Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Bulgaria given two match stadium ban after fans' racist behaviour during England game

Bulgaria will have to play two matches behind closed doors as punishment for racist behaviour. Credit: PA

Bulgaria will play its next competitive home football match behind closed doors as punishment for its fans' racist behaviour during its Euro 2020 qualifier against England.

A section of Bulgaria supporters at Sofia's Levski Stadium directed racist abuse at England's black players, while some were seen making Nazi salutes.

Bulgaria fans hold up a jumper which says 'No Respect'. Credit: PA

Another match was also ordered to be played behind closed doors, but this has been suspended for two years.

Along with the match bans, the Bulgaria Football Union (BFU) was fined €75,000 (£64,641) for racist behaviour and throwing objects, with a further €10,000 (£8,623) for causing disturbance during a national anthem.

Raheem Sterling was subjected to racist abuse. Credit: PA

UEFA's ban means Bulgaria's home qualifier against the Czech Republic on November 17 will not be open to fans.

The match against England was stopped in the 28th minute as part of the first step of UEFA's anti-racism protocol, which led to a public announcement calling for the abuse to stop.

The racist abuse continued and Croatian referee Ivan Bebek stopped the match again just before half time.

However it was later confirmed that this did not constitute the second step of the protocol under which the referee leads the teams from the field temporarily.

Sorry, this content isn't available on your device.

England's Tyrone Mings, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford were subjected to monkey chants and booing during the second half, but the game continued and the match finished 6-0 to England.

The head of the BFU Borislav Mihaylov resigned the following day, with UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin saying the football family had to "wage war" on racism.

The Bulgarian federation was also fined €10,000 (£8,619) for causing disturbance during a national anthem, while the English Football Association was fined €5,000 (£4,309) for the same offence.

The English Football Association was fined €5,000 (£4,309) for the same offence.

The charge against the FA related to an insufficient number of travelling stewards will be heard on November 21 after the association requested more time to present its defence.

  • What sort of punishments have been issued in the past?

The three-step UEFA anti-racism protocols were launched in a resolution at UEFA Congress in London in 2013.

No game has yet been abandoned under the protocol.

No team at club or national team level has yet had points deducted or been disqualified over an offence of racism.

One of the most severe punishments to date was the decision in July 2015 to impose a two-match stadium closure on the Croatian federation.

The sanction was imposed because a Nazi swastika had been burned onto the pitch before a match against Italy in Split, which was already being played behind closed doors because of a previous offence.

The Montenegrin association was ordered to play a match behind closed doors and fined £17,300 after its supporters were found guilty of racially abusing England players during a qualifier in March.

Players have faced more stiff punishments for racism-related offences - in August Ukrainian goalkeeper Kostyantyn Makhnovskiy, who was playing for Latvian side Ventspils, was banned for 10 matches.

However in comparison, Danish football Nicklas Bendtner was reportedly given an €80,000 fine and given a one match ban for revealing a pair of branded Paddy Power boxers during a Euro 2012 game.

However in comparison, Danish football Nicklas Bendtner was reportedly given an €80,000 fine and given a one match ban for revealing a pair of branded Paddy Power boxers during a Euro 2012 game. Credit: AP