‘Acts like that shouldn’t go unnoticed’: Marcus Rashford praises ‘courage’ of Bulgaria captain Ivelin Popov for appealing to fans at half-time to stop racist taunting of England players
Marcus Rashford praised the actions of Ivelin Popov following England’s comprehensive 6-0 victory in Sofia on Monday, after the Bulgarian captain had pleaded with home fans to stop their racist chanting.
The Three Lions moved one step closer to qualification for Euro 2020 but the clash was marred by shameful chants from sections of the home crowd at the Stadion Vasil Levski.
Popov was filmed at the half-time break speaking to supporters near the players’ tunnel with the game on the verge of being abandoned.
Marcus Rashford praised Ivelin Popov after the Bulgarian captain’s half-time appeal to fans
Bulgaria captain Ivelin Popov had a heated discussion with some Bulgarian fans during the break of tonight’s #BULENG qualifier after the match had been stopped twice for racist chants in the first half pic.twitter.com/8u0a1CGcoa
— mshumanov (@shumansko) October 14, 2019
And in a tweet posted shortly after full-time, Rashford said: ‘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.’
The first step of UEFA’s protocols from their three-step procedure in the event of racist chanting was implemented, and a PA message was read aloud over the tannoy system at the stadium.
But the game was again temporarily halted when players and boss Gareth Southgate reported hearing further racist abuse, including monkey noises, from the crowd.
In the aftermath of the unsavoury scenes, England captain Harry Kane stated on social media that racism ‘needs stamping out for good’.
He said: ‘Great performance and I’m proud of the togetherness we showed in some disgraceful circumstances. Racism has no place in society or football. It needs stamping out for good.’
Ben Chilwell believes that the Three Lions defied the chanting with their superb showing on the field. He added on Twitter: ‘The football did the talking tonight. Proud of everyone.’
Rashford had fired England into the lead on seven minutes before the Three Lions ran riot
The best way to bounce back. Proud of the team. There’s no place in football for that – disgraceful behaviour. Something must be done.