Bulgarian PM forces resignation of football chief over racist abuse

The president of the Bulgarian Football Assocation (BFU), Borislav Mihaylov, has resigned in the wake of racist abuse directed at England players. The resignation follows a call from the country’s prime minister, Boyko Borissov (pictured above), for Mr Mihaylov to step down.

“I urge Borislav Mihaylov to immediately resign as president of the Bulgarian Football Union!” Borissov wrote on Facebook. “It is unacceptable for Bulgaria, which is one of the most tolerant countries in the world, where people of different ethnicities and religions live in peace, to be associated with racism and xenophobia.”

The PM’s call followed appalling scenes at a Euro 2020 qualifying match in Sofia between Bulgaria and England, which was twice halted because of the persistent racial abuse of England’s black players by a minority of home supporters. The match was eventually completed, with England winning 6-0.

Sports Minister Krassen Kralev had ordered the Ministry of Sport to cut all ties with the BFU, including state funding, until Mr Mihaylov resigned.

European football’s governing body UEFA has also come under pressure to take strong action against the BFU.

UEFA is awaiting reports from the Croatian match referee, Ivan Bebek, and its match delegate but is expected to charge the BFU. A section of the stadium in Sofia was closed during the England match after UEFA imposed sanctions over racist incidents during Bulgaria’s qualifiers against Kosovo and the Czech Republic in June.

Bulgaria may now face playing a number of home matches behind closed doors.