Bulgaria coach Krasimir Balakov resigns after racism row following England game | Football | Sport


Bulgaria coach Krasimir Balakov has resigned, four days after England players were subjected to racist abuse by Bulgarian fans.

England beat Bulgaria 6-0 on Monday night though the match was overshadowed by racism from the home supporters.

The clash was twice stopped by the referee though Balakov initially claimed he did not hear the abuse.

However, he has now resigned, telling Bulgarian media: “I am no longer national team coach.”

Twelve arrests were made following the game with Bulgarian authorities having identified 16 suspects.

Balakov added: “I wish success to the next coach, the situation is not rosy at the moment.

“I have never been a coach in such an atmosphere. I tried to pick up the players in the locker room. There was no rebellion.

“The players were so mentally stressed by what was happening on the pitch that they lacked the energy to rebel.”

England won the match in Sofia thanks to braces from Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley, coupled with further strikes from Marcus Rashford and Harry Kane.

And England boss Gareth Southgate lauded his England players for fighting on and making a big statement in the process.

“I have to say that the officials were onto everything very quickly,” he said.

“We reported everything immediately when we heard things, constant communication with the fourth official and the referee.

“And I was in contact with the players all the way through the first half in particular and we got to half time.

“So we know it’s an unacceptable situation. I think we’ve managed to make two statements really by winning the game but also raised the awareness of everybody to the situation.

“The game was stopped twice and I know for some people that won’t be enough.

“But I think we were, as a group, on board with that process.”

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