International

Bulgaria coach issues staggering denial over racist chants

2019-10-15 09:47
Raheem Sterling, Jesse Lingard and Harry Maguire (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Bulgaria manager Krasimir Balakov on Monday insisted that he did not hear any racist chanting by his nation's fans while blaming the 'unacceptable behaviour' on England's away supporters.

The Euro 2020 qualifier had to be stopped twice in the first-half due to racist abuse directed at England players in a 6-0 win for Gareth Southgate's men.

Despite monkey noises aimed at Tyron Mings and Raheem Sterling being clearly heard as well as fans seen making Nazi salutes, Balakov denied personally hearing the abuse.

"I personally did not hear the chanting you are most probably referring to. I saw that the referee stopped the game.

"But I also have to say the unacceptable behaviour was not only on behalf of the Bulgaria fans but also the England fans who were whistling and shouting during the Bulgaria national anthem and during the second half they used words against our fans which I find unacceptable.

"To be honest this has not happened to us before. The disciplinary measures by UEFA were not because of racist chanting but because of a banner from an organisation which is not forbidden by Bulgarian law.

"We have had this problem since England were going to come to Bulgaria. For three weeks I have heard anything else but football and I don't think this is the proper manner to prepare and play a football game because over three weeks everybody was talking about one thing.

"If this turns out to be true, we are truly sorry. The Bulgaria national team and the Bulgaria football union are working very hard and no one wants to see this.

"But let me tell you this really has never happened before in our games up until now.

"If something can be proven, then we are sorry but we cannot speak on behalf of some fans."

Sterling later hit back at Balakov's claims on social media - with several other England players hitting out at the racist abuse.

Read more on:    england  |  euro 2020  |  raheem sterling  |  soccer

 

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