All eyes on UEFA after football’s night of shame


London (CNN)The ugly sound of monkey chants and the sinister sight of football fans performing Nazi salutes have been beamed around the world. Now all eyes turn to UEFA, European football’s governing body.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the racist abuse England’s black players suffered before and during the Euro 2020 qualifying match against Bulgaria in Sofia on Monday as “vile” and has told UEFA to act swiftly, to “face up to facts.”

After a night English Football Association’s chairman Greg Clarke described as “one of the most appalling I’ve seen in football,” the pressing question now is: What punishment will Bulgaria face for some of its fans’ abhorrent behavior?




The fallout has already begun. Bulgaria’s Prime Minister called for the president of the country’s football association to resign immediately. Borislav Mihaylov has since announced he will step down.

In addition, the country’s interior ministry confirmed four people have been detained in connection with the racist abuse.


“Work is still ongoing to identify other participants in the incident,” read a statement Wednesday.

But if football wants to eradicate the racism which is bringing shame on the sport, what UEFA does next will have the biggest impact on effecting change.

UEFA’s disciplinary proceedings have begun, with the Bulgarian Football union charged with racist behavior, including chants and Nazi salutes, and the disruption of a national anthem and displaying replays on a giant screen. The English FA faces sanctions too, over national anthem disruption and an insufficient number of traveling stewards.

World governing body FIFA has also asked UEFA to notify it of any punishment potentially handed down to the BFU. “This would allow any sanctions imposed to be extended worldwide,” said a FIFA statement.




Bulgaria’s match against England was twice stopped because of the racist abuse coming from the stands.


The statement issued by UEFA’s president on Tuesday said “football family” must “wage war on the racists.”

“Football associations themselves cannot solve this problem. Governments too need to do more in this area. Only by working together in the name of decency and honor will we make progress,” said Ceferin.

UEFA’s task is not an easy one. It cannot tackle racism on its own, but whatever punishment it decides to hand out to Bulgaria will speak louder than its words.

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