Bulgarian football president resigns after racist abuse in England game (video)
Borislav Mihaylov stands down after Euro 2020 qualifier
Borislav Mihaylov has resigned as president of the Bulgarian Football Union after the prime minister, Boyko Borissov, called for him to go because of the “racism and xenophobia” witnessed at Monday’s Euro 2020 qualifier against England.
On a dramatic day, more than 20 police officers swept into the BFU headquarters in Sofia less than an hour after Mihaylov’s departure was confirmed. Borissov said that related to match-fixing allegations and had been planned before Monday. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Mihaylov, a former Bulgaria goalkeeper whose clubs included Reading.
Mihaylov’s letter of resignation will be presented to members of the BFU’s executive committee on Friday. He stepped down after Borissov wrote on Facebook: “I urge Borislav Mihaylov to immediately resign as president of the Bulgarian Football Union! It is unacceptable for Bulgaria, which is one of the most tolerant countries in the world – and people of different ethnicities and religions live in peace – to be associated with racism and xenophobia.”
Bulgaria’s sports minister, Krasen Kralev, had said the government would suspend relations with the BFU, including financial ties, until Mihaylov went. He cited “the whole state of football and last night’s incidents”.
Mihaylov said in the buildup to the 6-0 defeat by England that comments by Gareth Southgate and players such as Tammy Abraham about possible racist abuse at the Sofia match were “offensive” and “derogatory”.
A BFU statement confirming Mihaylov’s resignation said: “It comes after the pressure that has been generated over the past few days; a situation that is not positive for Bulgarian football or the football union itself. After so many years in the position and because of his network of international contacts, Mr Mihaylov has said he is ready to continue helping Bulgarian football to develop in any way possible.”
Of police raiding the BFU headquarters, Borissov added: “The rules and the laws are to be respected. We won’t tolerate any match-fixing. This operation is in the result of all the work that the police and the financial authorities have invested into that case. The operation was already planned a few days ago and has nothing to do with last night’s game. It’s a coincidence that the events unfolded like that.”
The Bulgaria goalkeeper Plamen Iliev, meanwhile, has said home fans “behaved well” during the game, suggesting that Southgate’s players “overreacted a bit”. The Ludogorets player said he had not heard anything.
Police officers sweep into Bulgarian FA headquarters