Bulgaria boss slams England fans for ‘disrespecting’ anthem, denies racist abuse

first_img Getty Images – Getty The referee was forced to take action after the shocking abuse Bulgaria boss Krasimir Balakov was all smiles ahead of the match but the game quickly turned sour in Sofia The England players and staff alerted match officials to the abuse but decided to battle through and complete the match, with Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley each scoring two goals and Marcus Rashford and Harry Kane also netting, to answer the abuse they suffered in style and with dignity.However, the deplorable events surrounding the game appeared to be lost on Balakov who, in a quite astonishing post-match interview, instead criticised England fans for ‘disrespecting’ the Bulgarian national anthem.Speaking via a translator, he said: “I personally did not hear the chanting that you’re 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 English fans who were whistling and shouting during the Bulgaria national anthem and during the second half they used words against the Bulgaria fans which I find unacceptable. I was concentrated on the game.“I didn’t actually hear anything but I just talked to the English press downstairs and I told them that if this is proven to be true, then we have to be ashamed and we have to apologise for it. But, once again, first it has to be proven to be true.”The word “if” was repeatedly used by the Bulgaria head coach, who on the eve of the game said England had a bigger problem with racism than his country did – which was scoffed at by Three Lions Sterling following the match. 3 The Bulgaria boss also insisted this is the first time he has experienced such claims against his supporters, apparently disagreeing with their previous UEFA sanction for “racist behaviour” which meant the Vasil Levski National Stadium was partly closed for the match.He even seemed to accuse England of being part of the problem, saying Bulgaria never had such an issue before they were due to play the Three Lions.“To be honest, this has not happened to us before,” he said.“The disciplinary measures by UEFA were not because of racist chanting, but because of a banner for an organisation which is not forbidden by Bulgarian law.“We have had this problem ever since England were about to come to Bulgaria, and all I’ve heard for three weeks is people talk about anything else but football and I don’t think this is the proper manner to prepare and to play a football game because for three weeks everybody was talking about one thing.” Getty Images – Getty Getty Images – Getty center_img Balakov added: “But, of course, I think this is an extremely serious and sensitive topic.“I have always had my firm stance against racism and if something is proven to be true, and there was this actual abuse, then again we have to say that this is a big shame.“If this turns out to be true, we are truly sorry and we as the Bulgarian national team and the Bulgarian football union are working hard and nobody wants to see this, but let me tell you that this has really never happened in all of our games up until now.“If something can be proven, then we are sorry.” 3 Southgate spoke to the officials about the racist chanting 3 Bulgaria head coach Krasimir Balakov has insisted he ‘did not hear’ any racism during England’s Euro 2020 qualifying win in Sofia, and also aimed criticism at England fans for their behaviour.The Three Lions’ 6-0 victory was overshadowed by vile racist chanting from the home supporters, which forced the Group A match to be halted twice in the first half. 🎥 IN FULL 🎥’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— ITV Football (@itvfootball) October 14, 2019last_img read more