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Bulgaria head coach resigns amid racism row

Bulgaria coach

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Bulgaria head coach resigns amid racism row

Bulgaria head coach Krasimir Balakov has resigned amid the fallout of the racist abuse suffered by England’s players during their Euro 2020 qualifier match on Monday night.

England’s 6-0 European Qualifier win in Sofia was overshadowed by racist chanting and Nazi salutes, with the game stopped twice during the first half as players considered walking off the pitch in protest of the abuse.

In an interview with Sky Sports News after the game, Balakov said he did not hear monkey chants from the stands, and would only apologise to England’s players if UEFA proved that there had been discriminatory abuse.

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On Friday, the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) confirmed Balakov had stepped down, citing the “unsatisfactory” performance of the Bulgaria team in recent months, along with BFU president Borislav Mihaylov and the entire Executive Committee.

Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borissov asked Mihaylov to step down on Tuesday in the aftermath of the racist abuse, but this was initially turned down by the BFU over fears of political interference, which is not allowed by FIFA.

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Step one of UEFA’s anti-racism protocol was activated just before the half-hour mark of Monday’s game, with the referee asking for a public address announcement to be made ordering the abuse to stop. However, it continued throughout.

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Head coach Balakov said on Monday night: “I was concentrated on the game.

Meanwhile, Mihaylov said on Friday:

“My decision to step down has nothing to do with prime minister Borissov asking for my resignation the day after the game vs England. My patience is over.

“We did what we had to do regarding the security during the game v England. Bulgaria is not a racist country.”

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