Bulgarian police have identified 15 fans they suspect are responsible for subjecting black England players to racist abuse and arrested six of them.

The nine not arrested are under police investigation, with three wanted.

England’s 6-0 Euro 2020 qualifier win over Bulgaria in Sofia was stopped twice in the first half following racist chanting by home supporters.

Bulgaria’s football Chief Borislav Mikhailov has since resigned last Tuesday following the incidence.

Bulgaria manager Krasimir Balakov said after the game he didn’t hear any chanting, having previously accused England of having a bigger racism problem.

But Balakov has since posted a statement on Facebook, acknowledging the incidents and apologising to English footballers and to all those who felt offended.

Bulgarian legend Hristo Stoichkov became emotional when he was asked on TV how to prevent a similar occurrence in future.

He advocated that fans are not allowed in the stadium or even face heavier punishments such as the five-year European ban imposed on English club sides after 39 people died at Heysel Stadium before the start of the 1985 European Cup final between Liverpool and Juventus.

Meanwhile, the English Football Association and Uefa have both condemned the actions of the ‘ultras’ section of Bulgaria fans, with President of the Sport’s European governing body, Aleksander Ceferin,
calling for football family and governments to wage war on the racists.

The FA has also offered full support to England players following the racist chanting, with counselling one of the options open to them.


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