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England football players insulted by Bulgarian fans

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Football Association chiefs have made an official complaint after black England footballers were subjected to vile racist abuse from Bulgarian fans.

Manchester United’s Ashley Young and Arsenal’s Theo Walcott were taunted with monkey noises and Nazi salutes during England’s victory in Sofia last night.

The chants could be heard when Young was substituted and Walcott was targeted when he missed a chance late in the Euro qualifier.

FA officials reported the behaviour to the UEFA match delegate after the game which saw home supporters unfurl a banner which said ‘F*** UEFA’.

England’s two-goal match winner Wayne Rooney slammed the Bulgarian fans’ behaviour. He said: ‘We could hear it on the pitch. It has been going on for years.and it’s not right.

‘It needs to stop and hopefully something will be done about it.’

Walcott told Mail Sport: ‘It was very clear. I ignored it. I think the FA will deal with that and I don’t want to comment too much. The result was the important thing.’

England captain John Terry had not heard the abuse during the game, but told Sky TV: ‘You don’t expect that at all. It was a great spectacle for everyone to watch let’s not let that spoil it.’

Bulgaria boss Lothar Matthaus, a former German World Cup winner, apologised for the conduct of the minority of his team’s fans.

Like Terry before him, he admitted to being ‘not very informed’ about what had occurred, having been focused on the match.

But he added: ‘It is very pitiful for such things to happen. Because of that I would like to apologise on behalf of the Bulgarian Football Federation.’

England have encountered racism problems on their travels before. Seven years ago Shaun Wright-Phillips and Ashley Cole were targeted by home spectators during a friendly played in Madrid.

A spokesman for the FA confirmed: ‘We’ve raised it with the Bulgarian FA and the UEFA delegate after the match. That’s all we’re saying about it.’


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