Bulgaria Prime Minister urges football chief to resign after England match racism

By AFP: Tuesday, October 15th 2019 at 13:38 GMT +3 | Football
England's forward Harry Kane (C) speaks with the referees during temporary interruption of the Euro 2020 Group A football qualification match between Bulgaria and England due to incidents with fans, at the Vasil Levski National Stadium in Sofia on October 14, 2019. [Photo by NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV / AFP]

Bulgaria's prime minister on Tuesday urged the country's football union president Borislav Mihaylov to resign after a match against England was twice halted because of racist abuse.

"I urge Borislav Mihaylov to hand in his resignation immediately!" Prime Minister Boyko Borisov wrote on Facebook, adding it was "inadmissible that Bulgaria... is associated with racism and xenophobia".

The Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia, which England won 6-0, was halted after England players were targeted by racist chanting.

Borisov said he "categorically condemned the behaviour of some of those present at the stadium," insisting that EU member Bulgaria was "one of the most tolerant countries in the world".

Borisov said the government would sever all ties, including financial, with the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) over what he called "a shameful loss" and the overall poor standing of Bulgarian football until Mihaylov resigned.

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".

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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 player Tammy Abraham said his team was 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".

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