Bulgaria Manager Krasimir Balakov Resigns After Racist Abuse During England Game
Bulgaria manager Krasimir Balakov has resigned as manager just four days after England players were subjected to racist abuse by Bulgaria fans.
Fallout from the racist abuse that England players suffered during the Euro 2020 qualifier on Monday night continues with Balakov the second high profile resignation, following the head of the Bulgarian FA Borislav Mihaylov.
Bulgaria manager, Krasimir Balakov resigns after interview with me post match, saying he didn't hear the monkey chants, and wouldn't apologise unless UEFA proved they'd happened. Entire Bulgarian FU board has also resigned, with the President. Now a total void of power. #england- Rob Dorsett (@RobDorsettSky) October 18, 2019
Immediately following the match, which the referee stopped twice due to the abuse and England nearly abandoned at half time, the manager had denied hearing any monkey noises or other abuse.
Speaking to ITV the 53-year-old said, "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."
:movie_camera: IN FULL :movie_camera:- ITV Football (@itvfootball) October 14, 2019
'For three weeks all we've heard people talking about is anything else but football'
Bulgarian boss Krasimir Balakov gives his reaction to the reported racist abuse during the England game#BULENG #ThreeLions #ITVFootball #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/NDiu7zBywG
Bulgaria captain Ivelin Popov had spoken to fans at half time, pleading with them to stop the abuse, but the manager even denied that was to do with racism, saying, "It is probably because the fans were unhappy with the way the team was performing."
On Wednesday he did finally apologising, and condemned the abuse, in a statement, saying, "I strongly condemn and reject racism as a norm of conduct that contradicts modern human relations.
"This is a prejudice that comes from the past that must be eradicated forever.
"I want to say something very clear: given that there have been insults on such a basis, I, as a coach of the national team, apologise to the English footballers and all those who feel hurt."
On Tuesday Bulgarian FA chief Mihaylov was the first to resign after pressure from the country's Prime Minister, who told him he'd stop supporting the FA if he didn't stand down.