Gareth Southgate was reportedly told to “f**k off” during his post-match press conference after England’s 6-0 victory over Bulgaria was overshadowed by racist chanting.
There were two breaks in play during the Euro 2020 qualifier with Bulgaria in Sofia after racist chanting was reported to the match officials – with England eventually running out comfortable winners.
Following UEFA’s anti-racism protocols, an announcement was made in the 28th minute warning fans that any further incidents could result in the match being abandoned, while another pause before half-time only added to the nasty spectacle.
England decided at half-time to play the remainder of the game as braces from Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling and goals for Marcus Rashford and Harry Kane ensured a thumping win for the visitors.
And a Sky Sports reporter claims a Bulgarian cameraman told Southgate to “f**k off” after a Bulgarian journalist had already interrupted the press conference.
Kaveh Solhekol wrote on Twitter: “Gareth Southgate post-match press conference briefly interrupted by Bulgarian journalist who’s convinced racism at the game was not as bad as we witnessed. Bulgarian cameraman next to me tells Southgate to f**k off at the end.”
Gareth Southgate post-match press conference briefly interrupted by Bulgarian journalist who’s convinced racism at the game was not as bad as we witnessed. Bulgarian cameraman next to me tells Southgate to fuck off at the end
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) October 14, 2019
Bulgaria boss Krasimir Balakov had already stoked the fire before the match, he said: “I don’t think we have a problem.
“In the Bulgarian championship, we have a lot of players of different ethnicities and skin colour. I don’t think we have this big problem like, for example, England do.”
Southgate praised England’s “major statement” in the face of racial abuse by doing their talking on the pitch.
“We have prepared for the whole week and maintained communication with all of our players and all of our staff throughout,” Southgate said.
“We made the fourth official aware as soon as we heard anything happen – and everybody saw the game stopped and the announcement to the crowd.
“We then weren’t happy that things were continuing and we made a further complaint and then we had a really open discussion with the referee, the fourth official and the players.
“The players were very clear, they wanted to get to half-time.
“We all felt, there were four minutes to be played, to go off for 10 minutes, come back for four, go back off for half-time, wasn’t what my players wanted.
“Throughout this, I know that whatever we do might be perceived as not being enough but I think we’ve made a major statement.
“I think we’ve made a major statement with the way we played, through such difficult circumstances.
“I don’t think a game of this magnitude has ever been stopped twice.
“And, in the second half, although I hear that other things were going on, none of us on the pitch or at the side were aware of anything else going on, so the most important thing for me was that we got in at half-time.
“I discussed with all of the players and the substitutes that everybody was on-board. We knew that if anything happened in the second half, we were off.
“The referee had said the same and we knew that if we came off, we probably wouldn’t be coming back on.
“When I’ve talked to the players at the end, I think they still feel that they’ve been able to make a statement but they also, naturally – because they want to be recognised for their football – they were playing so well that they didn’t want to leave the pitch at that moment. I’m sure that will have been part of their thinking.
“So I’m incredibly proud of all of the players and all of the staff. We could be criticised for not going far enough but I think we’ve made a huge statement and frankly, we were in an impossible situation to get it right to the satisfaction of everybody.”