The levels of racism on show on Tuesday night were as predictable as they were pathetic.
England winning the match 6-0 but Bulgaria hopefully standing to lose much more than the three points.
England had repeatedly flagged up what was going to happen ahead of last night’s match, putting UEFA on warning.
So now we have seen the racism that was blatantly on show in Bulgaria, what are UEFA going to do?
The UEFA President has now released an official statement (see below) and says that they are doing everything they can to tackle the issue.
Could they do more? Yes.
However, I do agree with Aleksander Ceferin when he says that this is a society problem and goes way beyond football.
Statement on racism by UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin:
‘There were times, not long ago, when the football family thought that the scourge of racism was a distant memory.
The last couple of years have taught us that such thinking was, at best, complacent.
The rise of nationalism across the continent has fuelled some unacceptable behaviour and some have taken it upon themselves to think that a football crowd is the right place to give voice to their appalling views.
As a governing body, I know we are not going to win any popularity contests. But some of the views expressed about UEFA’s approach to fighting racism have been a long way off the mark. UEFA, in close cooperation with the FARE network (Football Against Racism Europe), instituted the three-stage protocol for identifying and tackling racist behaviour during games.
UEFA’s sanctions are among the toughest in sport for clubs and associations whose supporters are racist at our matches. The minimum sanction is a partial closure of the stadium – a move which costs the hosts at least hundreds of thousands in lost revenue and attaches a stigma to their supporters.
UEFA is the only football body to ban a player for ten matches for racist behaviour – the most severe punishment level in the game. Believe me, UEFA is committed to doing everything it can to eliminate this disease from football. We cannot afford to be content with this; we must always strive to strengthen our resolve.
More broadly, the football family – everyone from administrators to players, coaches and fans – needs to work with governments and NGOs to wage war on the racists and to marginalise their abhorrent views to the fringes of society.
Football associations themselves cannot solve this problem.
Governments too need to do more in this area. Only by working together in the name of decency and honour will we make progress.’