A Bulgarian crowd appeared to make monkey chants and Nazi salutes at England's black players, and the team's captain begged the fans to stop
- Bulgaria fans appeared to make Nazi salutes and monkey chants at England's black players during a Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia on Monday.
- The game was halted twice in the first-half, as per UEFA's "three step protocol", which included a stadium announcement and the ejection of a group from the ground.
- Bulgaria captain Ivelin Popov appeared to plead with the home fans to stop during half-time, however ITV commentators at the time said the behaviour continued, and no official action was then taken.
- Former England striker and ITV pundit Ian Wright described the events as "a terrible day for Bulgarian people."
- The Levski Stadium was already partially closed after Bulgaria was sanctioned for racist behaviour during games against Kosovo and the Czech Republic last week.
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Bulgaria fans appeared to make Nazi salutes and monkey chants at England's black players during a UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia on Monday.
The game was halted twice in first half after fans were warned about racist behaviour, and a group dressed in black attire - some of which had captions of "no respect" on it - were ejected from the stadium.
The first stoppage came in the 28th minute, where a stadium announcement said the game would be abandoned if the alleged behaviour continued.
The second came two minutes prior half time, however play resumed after a discussion between England manager Gareth Southgate and the referee.
During half-time, Bulgaria captain Ivelin Popov walked over to fans and appeared to plead with them to stop, however ITV commentators reported that the chants continued after the break, and no official action was taken.
The former England striker Ian Wright, a pundit on ITV, said at half-time: "It's a terrible day for Bulgarian people and how they are being represented but it's a great day in respects of trying to tackle racism because we can see over in that stand, those banners mean nothing. What we're seeing is a set of fans who do not care and need educating.
"As a black player, we've heard it for many years about walking off, it's something you don't want to do because you do need your white players to do that for you, so you can go off together, how powerful it is, that will do something."
The former Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane also said on the ITV broadcast that it made him "feel sick to his stomach."
The English Football Association (FA), the governing body for football in England, tweeted that its players was "subjected to abhorrent racist chanting" during the match, adding: "This is unacceptable at any level of the game."
The Levski Stadium was already partially closed on the night, after Bulgaria was sanctioned for alleged racist behaviour during games against Kosovo and the Czech Republic last week.
The England and Chelsea FC striker Tammy Abraham had told reporters ahead of the match that the England team would walk off the pitch on the night should any of the players be subject to racial abuse, according to The Telegraph.
However the 22-year-old's announcement came under fire from many, including former Liverpool football turned Guardian columnist Howard Gayle who suggested that "racism wins" if England were to walk off.
UEFA currently has a three-step protocol aimed to tackle racist behaviour, which involves first stopping the match, followed by a stadium announcement, before eventually calling the game off.
Should England have broken the protocol, it would have faced possible sanctions.
England won 6-0 on the night, thanks to goals from Marcus Rashford, Ross Barkley (2), Raheem Sterling (2), and Harry Kane.
England's next match is a November 14 Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro.
We can confirm that @England players were subjected to abhorrent racist chanting while playing in the #EURO2020 qualifier against Bulgaria.- The FA (@FA) October 14, 2019
This is unacceptable at any level of the game and our immediate focus is supporting the players and staff involved.