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Bulgaria manager Krasimir Balakov resigns following racist storm in Sofia

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

03:49 18 Oct 2019


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Krasimir Balakov - the Bulgaria manager since May - has resigned following the racism scandal that engulfed his side's 6-0 defeat to England in a Euro 2020 qualifier. 

The game was halted twice over monkey chants from a section of the home fans in Sofia aimed at England's black players.

Immediately after the match Balakov refused to accept that England players were subject of such abuse, but later backtracked and apologised to the opposition.

In a statement prior to his resignation, Balakov said, "I would like to state one thing very clearly – since there have been reported cases of racial discrimination at the stadium in Sofia I, as Bulgaria national team head coach, would like to offer my sincere apologies to the English footballers and to anyone who felt offended."

Before his act of contrition, Balakov claimed England had a bigger problem with racism than Bulgaria.

However, a statement from the Bulgarian FA claims Balakov has paid for the country's poor recent run of results rather than his questionable comments. Of the 6 games played under Balakov's stewardship, they've lost five and drawn one.

Bulgarian Football Union president Borislav Mihaylov resigned from his post on Wednesday as a result of events on Monday night.

His letter of resignation was presented to members of the Bulgarian FA Executive Committee on Friday.

However, the decision to accept his resignation was seemingly not unanimous with another member of their 1994 World Cup semi-final side Yordan Letchkov - who is now Bulgarian Football Union vice-president - saying he wouldn't accept Mihaylov's letter of resignation.

Letchkov has now been tasked with finding a replacement for Balakov.

The matter has received attention from the highest offer in the country, with Prime Minister Boyko Borissov saying, "I strongly condemn the conduct of some of the fans at the stadium.

"It is unacceptable that Bulgaria which is one of the most tolerant states in the world and where people of different ethnic and religious background peacefully live together should be associated with racism."

He later claimed he'd raised the matter with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and that they both "deplore racist behaviour".

Four Bulgaria fans arrested for their behavior during the match and fined 1,000 Bulgarian lev (€511) and banned from all sports events in the country for two years.

Despite their atrocious form - on and off the pitch - Bulgaria could still qualify for Euro 2020 via the Nations League playoffs.

 

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Boris Johnson Borislav Mihaylov Boyko Borissov Bulgaria England Euro 2020 Krasimir Balakov Raheem Sterling UEFA Yordan Letchkov

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