Bulgaria ordered to play two games behind closed doors after racist incidents during England game

Jack Rathborn
REUTERS

Bulgaria have been handed a two-game stadium ban after Uefa found them guilty of racist behaviour against England in their Euro 2020 qualifier earlier this month.

One of the games has been suspended for two years, while they have also been fined £64,641.

A section of supporters at the match in Sofia’s Levski Stadium directed racial abuse at England’s black players, while some were also seen making Nazi salutes.

The punishment exceeds the standard sanction for a second offence at a home match within a period of five years, which would normally be one match behind closed doors.

The sanction means Bulgaria’s qualifier against the Czech Republic on November 17 will be played behind closed doors.

Bulgaria must also display a banner worded “NO TO RACISM” in their next two matches.

The Bulgarian Football Union were officially found guilty of the following charges:

  • Racist behaviour – Art. 14 of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations (DR)

  • Throwing of objects – Art. 16 (2) (b) DR
  • Disruption of national anthem – Art. 16 (2) (g) DR
  • Replays on giant screen – Art. 42 of the UEFA Safety and Security Regulations


England’s Tyrone Mings and teammates in Sofia (REUTERS)

While the English Football Association were also found guilty of causing a disturbance during a national anthem, earning a €5,000 fine.


While The FA insisted a huge challenge still remains despite the ruling.


A statement read: “Following today’s ruling by the independent UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body [CEDB], we have issued the following statement: “We sincerely hope the disgraceful scenes in Sofia are never repeated.


“Our priority remains our players, support team and fans and we will do all we can to ensure they never have to endure such circumstances again. “While we acknowledge UEFA’s ruling today, a huge challenge still exists around racism and discrimination in society.

“Football has its part to play, and must do so, but it is for all to recognise the seriousness of the problem.

“While those responsible for such deplorable behaviour at home or abroad need to be held to account, we should not lose sight of the importance of education programmes in finding a long-term solution.

“That has to be the way forward to help address the root cause of such disgusting behaviour. We are ready to build on our work with UEFA, Kick It Out and the FARE network in any positive way we can.”