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  • UEFA Executive Committee Member Borislav Mihaylov

    UEFA Executive Committee Member Borislav Mihaylov | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 October 2019

England thrashed Bulgaria 6-0 to hand them their heaviest ever home defeat as the match was marred by a section of home supporters taunting the visiting players with Nazi salutes and monkey chants.

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev weighed in on Wednesday on the fallout from the racist chanting by Bulgarian fans when they hosted England on Monday night.

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Bulgarian police said on Wednesday they had detained six people in connection with the racist abuse faced by England's black players during the Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia with more arrests likely.

Radev cited the nation's history in helping protect Jews from fascist governments before adding it was time to implement 'draconian measures' to fight back against hooliganism.

The match on Monday at the Vasil Levski stadium was temporarily halted by the Croatian referee under a three-step protocol devised by European soccer governing body UEFA.

Bulgarian soccer chief Borislav Mihaylov and former international goalkeeper resigned on Tuesday.

Mihaylov had previously defended Bulgarian soccer from accusations of racism and criticized England for what he saw as a "fixation" on potential incidents that could raise tension.

The issue has long been a blight on European soccer, with racist incidents during matches reported sporadically and abuse levelled at players on social media.

Cristiano Giaretta, the sporting director of one of Bulgaria's top clubs CSKA Sofia, said he was shocked by the racist abuse, accusing those participating in the behavior as not being true fans of the sport.

Several groups of fans were evicted from the Vasil Levski stadium in Sofia. The capacity had already been reduced to 5,000 following similar incidents in the past.

Following the match, Raheem Sterling, who scored two goals for England, said: “Feeling sorry for Bulgaria to be represented by such idiots in their stadium. Anyway... 6-0 and we go back home, at least we did our job. Safe travel to our fans, you guys did well.”

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