England manager Gareth Southgate speaks about how the scenes in Sofia were dealt with

Monday 14 Oct 2019
England manager Gareth Southgate has spoken about his team's experience in Sofia

Gareth Southgate had no complaints over the way the escalating level of racism directed at his England side was dealt with in Bulgaria.

The England manager should’ve been enjoying his team’s performance on the pitch, as they breezed into a three-goal lead over their hosts in Sofia during the first half before going on to complete a 6-0 victory in UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying.

But the match was about to be stopped twice before the break, with abuse from sections of the crowd towards the Three Lions clearly audible.

“I have to say the officials were onto everything very quickly and we reported everything immediately when we heard things,” said Southgate.

“We had constant communication with the fourth official and the referee and I was in contact with the players all the way through the first half and then at half time.

“We know it’s an unacceptable situation but I think we’ve managed to make two statements: by winning the game but also by raising awareness of everybody to the situation as the game was stopped twice.

“I know for some people, that won’t be enough, but as a group we were on board with that process.”

By Nicholas Veevers