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Bulgaria to play behind closed doors following racist abuse in defeat to England

The Bulgarian Football Union has also been fined €75,000 for the racist behaviour of fans during the game.

The referee halts play between Bulgaria and England.
The referee halts play between Bulgaria and England.

BULGARIA MUST PLAY next month’s home match against the Czech Republic behind closed doors as punishment for fans aiming racist abuse at England players in the recent Euro 2020 qualifier, Uefa has said.

England’s 6-0 win in Sofia on 14 October was tarnished by the behaviour of a group of home supporters, who targeted the likes of Tyrone Mings, Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling with racist abuse. Nazi salutes in home sections of the stadium were also witnessed.

Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin vowed that European football’s governing body would “wage war on the racists”, amid the outcry that followed the game.

Its decision to impose a two-game closed-doors punishment – with the second of those games suspended for two years – may not appease those who called for a robust reaction from Uefa.

The Bulgarian Football Union [BFU] must also display a ‘No To Racism’ banner at the national team’s next two Uefa competition matches, and has been fined €75,000 for the racist behaviour and throwing of objects during the England game.

Uefa added, in a statement revealing the punishments imposed by its control, ethics and disciplinary body, that it had also imposed a fine of €10,000 on the BFU for disrupting England’s national anthem. The BFU was also issued with a warning over the showing of replays on a big screen.

The English Football Association [FA] was fined €5,000 for fans disrupting Bulgaria’s national anthem, with a separate charge regarding stewarding levels put back until a 21 November hearing.

Bulgaria sit bottom of Group A in Euro 2020 qualifying. Confirmation of the closed-doors punishment could bolster second-placed Czech Republic’s hopes of an away victory in the 17 November fixture between the teams, as the Czechs bid to secure a place in the finals.

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Uefa did not immediately detail whether its ruling would mean Czech fans intending to travel to the game at the Vasil Levski national stadium would have their plans thwarted.

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