home fans continued the racist abuse which included Nazi salutes and monkey chants. However, the Lions held their heads high as they completed the rout in the second half.

The heart of the matter

The BFU has announced that Mihaylov will resign from his position as president and will submit his letter of resignation to the members of their FA's Executive Committee on Friday.

In a statement, the organisation said, "Today the Bulgarian FA president Borislav Mihaylov has resigned from his position – his letter of resignation will be presented to the members of the FA’s Executive Committee at this Friday’s meeting."

"It comes after the pressure that has been generated over the past few days; a situation that is not positive for Bulgarian football or the Football Union itself. After so many years in the position and because of his network of international contacts, Mr Mihaylov has said he is ready to continue helping Bulgarian football to develop in any way possible."

Mihaylov's resignation came hours after Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borissov called for him to quit and threatened to pull financial support for the national team otherwise.

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This is not the first time Bulgaria are embroiled in racist controversy as they were sanctioned last year for similar abuses during qualifiers against Kosovo and the Czech Republic in June. 

What's next?

England's Football Association may have called on UEFA to conduct an urgent investigation but the incident underlines the growth of a disturbing trend in football despite the governing body's supposed efforts to curb racial discrimination and abuse within the game.


Marcus Rashford in action for England.
Marcus Rashford in action for England.
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