England experiences "miserable night" in Sofia

Hitler greetings in Sofia, military salute in Paris: Racist scandals by Bulgarian fans and the renewed political provocation of Turkish internationals have made the matchday The European Championship qualifiers overshadowed and caused consternation and anxiety in football Europe.

After the Bulgarians' game against England (0: 6) was interrupted by racist fan attacks and only ended with the British protesting was the Turkish players in the 1-1 draw in France to the corner flag and saluted with his hand on the forehead.


The football showed an ugly side on Monday evening, the sport and the results in the fight for the European Championship took place in the background. The repeatedly conspicuous Bulgarians threatened with a heavy penalty. "UEFA is committed to doing everything in its power to fight this disease in football," said UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin on Tuesday and also asked politicians for help "to wage war on racists"

And even the Turks, whose provocative gestures are associated with the controversial military offensive against the Kurds, see a procedure of the continental union against. The evening, which was "a shame on football" ("Daily Mirror"), could linger even longer with the two focal points in Paris and Sofia.


At the Stade de France, a Bundesliga player took center stage. Because Kaan Ayhan of Fortuna Dusseldorf scored the equalizer in the 81st minute, the Turks have a good chance of winning the European Championship. After his goal many national players lined up as before in the 1-0 against Albania and saluted. Ayhan himself did not repeat the gesture – and therefore got into a dispute on the pitch with Merih Demiral of Juventus, who also showed a salute during the game, as seen on TV pictures.

The Dusseldorf want to work up the incidents with their players Ayhan and Kenan Karaman after their return. After the two professionals in the first qualifying match had ranked on Friday saluting, they renounced a repetition – unlike, for example, the former Hamburger and Leverkusen and current Milan professional Hakan Calhanoglu. "They did it again, but in Paris and in the face of Europe, after what has happened, that is worse than a declaration of war," wrote the Italian daily La Stampa.

The German national team players Ilkay Gündogan and Emre Can also came into focus at the weekend because they reacted positively to Instagram entries in which Turkish players showed the military salute. Both withdrew their "likes". The Bavarian Football Association (BFV) announced, however, amateur footballers who are imitating the military greeting to cite before the sports court.

UEFA had hinted before the game in France, a case against the Turkish Federation initiate. The rules of the European federation forbid political statements in stadiums. The responsible Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body will meet on Thursday. Whether sanctions are imposed then is questionable. Possible penalties, place blocks or even point deductions.

Critics do not go far enough. The Italian Minister of Sport Vincenzo Spadafora wants to punish Turkey and its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the internationally heavily criticized military offensive in northern Syria and sports policy and Istanbul withdraw the next Champions League final in May 2020. He wrote in a letter to UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin, saying that it could show that sport is an instrument of peace.


A peaceful game did not experience the English in Sofia. Already in the first half Bulgarian spectators showed the Hitler salute in the stands and roared monkey sounds in the direction of the players, so that the referee interrupted the meeting twice. Greg Clarke, chairman of the FA, called it "one of the most terrifying nights I've ever seen in football." The FA called on UEFA to file a lawsuit

Their boss, Ceferin, said, "There were times, not long ago, when the football family thought that the plague of racism was a distant memory The last few years have taught us that such thinking was at best complacent. " He added: "Football associations alone can not solve this problem, and governments also need to do more in this area."

The insults were "pretty clear on the field, but we had a great reaction and a great deal together and in the end we let the football speak, "said Tyrone Mings. The target of the attacks was above all teammate Raheem Sterling.

The English had announced before the game that they would leave the field in racial insults. They did not do that and were defended by coach Gareth Southgate. "It was impossible for us to satisfy everyone," he said. "Unfortunately we are hardened by experiences in our country against racism."

Repeat offenders Bulgaria threaten draconian punishments. "In the end, that did not feel like a sporting event, it felt like an open wound, an attack on the basic idea of ​​nations coming together," wrote the Guardian.

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Bulgaria's Union leader Borisslav Michailov resigned on Tuesday from outside pressure. "It is inadmissible that Bulgaria, which is one of the most tolerant states in the world, where people of different ethnicities and religions live in peace, is linked to racism and xenophobia," wrote Prime Minister Boiko Borissov on Facebook. He demanded Mikhailov's resignation.

Meanwhile, Bulgaria coach Krassimir Balakov hinted that the English had overreacted. The ex-professional of VfB Stuttgart had already meant before kick-off that the English had a greater problem of racism than the Bulgarian. "Mmmmh … I'm not so sure about that, boss," Sterling wrote on Twitter that night.

Football was played on Monday, by the way: Ukraine made it through the European Championship 2: 1 against Portugal perfect. The 2016 champion did not reach the 700th career goal of Cristiano Ronaldo.

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