London - England manager Gareth Southgate is to meet with his squad ahead of
their Euro 2020 match in Bulgaria next month and discuss what measures
they might take if they are subjected to racist abuse.
One Bulgarian fan was arrested for "discriminatory abuse" directed at
Raheem Sterling during the 4-0 win over Bulgaria last Saturday at
Wembley, although he was subsequently released without charge.
A previous England team have already experienced racist abuse in
Bulgaria in 2011 - Southgate's team also were showered with abuse in a
Euro qualifier in Montenegro last year.
Bulgaria's Stadion Vasil Levski will be partially closed for the
matches with England on October 14 and Czech Republic in November
because of the racist behaviour of fans in June.
A total of 5 000 seats of the 46 000 capacity stadium will be closed
off for the England visit and 3 000 for the Czech Republic match - and a
banner with the wording "#EqualGame", with the UEFA logo on it will be
displayed over the seats.
"It is a concern, we're not confident that we'll go there and nothing
will happen," Southgate said, adding that the meeting to address the
issue was "already planned."
"We've already planned what our schedule looks like and we're going
to discuss it with the players before we go, because we're aware that
there is history there and we want to make sure that we're all prepared
for what might happen and how we want to respond."
UEFA ordered the partial closure of Bulgaria's national stadium
following racist behaviour by their fans in Euro 2020 qualifying games
against Czech Republic and Kosovo in June.
Last month, Bulgarian club sides PFC Levski Sofia and PFC Lokomotiv
Plovdiv were punished by UEFA for racism during Europa League games.