NEWS
16/10/2019 11:01 BST | Updated 16/10/2019 14:12 BST

Six Football Fans In Bulgaria Arrested After Racist Abuse In England Match

Fifa president proposes worldwide lifetime bans for those found guilty of racist behaviour.

Bulgarian police have arrested six football fans and identified 15 people linked to making racist gestures, including Nazi salutes, during a European Championship qualifying match against England.

The match – which England won 6-0 – had to be stopped twice in the first half following racist chanting by home supporters. Meanwhile, fans were seen holding up “No Respect” hoodies with the Uefa badge sewn on. 

“Six people have been arrested during the operation of the Sofia police department after establishing they are the perpetrators of disorderly acts,” the Ministry of Interior said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Due to the immediate action taken by Sofia police, 15 participants in the illegal activity have been identified. For nine of those there is information collected, including expert facial recognition.”

The ministry said the evidence collected will be handed to the prosecutor’s office in Sofia.

“We do not tolerate such behaviour,” Sofia police department senior commissioner Georgi Hadzhiev said in the statement.

“Everyone who violated the public order will be called in, some of them have been arrested and action will be taken against them.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Photo released by the Bulgarian Interior Ministry shows four people allegedly arrested on charges relating to disturbances at the Monday Oct. 14 Bulgaria England football match 

The news came as Fifa President Gianni Infantino proposed worldwide lifetime bans for those found guilty of racist behaviour. 

“I call on all football governing bodies to join us and think together of new, stronger and more effective ways to eradicate racism in football,” he said. 

“As a starting point, I suggest that all competition organisers enact regulations which envisage life bans from stadiums for those who are found guilty of racist behaviour at a football match. Fifa can then enforce such bans at a worldwide level.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS
England players at the Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia on Monday night 

On Tuesday, Uefa charged the Bulgaria Football Union with racist behaviour, throwing objects and disruption of a national anthem following the game. 

Meanwhile, the English Football Association was charged with disrupting a national anthem and having an insufficient number of travelling stewards. 

In a statement, Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin urged the “football family” to “wage war on the racists”.

Ceferin blamed a rise in nationalism across Europe for fuelling racism at matches and said the governing body was committed to eradicating the “disease” from football.

“Believe me, Uefa is committed to doing everything it can to eliminate this disease from football,” Ceferin said in a statement.

“We cannot afford to be content with this, we must always strive to strengthen our resolve.” 

He added: “Football associations themselves cannot solve this problem. Governments too need to do more in this area.”

On Tuesday, following pressure from the country’s prime minister Boyko Borrisov, the president of the Bulgarian Football Union resigned. 

Tweeting about the PM’s role in the resignation, England forward Raheem Sterling wrote: “A good move, credits to you M. Borrisov.”