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THE president of Bulgaria’s football federation has claimed that England players “should face sanctions” if they continue to talk about the possibility of racist abuse during Monday’s match in Bulgaria.
Borislav Mikhaylov, head of the Bulgarian Football Union, has written to UEFA to express his anger at comments from the England camp suggesting they could walk off the pitch if any of their players are racially abused.
He says the comments are “unjust.” But the national stadium in Sofia will be partially closed on Monday for the England game, as punishment for racist behaviour by Bulgaria’s supporters in earlier home Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Mikhaylov complained players were “openly discussing” breaking UEFA protocol on racist conduct — which follows a more incremental procedure than England players have considered — and insisted that the team should be punished if they followed through on it, or even if they continued to discuss it.
He told UEFA: “The Bulgarian public has in no way committed any recent infringements that deserve it to be stereotyped as “racist” or “hostile” — and I am sure you will agree that these accusations are not only unjust but are continuous attempts to disrupt the atmosphere before a very much anticipated game of football.”
Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham said earlier this week that discussions had taken place among the England squad about what they would do in the event of racist abuse in either of the next two Euro qualifiers — their next taking place today against the Czech Republic in Prague.
He said of potential racist abuse: “[England captain] Harry Kane even said that if it happens and we’re not happy with it, we speak to the player and if he’s not happy, we all come off the pitch together.”
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