October 17 – Bulgarian football legend Hristo Stoichkov was reduced to tears in response to the racist abuse dished out by Bulgaria’s fans towards England’s players during their Euro 2020 qualifier earlier this week.
England won 6-0 in Sofia but the game was halted twice in the first half as part of UEFA’s three-step protocol when Nazi salutes and monkey noises were directed at England’s players from Bulgaria’s fans in the stands, leading to UEFA launching an official investigation.
Stoichkov, who is considered as Bulgaria’s greatest-ever player and managed the national side for nearly three years, was working as a pundit for Mexican television channel TUDN during the match.
When asked to comment on the events in his home nation, he bowed his head and began to cry.
The only Bulgarian to have won the Ballon d’Or, Stoichkov then replied when asked what should happen: “Fans are not allowed in the stadium – or even heavier punishments.”
“Like (what happened) in England for years. Five years without going to stadiums. People don’t deserve to suffer.”
Since Stoichkov’s comments, six Bulgaria fans have been arrested and a statement issued by Bulgaria’s ministry of the interior said: “Work is still ongoing to identify others.”
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