Bulgaria Prime Minister urges football chief Borislav Mihaylov to 'hand in his resignation immediately' after England match racist abuse
PM Boyko Borissov says it is 'inadmissible that Bulgaria ... is associated with racism and xenophobia'
The prime minister of Bulgaria has called for the head of the national team's football federation Borislav Mihaylov to resign following disgraceful scenes that marred Monday's Euro 2020 qualifier against England in Sofia.
England's black players and backroom staff were subjected to abuse at various stages of the match, which was halted twice by the match referee, but the game was ultimately completed with England winning 6-0 in Sofia.
Sanctions from European football's governing body Uefa seem sure to follow, and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov issued a strongly worded statement on Facebook calling for Mihaylov to stand down.
"I urge Borislav Mihaylov to hand in his resignation immediately!" Borissov wrote on Facebook, adding it was "unacceptable that Bulgaria, which is one of the most tolerant countries in the world, and people of different ethnicities and religions live in peace, connect with racism and xenophobia".
Earlier reports said that Krasen Kralev, Bulgaria's sports minister, had been instructed by Borissov to suspend all relations with the Bulgarian Football Union until Mihaylov steps down.
"The prime minister called me urgently a short time ago," Kralev said in quotes reported by sportal.bg. "The government has done a lot for the development of Bulgarian football in the last four years.
"But after the recent events, having in mind the whole state of football and last night's incidents, the prime minister has ordered me from today to suspend any relations with the BFU, including financial ones, until the resignation of Borislav Mihaylov."
Fifa, world football's governing body, are also likely to take an interest in the Bulgarian government's interference of BFU affairs, which could result in additional sanctions.
Mihaylov wrote to Uefa before Monday night's match criticising the fact that England players had spoken about the potential for racist abuse at the match, calling it an "unjust branding" of Bulgarian supporters and urging Uefa to impose sanctions if England did not follow protocol.
Piara Powar, the executive director of the Fare network which had spotters inside the Levski Stadium, said he believed some of the racism was motivated by a desire to create a problem for Mihaylov by certain supporters.
"They were getting involved in racism because they are racist, but also because they do not respect the leadership of the FA president," he told the PA news agency.
"So when the FA president was telling them not to be racist before the match, it was almost a signal for them to contradict him and punish his leadership of the FA."
Updated: October 15, 2019 02:28 PM