UEFA has announced that Bulgaria will be ordered play two games behind closed doors – one suspended for two years - in response to their fans’ racist abuse of England players, which marred the Euro 2020 qualifier earlier this month.
They have also been fined 75,000 Euros (£65,000).
The game, played on 14th October, was stopped twice due to racist chanting by sections of Bulgarian fans toward the England squad. The game could have been abandoned, but the England team opted to continue with play, ultimately winning 0–6.
By halting the game twice, a spotlight was placed on UEFA to address racism at an international level, and to protect players playing for their country.
The PFA is disappointed at the sanctions announced today, levied by UEFA towards Bulgaria in the wake of the disgraceful racist incidents witnessed two weeks ago. While the sanctions are in line with current UEFA disciplinary guidelines, this only serves to highlight that these guidelines need to be overhauled and far stronger deterrents imposed - not ruling out expulsions from competitions. Only then can the issue of racism be seriously confronted.
In addition, there is currently no BAME representation on UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Committee. This lack of diversity, we believe, will influence the way in which racist incidents are dealt with by the panel. Diversity on the pitch must be reflected at every level of the game, not just on the field of play.