England’s concerns over racism in Bulgaria has sparked a furious row.
Recently England manager Gareth Southgate expressed his concern over racist abuse being aimed at his players when the two sides meet in Sofia in October.
According to Talk Sport, Southgate said:
“Yes, it is a concern. It’s something that we’ve already planned.”
“We’ve already planned what our schedule looks like and we’re going to discuss it with the players before we go.”
“We’re aware that there is history there and we want to make sure that we’re all prepared for what might happen and how we want to respond.”
The Bulgarian Football Union have not taken kindly to his comments and have it back, with letters to the English FA and UEFA.
There is history between the two teams for this very matter. Back in 2011, Ashley Young was exposed to monkey chants and abuse in a match between the two nations in Sofia.
At the time the punishment from UEFA for the incident was equivalent to a paultry 40,000 Euro fine.
A statement from the Bulgarian Football Union on the matter read:
“The president of the Bulgarian Football Union Borislav Mihaylov sent an official letter to the UEFA General Secretary Mr. Theodore Theodoridis and the chairman of the English FA Mr. Greg Clarke.”
He is expressing his indignation and disappointment following the public comments by Mr. Gareth Southgate.”
“The suggestions that the English players will be subject to racial abuse by the Bulgarian supporters in the upcoming European qualifier in Sofia on October 14th.”
“The BFU views such behaviour as groundless, inappropriate and unnecessary prior to the important and exciting football game that Bulgarian fans have been looking to in the past year.”
“We have not received any official information regarding discriminatory language used by a Bulgarian supporter at Wembley Stadium.”
“Even if this were the case, however, we believe that generalisations and the creation of needless tension by official members of the English team is absolutely unacceptable.”
“They are in contradiction with the spirit of mutual respect and fair play, the core values of both UEFA and the BFU.”
While Southgate’s comments may be deemed controversial.
It must be duly noted, that at that very game UEFA is imposing a 5000 seat restriction and a #EqualGame banner display against Bulgaria for racist behaviour at a recent game against the Czech republic.
— UEFA (@UEFA) October 19, 2017