Football Association (FA) called on UEFA to launch an immediate investigation after racial abuse of England’s players during their qualifying victory over Bulgaria in Euro 2020.
England bounced back with a thumping 6-0 win from their loss in the Czech Republic, but it was a game marred by racist abuse from support parts in Sofia.
At England 2-0 halfway through the first half, the match was halted and a voice was sent across the public address system asking home fans to stop chanting.
Between the third and fourth goals of England there was another lag, with the game looking near to abandonment as a number of fans were thrown out.
The game continued, with Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane scoring to complete the rout in the second half, and the FA has now demanded an immediate investigation from European football’s governing body.
“We can confirm that England players were subjected to abhorrent racist chanting while playing in the Euro 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria,” the FA stated in a post on the organisation’s official Twitter account.
“This is unacceptable at any level of the game and our immediate focus is supporting the players and staff involved.
“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 behaviour in society, let alone in football.
“We will be asking UEFA to investigate as a matter of urgency.”
FA chairman Greg Clarke was in attendance at Vasil Levski National Stadium, which was partially closed as a punishment for previous incidents of racist abuse from some Bulgarian supporters.
“I was up in the stands with some of the FA staff, watching the game and we heard some sounds which sounded like money chanting,” Clarke told ITV Sport.
“I came down, I heard more at the side of the pitch and I saw some activity, [by] a group of people in behind one of the corner flags, which was appalling.
“I would like to see a stringent review by UEFA, I know they take racism very, very seriously, so if we say zero tolerance, zero tolerance means zero tolerance.
“With UEFA, we need to really address that but, to be perfectly frank, we still need to address racism in England. We still have it throughout the pyramid, we see examples every week from the professional game to the grassroots game, we shouldn’t take the moral high ground, we should join a movement to drive racism out of our game and have zero tolerance for it.
“One of the ends was closed tonight with respect banners up there because of previous problems. UEFA are going to have to think carefully about the levels of abuse they allow players to tolerate and they’re going to have to decide who they make an example of one day but that’s after a thorough investigation of the facts.”