FA hold talks with England stars ahead of Bulgaria clash next month over growing fears that players may face racial abuse in Sofia

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  • The FA will hold talks with England’s players over threat of racism in Sofia
  • Black England stars were racially abused during their win over Montenegro
  • There are fears that members of Southgate’s side will be targeted next month
  • The FA will hold discussions aimed at coping with any incidents of prejudice 

The FA will hold talks with Gareth Southgate's players over threat of racism in Sofia

The FA will hold talks with Gareth Southgate’s players over threat of racism in Sofia

Sterling (right) was reported to have been 'racially abused by a Bulgaria fan at Wembley'

Sterling (right) was reported to have been ‘racially abused by a Bulgaria fan at Wembley’

Sterling was also racially abused by locals during England's win over Montenegro in March

Sterling was also racially abused by locals during England’s win over Montenegro in March

England stars will hold talks with the Football Association regarding the threat of racism ahead of next month’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Bulgaria.

Black England players were racially abused by locals during their victory over Montenegro earlier this year, and there are growing fears that members of Gareth Southgate’s side will be targeted when they travel to Sofia in October.

UEFA fined the Bulgarian FA after alleged racist chanting towards black players during a Euro 2012 qualifier in Sofia in September 2011.

It emerged on Wednesday that a Bulgaria fan was ejected from Wembley and subsequently arrested for allegedly racially abusing Raheem Sterling during England’s 4-0 win on Saturday, though Sportsmail understands the forward didn’t hear the taunts.

But the FA are aware their players of ethnicity could be targeted for racial abused in Sofia next month and will hold discussions aimed at coping with any incidents of prejudice.

It is understood the option of walking off the field should an England player be racially abused will be considered, though the squad is understood to be against such a stance.

The talks will primarily be used to establish a collective stance on what to do beforehand in case there is abuse.

England manager Southgate said: ‘It is a concern. It’s something that we’ve already planned; we’re going to discuss it with the players before we go, because we’re aware that there is history there and we want to make sure that we’re all prepared for what might happen and how we want to respond.

‘So, we are going to address that when we all get back together. We have to hope – but we’re not confident that we’ll go there and nothing will happen.’ 

Southgate has also pleaded with England supporters to behave when they travel to the Prague for the clash against Czech Republic on October 11, three days before the qualifier in Sofia.

Prague is a notorious destination for alcohol-fuelled party-goers, which is likely to elevate the potential for trouble.

England fans were involved in skirmishes during the UEFA Nations League in Portugal in June, while there was trouble in Seville, in March, ahead of the 3-2 win over Spain.

The FA have successfully increased their ticket allocation for the game against the Czechs from 1,100 to 3,800, with the idea being that it should ease security concerns about ticketless fans looking to get into the home supporters area.

Southgate added: ‘It’s sad we have to appeal to people going to follow us to behave. So many thousands of fans went to Portugal in the summer. So many of them represented us so well and yet some of them let themselves down and let their country down.

‘Sadly we are going to a place where people go, travel anyway for nights out from our country.

‘What we don’t need to see is behaviour that I am afraid happens on our own high streets – it is a societal issue of people with alcohol unable to control themselves, but we certainly don’t want to be taking that abroad and that being a representation of our country.’



Source By Breaking News Website | BreakingNews.WS