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October 16, 2019

Bulgaria football chief resigns after racist abuse


October 16, 2019

SOFIA: Bulgaria’s football union president resigned on Tuesday, a day after racist abuse marred a match against England in Sofia.

“Today the president of the Bulgarian Football Union Borislav Mihaylov presented his resignation, which will be handed in to the members of the executive committee on its meeting on Friday,” the union said in a statement on its website.

The decision “resulted from the tension created over the past days, which is detrimental to Bulgarian football and the Bulgarian football union,” the statement said. The Euro 2020 qualifier, which England won 6-0, was twice halted by racist chanting aimed at England players.

Earlier, Bulgaria’s prime minister urged 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”.

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.

BFU media chief Hristo Zapryanov said his union was not to blame for the trouble, adding Mihaylov would speak after the body’s executive committee meeting on Friday, but would not resign.

“If you ask for a resignation, of course, he will not resign,” Zapryanov told reporters, adding the government had “no right to press demands or interfere in any way in football” according to international football governing rules.

He dismissed Monday’s incidents as “inadmissable” but said the BFU had no power “to investigate and to track hooligans”.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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