Anti-racism body says UEFA needs to do more amid Bulgaria racism furore
Anti-racism organisation calls for tougher UEFA sanctions as fallout continues following Euro 2020 qualifier between Bulgaria and England.
SHOWS: LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (OCTOBER 15, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE ANTI-RACISM ORGANISATION KICK IT OUT, ROISIN WOOD, SAYING: "I think it's a good protocol and we've never really seen it initiated until last night, which is good.
But however, we're not clear… the second step of the protocol is that the players are taken off and put into the changing rooms and then brought back on again.
That didn't happen.
And the third step, obviously, is that the game is abandoned.
And if the racist chanting went on, which I think everybody now agrees it did, then I think UEFA should have taken a stronger stance in the second half." SOFIA, BULGARIA (OCTOBER 14, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 2.
FANS IN THE STANDS AT THE EURO 2020 QUALIFIER BETWEEN BULGARIA AND ENGLAND IN WHICH YOU CAN AUDIBLY HEAR PEOPLE MAKING MONKEY CHANTS LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (OCTOBER 15, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 3.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE ANTI-RACISM ORGANISATION KICK IT OUT, ROISIN WOOD, SAYING: "I think it (sanctions for racism) has to be more drastic now, to be honest.
Bulgaria's been fined before, as other countries have.
They played last night in a partially closed stadium - that didn't seem to have any impact on it.
So, I think UEFA now has to take strong leadership and actually say, 'enough is enough' and actually now start looking at stronger sanctions." STORY: The chief executive of anti-racism organisation Kick It Out on Tuesday (October 15) said UEFA needs to do more to combat racism in European soccer as the fallout continues following racist incidents at Monday's (October 14) Euro 2020 qualifier between Bulgaria and England during which black players were subjected to monkey chants.
The game was twice halted in the first half, first when England manager Gareth Southgate informed the UEFA delegate about incidents and a public announcement was made.
The abuse continued and the Group A match, which England went on to win 6-0, was again temporarily suspended by the referee under a three-step UEFA protocol for tackling abuse.
However, Roisin Wood, head of Kick It Out, told Reuters "UEFA should have taken a stronger stance in the second half." UEFA said it would announce possible disciplinary proceedings later on Tuesday (October 15) or on Wednesday (October 16) once it had received full reports from match officials.
Around 50 black-clad Bulgarian fans, some of whom were seen making Nazi salutes, left the stadium before halftime and the second half was completed without further stoppages.
The first step of UEFA's protocol was enacted after 28 minutes when England defender Tyrone Mings was subjected to abuse and an announcement was made calling on supporters to stop using racist chants.
The second step, according to UEFA's protocol, is for the players to be sent to the dressing rooms for a specified period.
This was never implemented in Sofia although UEFA said there had been a discussion with the England bench after the second incident and they had agreed to continue as it was so close to halftime.
Step three, according to UEFA, is "after consultation, abandon the match if the discriminatory behaviour still does not cease or breaks out again." UEFA is yet to comment officially on the incidents.
The threat of racism had dominated the buildup to the game and part of the stadium was empty after UEFA punished Bulgaria for racist behaviour by fans during June's qualifiers against the Czechs and Kosovo.
The president of the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) Borislav Mihaylov stepped down on Tuesday after the Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov urged him to quit following racist abuse from Bulgarian fans, a move Wood applauded.