Bulgarian national coach Krasimir Balakov claims that he was not informed on Monday that some of the home fans were guilty of racism in the European Championship qualifying match with England (0-6). The match in Sofia was stopped twice.
"I didn't hear anything. I saw that the game was suddenly stopped, but I have to say that the English fans were wrong too. They fluttered and shouted during the Bulgarian national anthem and shouted at the players in the second half of everything and everything" , says Balakov.
After half an hour the stadium speaker called on a group of supporters to stop making monkey sounds and just before half-time the game was interrupted again when the English coach Gareth Southgate complained.
The Bulgarian hooligans not only made monkey sounds, but also brought the Nazi salute. After captain Ivelin Popov addressed the group of fans in the break, things remained relatively calm in the second half.
In the run-up to the game, the English had announced that they would step out of the field in racism, but it didn't get that far. Earlier in the European Championship qualifying series things went wrong in Montenegro.
Debutant Tyrone Mings was one of the players targeted by the Bulgarian hooligans. (Photo: Pro Shots)
"This has not happened to us before"
Following previous racist incidents, Bulgaria-England was partly played without an audience, although national coach Balakov denies that too. "This has not happened to us before. That punishment was because of a banner from an organization that is not banned in Bulgaria," he said.
"This problem always arises when England comes here. In the three weeks leading up to the game, there has been talk of everything except football. That is not the ideal preparation."
The national coach also denied that captain Popov went into rest with the hooligans because of the racist sounds. "He probably did that because the fans were dissatisfied with the game."
Bulgaria is expected to receive a new sentence from UEFA. England easily won the much-discussed match in Sofia by goals from Ross Barkley, Raheem Sterling (both two), Marcus Rashford and Harry Kane.
View the results, the program and the positions in the European Championship qualification