A soccer match between the national teams for England and Bulgaria had to be stopped twice on Monday after Bulgarian fans in their capital city of Sofia made racist gestures and noises toward England’s Black players.
It began at the game’s 28 minute mark after England went up 2-0 early in the game, which was a Euro 2020 qualifier.
Some of the Bulgarian fans started making monkey noises toward players Tyrone Mings, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford. They also gave Nazi salutes.
From there, an announcement on the loudspeaker was made and officials said the racist behavior was “Interfering with the game.” And the game would be suspended if it continued, which is a part of a new protocol established by the Union of European Football Association.
The second phase of the protocol is to temporarily halt the match, clear the field and issue a second warning to the crowd. The referee is supposed to cancel the match completely after that if the racist behavior continues.
At the 43 minute mark, the match was stopped for a second time after the racist chants wouldn’t stop, but the players remained on the field. The third step of the protocol was never reached, but in the end England beat Bulgaria 6-0.
Since the game, the president of Bulgaria’s football association Borislav Mihaylov has resigned.
“His decision is a consequence of the tensions caused in recent days; an environment, which is damaging to Bulgarian football and to the Bulgarian football association,” a statement read.
England’s Football Association also released a statement.
“We can confirm that @England players were subjected to abhorrent racist chanting while playing in the #EURO2020 qualifier against Bulgaria,” they tweeted.
“As we are sadly aware, this is not the first time our players have been subjected to this level of abuse and there is no place for this kind of behavior in society, let alone in football,” the statement continued. “We will be asking @UEFA to investigate as a matter of urgency.”