Days after England’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Bulgaria was stopped twice because of racist chants targeting English players, FIFA President Gianni Infantino reaffirmed his organisation’s commitment to eliminate racism, saying it has no place in society as well as in football.
“There is no place for racism in society and there is no place for racism in soccer,” the 49-year-old Swiss head of the world soccer governing entity said.
Notably, racist chants from supporters forced the match officials to stop the Euro 2020 qualifier tie between England and Bulgaria twice on Tuesday.
The play was stopped for the first time in the 28th minute when the guests were leading 2-0. Once restarted, the match was halted again with just two minutes to go in the first half. However, Croatian referee Ivan Bebek held words with coaching staff and players from both the sides and restarted the game.
“We need to send strong messages, that if there are racists that abuse the soccer players we have to stop the game… We cannot let the racists win,” Efe news quoted Infantino as saying in a press conference held in Dhaka on Thursday.
However, after the incident at the Vasil Levski National Stadium, Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) president Borislav Mihaylov resigned from his post.
“We have to speak about it (racism), we have to educate, we have to educate our youths, our children and those who are a bit older as well,” Infantino said.
Talking about the match, riding on braces from Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling, England thrashed Bulgaria 6-0.