England forward Marcus Rashford has praised Bulgaria captain Ivelin Popov after his attempts at half-time to stop the racist abuse coming from the stands.
Gareth Southgate’s men secured a 6-0 win in Sofia on Monday night, but the game was overshadowed by the disgusting racist chants and facist salutes coming from a small section of home ‘supporters’.
The game was stopped twice in the first half as UEFA protocol was followed, with the encounter at risk of being abandoned if the abuse continued.
It appeared as though it lessened after the interval and so the game was completed after the England camp decided to continue, but ultimately with plenty of video evidence available, UEFA must take action to avoid these disgraceful scenes being repeated.
As noted by BBC Sport though, Popov was seen at half-time in a ‘heated debate’ with some supporters as the consensus was that he was trying to persuade them to stop, while a significant number of ‘fans’ who were believed to be guilty of the racist abuse were seen leaving their seats and heading for the exits before the second half got underway.
Rashford evidently appreciated Popov’s efforts and tweeted his praise as seen below, as he commended the Bulgaria captain for trying to do something about it and doing the right thing.
While that’s a classy way to address the situation as Rashford also expressed his disappointment with what happened while also praising the England fans, further action is certainly needed beyond the Bulgaria captain doing what he can to stop the disgraceful scenes from continuing.
Also been told what the Bulgaria captain did at half-time. To stand alone and do the right thing takes courage and acts like that shouldn’t go unnoticed. #NoToRacism
— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) October 14, 2019