Boris Johnson condemns ‘vile’ racism against England footballers

England won the qualifier 6-0

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Prime Minister has praised the England football team for their "tremendous dignity" in the face of "vile" racist abuse during their Euro 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria.

Boris Johnson called on Uefa to conduct a swift investigation and impose tough penalties, adding that the European football’s governing body must "face up to the facts" to tackle the problem.

The match in the Bulgarian capital Sofia was paused twice as England’s footballers and backroom staff were subjected to abuse including racist chanting and what looked like Nazi salutes.

Gareth Southgate’s team responded with a 6-0 win.

Following the match, Mr Johnson showed his support for the national side, writing: "The vile racism we saw and heard last night has no place in football or anywhere else.

"Fully support Gareth Southgate & the team for rising above it. Need to see strong swift action from UEFA."

Downing Street has also made it clear that Uefa must increase its efforts to rid the sport of racism, which it said is not being "adequately dealt with".

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: "The England players and management showed tremendous dignity and the Prime Minister commends the players who were targeted with this despicable abuse for their response.

"Uefa need to face up to facts. This stain on football is not being adequately dealt with. Racism and discrimination must be driven out of football once and for all.

"We support the FA's calls for an urgent investigation with tough penalties to follow. We are writing to Uefa today to ask for this to be conducted swiftly."

WATCH: Kate Hoey reacts to racism faced by England players

Sanctions from Uefa seem sure to follow, and Bulgarian prime minister Boyko Borissov is now reported to have told the president of the Bulgarian Football Union, Borislav Mihaylov, to stand down.

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