He ended up giving in to pressure. The boss of Bulgarian football threw in the towel on Tuesday, carried away by indignation provoked by the monkey cries and Nazi signs addressed by Bulgarian fans to black English players in Bulgaria-England.
Not sure, however, that his departure was enough to appease the anger of the British government, which urged UEFA to be more determined to "get rid of once and for all" racism in the stadiums.
At the origin of the storm, a match concluded by an overwhelming victory of England (6-0), which took a huge step towards qualifying for the Euro-2020 Monday night. But the meeting had to be interrupted twice because of a segment of the public in Sofia, who verbally attacked the black players of the England team: the defender Tyrone Mings and the attackers Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling.
Under pressure from his government, President of the Bulgarian Football Federation Borislav Mihaylov presented his resignation Tuesday.
It will be handed Friday to members of the executive committee and explained by the "tensions that have occurred in recent days, damaging to Bulgarian football and the Bulgarian Football Federation," according to his federation.
After the meeting, Mr. Mihaylov had not reacted to the defeat, nor denounced the racist songs or the Nazi gestures that had enamored the game, leaving the stadium before the end of the match.
But Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov claimed his head on Tuesday and struck at the wallet by ordering the break of any link, including financial, with the federation as a result of this "shameful defeat", until the departure of Mr. Mihaylov.
On the sporting side, since the arrival of the latter at the head of the federation in 2005, Bulgaria has not qualified for any major tournament. And in the stands, the excesses are not new.
On Monday night, racist acts took place at a Vassil-Levski stadium that had already been closed to the match for racist insults against Kosovo in June.
- Cancel the matches? -
The English reactions have been very lively and are aimed directly at UEFA.
Denouncing "despicable racism" and calling for "an urgent investigation followed by tough punishments," Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on UEFA to "look at the facts": "This stain on football is not handled adequately. Football must be rid of racism and discrimination once and for all ".
Under pressure, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin of Slovenia called "the football family" to "work with governments and NGOs to declare war on racists", ensuring that the body is already applying sanctions "among the most severe".
In August, Kostiantyn Makhnovskyi, Ukrainian goalkeeper of the Latvian club FK Ventspils, was sentenced to ten suspension matches for "racist behavior" in a Europa League preliminary round match.
Despite this arsenal, the English Federation stressed that it was "not the first time that [his] players are targeted by this type of insults".
Several English players had already suffered racist insults in March against Montenegro.
Monday night, the English coach Gareth Southgate stressed the responsiveness of officials.
"The match has been interrupted twice, I know for some it will not be enough," he conceded.
State Secretary for Sport Nigel Adams regretted that for the moment players are left to react with the game: "It is clear that this can not go on ... UEFA must not exclude any sanctions", he launched in Parliament, denouncing "subhuman behavior".
For the anti-racist group Kick It Out, the match should have been stopped as long as racist insults continued in the second half.
"We can no longer be satisfied with ridiculous fines or short stadium bans," he said. "If the EU really wants to tackle discrimination (...), withdrawing points or expelling tournaments must be put in place".
© 2019 AFP