Bulgaria’s football chief resigned on Tuesday after racist chanting marred England’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia, as UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin said the sport needed to “wage war” on abusers.
England eased to a 6-0 victory over their hosts in the Bulgarian capital on Monday but the game was blighted by offensive chants, forcing the match to be halted twice in the first half.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the “vile” racism, which included monkey noises and apparent Nazi salutes, and called for tough action from UEFA.
As temperatures rose his Bulgarian counterpart, Boyko Borisov, urged the country’s football union president to quit.
“I urge Borislav Mihaylov to hand in his resignation immediately!” Borisov wrote on Facebook, adding it was “inadmissible that Bulgaria… is associated with racism and xenophobia”.
Hours later the Bulgarian Football Union said in a statement on its website that Mihaylov had offered his resignation and would hand it to the members of the BFU executive committee during its meeting on Friday.
“His decision resulted from the tension created over the past days, which is detrimental to Bulgarian football and the Bulgarian Football Union,” the statement said.
UEFA president Ceferin stressed the commitment of the governing body of European football to root out the “disease” of racism.
“More broadly, the football family — everyone from administrators to players, coaches and fans — needs to work with governments and NGOs to wage war on the racists and to marginalise their abhorrent views to the fringes of society,” he said.
Earlier, a spokesman for the British prime minister said: “The racism we saw and heard last night was vile and has no place in football or anywhere else.
“The England players and management showed tremendous dignity and the prime minister commends the players who were targeted with this despicable abuse for their response.”
After several English players suffered racist abuse in a qualifier away to Montenegro in March, England manager Gareth Southgate had prepared his side to follow UEFA’s three-step protocol for reporting racist incidents that can lead to matches being abandoned.