Soccer match between England and Bulgaria stopped multiple times due to racist chants
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An international soccer match between the national teams of England and Bulgaria was interrupted twice Monday as fans aimed racist chants at the players.

Reuters reported the referee was forced to pause the Euro 2020 qualifying match in Sofia, Bulgaria, twice during the first half as racist chanting came in from the stands.

Britain’s Sky Sports noted that England players heard the chants and alerted manager Gareth Southgate.


An alert reportedly played over the loudspeaker notifying fans about why the match was being stopped temporarily.

"Because of racist behavior which is interfering with the game, the referee has indicated he may have to suspend the match. Please be in no doubt that the game may be suspended and abandoned if racist behavior continues," it said.

Monkey chants could be heard in the stadium on several occasions, specifically when black England players Tyrone Mings and Marcus Rashford had the ball, according to Sky Sports reporter Rob Dorsett.

The referee who halted play was following a new UEFA protocol calling for play to be interrupted so an announcement to fans could be made to immediately stop any racist behavior.

The second step in the protocol is to suspend the match for a period of time, with both teams being sent to the locker rooms if the abuse continues, and to give another warning to fans.

If the racist behavior continues, the referee is supposed to completely end the match.

On Monday, the second step was not followed even though play was paused twice, as players never left the field.

Reuters noted that Bulgarian fans have a history of racist behavior at soccer matches, including monkey chants.

The soccer match Monday was already being played under a cloud of controversy, as a British man died near the stadium before the match started, according to The Guardian.