Rhian Brewster calls Uefa’s punishment on Bulgaria ‘embarrassing’, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Rhian Brewster calls Uefa’s punishment on Bulgaria ‘embarrassing’

Bulgaria must play their next home game behind closed doors and have been handed a fine of 75,000 euros (S$113,000) after racist chanting by supporters marred their Euro 2020 qualifier against England earlier this month, Uefa said yesterday.

The disciplinary arm of European football's governing body also ordered Bulgaria to play a second match behind closed doors, but that punishment is suspended for a "probationary period" of two years.

The punishment means Bulgaria will play their final European Championship qualifier at home to the Czech Republic, on Nov 17, in an empty stadium.

Uefa also ordered Bulgaria to display a banner with the slogan "No To Racism" at their next two home games.

The Bulgarian FA was additionally fined a further 10,000 euros for "causing a disturbance during a national anthem" before kick-off of the game in Sofia on Oct 14, which England won 6-0. The English FA was fined 5,000 euros for the same offence.

The match at the Vasil Levski Stadium was halted twice in the first half due to abuse from sections of the home support, including monkey chants and apparent Nazi salutes, reported AFP.

Anti-racism campaign group Kick It Out called for Uefa regulations on racism to be "overhauled".

"We are disheartened, but not surprised, to learn of Uefa's response to the racist abuse directed at England players," it said in a statement.

"In our view, they have missed an opportunity to send an uncompromising message on racism and discrimination.

"The current sanctions, however 'tough' Uefa think they may be, are clearly not working and leave victims with little faith in their ability to prevent abusive behaviour."

Liverpool striker Rhian Brewster, who has been a victim of racial abuse on the pitch, also hit out at Uefa.

He tweeted: "Another embarrassing verdict today. Two games behind closed doors for Nazi salutes and racism. The world needs to wake up."

England Under-21 coach Michael Johnson, meanwhile, called Uefa's ruling "a joke".

He said: "Again lack of diversity means lack of understanding and empathy. The punishment is a joke."