• News

Southgate: England considered walking off after racial abuse

Gareth Southgate, England, Bulgaria, Euro 2020
Getty Images
Advertisement

Gareth Southgate revealed that the entire England squad had debated on whether to continue or not after the racial abuse they suffered in Bulgaria.

Southgate and England’s huge 6-0 win moved them one step closer to sealing qualification into next summer’s Euro 2020 tournament. However, the match was overshadowed by the flow of racist abuse from the Bulgaria supporters.

The chants, in fact, caused the game to be stopped twice during the first-half before play eventually resumed.

And now Southgate has announced that England nearly walked out of the stadium.

“The players were keen to finish the half and then have the discussion at half time,” the Three Lions boss told reporters.

“I’m incredibly proud of the players and all the staff. Of course, we could be criticised for not going far enough.

“But I think we have made a huge statement and, frankly, we were in an impossible situation to get it right for the satisfaction of everyone.”

England captain Harry Kane added: “The lads decided to stay out. They wanted to play. They wanted to carry on.”

Meanwhile, Bulgaria coach Krasimir Balakov left everybody fuming after the match by stating he hadn’t heard any chanting.

“I didn’t hear anything,” said Balakov.

“But I just talked to the English press, and I told them that if this is proven to be true then we have to be ashamed and apologise for it. But once again, first it has to be proven to be true.”

However, the 53-year-old has since posted a message on Facebook acknowledging everything that happened on Monday.

Southgate’s England team will return to action on November 14 for their next Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro at Wembley. They will then take a trip to Kosovo three days later for their final Group A fixture.

Krasimir Balakov, Bulgaria,
SOFIA, BULGARIA – OCTOBER 14: Krasimir Balakov, Manager of Bulgaria speaks with Kieran Trippier of England.