Bulgaria Get Stadium Ban After England Racism

England’s forward Harry Kane (C) speaks with the referees during a temporary interruption of the Euro 2020 Group A football qualification match between Bulgaria and England due to incidents with fans, at the Vasil Levski National Stadium in Sofia on October 14, 2019. AFP

 

Bulgaria must play their next home game behind closed doors and have been handed a fine of 75,000 euros ($83,000) after racist chanting by supporters marred their Euro 2020 qualifier against England earlier this month, UEFA said Tuesday.

The disciplinary arm of European football’s governing body also ordered Bulgaria to play a second match behind closed doors, but that punishment is suspended for a “probationary period” of two years.

The punishment means Bulgaria will play their final Euro 2020 qualifier at home to the Czech Republic, on November 17, in an empty stadium.

UEFA also ordered Bulgaria to display a banner with the wording “No to racism” at their next two home games.

The Bulgarian FA was also fined an additional 10,000 euros for “causing a disturbance during a national anthem” prior to kick-off of the game in Sofia on October 14, which England won 6-0. The English FA was fined 5,000 euros for the same offence.

The match at the Vasil Levski Stadium was halted twice in the first half due to abuse from sections of the home support, including monkey chants and apparent Nazi salutes.

Despite the abuse, the England team opted to complete the match instead of walking off the pitch.

The game was played in a stadium already partially closed after racist incidents during games against Kosovo and the Czech Republic in June.

The incidents caused indignation in the football world and were condemned both by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borisov.

The subsequent fall-out led to Bulgaria coach Krasimir Balakov resigning along with the country’s FA chief, Borislav Mihaylov.

In the wake of the incidents, Bulgarian police said they had identified 16 people suspected of being involved in the “abusive actions”.

Bulgaria are winless in seven Euro 2020 qualifiers — losing four and drawing three — and occupy last place in Group A.

AFP

Two Arrested Over Racism That Forced FA Cup Match Abandonment

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Two men have been arrested over alleged racist abuse that forced Saturday’s FA Cup qualifier between Haringey Borough and Yeovil Town to be abandoned.

Haringey manager Tom Loizou said defender Coby Rowe suffered racial abuse while Cameroonian goalkeeper Douglas Pajetat was also spat at.

Two men, aged 23 and 26, have been detained on suspicion of racially aggravated common assault.

Haringey, who play in the seventh tier Isthmian League Premier Division, and Yeovil, who are in the fifth tier National League are just the latest clubs to be caught up in a racism storm.

The incident occurred just five days after England’s Football Association (FA) condemned the racist abuse suffered by their players during a Euro 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria as “abhorrent.”

That match in Sofia was twice stopped to warn supporters that the game would be abandoned if racist chanting did not stop, but the England players decided to play on and complete the game.

The FA said it is “deeply concerned” about the allegation and has launched an investigation and both Haringey and Yeovil have said they will co-operate with the authorities.

“If the stand we have taken helps other clubs and stops other people from being abused then it’s all been worth it, whatever the personal cost to all of us,” Haringey chairman Aki Achillea told the Guardian on Sunday.

AFP

Racists Must Be ‘Kicked Out’ Of Stadiums – Infantino

(file photo) FIFA president Gianni Infantino has pushed for a worldwide ban on spectators who abuse black footballers. Mohd RASFAN / AFP

 

Racists must be “kicked out” of stadiums, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Thursday, as he pressed for a worldwide ban on spectators who abuse black footballers.

Speaking days after England’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Bulgaria was twice stopped because of chants targeting English players, Infantino insisted the world body would punish racism.

“If there are racists that abuse footballers, we have to stop the game,” he told a press conference on a visit to Dhaka.

“We cannot let the racists win. The football has to continue and we have to punish the people,” Infantino said.

He added it was now easy to identify the culprits in modern stadiums with closed circuit TV and that a “strong message” must be sent.

“They have to be taken, kicked out of the stadium, they must not be allowed to enter into football stadiums any more, and criminal proceedings should be brought against them.

“It’s a crime and it should be a crime in all countries of the world to commit a racist abuse,” he said.

Infantino reaffirmed that if a country bans a spectator because of racism, “FIFA will extend it worldwide because racists have no place in football in any country and no place in any football stadium or arena in any part of the world.”

Six Bulgarians have been indicted for abuse at Monday’s Bulgaria-England game when monkey chants and apparent Nazi salutes overshadowed England’s 6-0 win. Three more are being sought.

One 18-year-old was indicted on Wednesday for using Nazi salutes and four others have been fined and banned from sports events for two years.

Infantino had already condemned the incident in a statement on Tuesday, calling racism an “obnoxious disease that seems to be getting even worse in some parts of the world”.

He said Thursday that on top of stadium action better education was needed.

“We have to educate our youth, our children and those who are a bit older as well,” he said.

Infantino also said that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar “will be the very best World Cup ever” despite new controversy over the heat and empty stadiums after the world athletics championships in September saw some long distance races badly affected.

The FIFA boss insisted that it would be cooler as the football tournament would be in November and December.

“I am sure in Qatar we will witness from a technical point of view, the very best World Cup ever.” He also expressed confidence that the stadiums would be “full”.

“Football is the number one sport in the world. We will fill the stadiums in Qatar and anywhere else in the World easily with the World Cup.”

AFP

Bulgaria Football Chief Resigns After Racist Abuse

England’s forward Harry Kane (C) speaks with the referees during a temporary interruption of the Euro 2020 Group A football qualification match between Bulgaria and England on October 14, 2019. NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV / AFP

 

Bulgaria’s football union chief resigned Tuesday, a day after a match against England was twice halted because of racist abuse.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov had urged Borislav Mihaylov, the president of the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU), to immediately step down following Monday’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia.

The match, which England won 6-0, was halted twice after England players were targeted by racist chanting.

The BFU said in a statement on its website that Mihaylov presented his resignation Tuesday and would hand it to the members of the BFU executive committee during its meeting Friday.

“His decision resulted from the tension created over the past days, which is detrimental to Bulgarian football and the Bulgarian Football Union,” the statement said.

Borisov said on Facebook that it was “inadmissible that Bulgaria… is associated with racism and xenophobia” and he “categorically condemned the behaviour of some of those present at the stadium”.

Earlier Tuesday, BFU media chief Hristo Zapryanov had said his union was not to blame for the trouble, dismissing Monday’s incidents as “inadmissable” but saying the BFU had no power “to investigate and to track hooligans”.

England manager Gareth Southgate said his side had made a statement by deciding to complete the match instead of leaving the pitch in the face of the abuse, calling it “an unacceptable situation”.

Mihaylov has headed the football federation since 2005. During his time in charge Bulgaria have failed to qualify for any major tournament.

Before the game, he had urged UEFA to stop “tensions” after England forward Tammy Abraham said his team was prepared to walk off the pitch if they faced abuse during Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Mihaylov had said the BFU had made “extreme efforts and measures… to ensure a fair and safe environment”.

Southgate And Squad To Prepare For Potential Racist Abuse In Bulgaria

England’s midfielder Jordan Henderson (L) and England manager Gareth Southgate (R) attend a press conference at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on September 9, 2019, ahead of their Euro 2020 football qualification match against Kosovo. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

 

England manager Gareth Southgate is to meet with his squad ahead of their Euro 2020 match in Bulgaria next month and discuss what measures they might take if they are subjected to racist abuse.

One Bulgarian fan was arrested for “discriminatory abuse” directed at Raheem Sterling during the 4-0 win over Bulgaria last Saturday at Wembley, although he was subsequently released without charge.

A previous England team have already experienced racist abuse in Bulgaria in 2011 — Southgate’s team also were showered with abuse in a Euro qualifier in Montenegro last year.

READ ALSO: British Police Arrest Fan For Abusing Sterling

Bulgaria’s Stadion Vasil Levski will be partially closed for the matches with England on October 14 and Czech Republic in November because of the racist behaviour of fans in June.

A total of 5,000 seats of the 46,000 capacity stadium will be closed off for the England visit and 3,000 for the Czech Republic match — and a banner with the wording “#EqualGame”, with the UEFA logo on it will be displayed over the seats.

“It is a concern, we’re not confident that we’ll go there and nothing will happen,” Southgate said, adding that the meeting to address the issue was “already planned.”

“We’ve already planned what our schedule looks like and 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.”

UEFA ordered the partial closure of Bulgaria’s national stadium following racist behaviour by their fans in Euro 2020 qualifying games against Czech Republic and Kosovo in June.

Last month, Bulgarian club sides PFC Levski Sofia and PFC Lokomotiv Plovdiv were punished by UEFA for racism during Europa League games.

Trump Says Minority Congresswomen Should ‘Apologize To America’

 

US President Donald Trump renewed attacks Sunday on four Democratic congresswomen he launched xenophobic tweets against last week, demanding they apologize “for the horrible (hateful) things they have said.”

“I don’t believe the four Congresswomen are capable of loving our Country,” Trump tweeted of ethnic-minority first-term Democrats Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley.

“They should apologize to America (and Israel) for the horrible (hateful) things they have said. They are destroying the Democrat Party, but are weak & insecure people who can never destroy our great Nation!” the president tweeted.

The comments come a week after Trump sparked a firestorm of outrage when he attacked the left-leaning lawmakers with a series of tweets, saying they should “go back” to their countries of origin.

The group — three of whom were born in the United States — are of Hispanic, Arab, Somali and African-American descent.

In a rare move, Trump was rebuked by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives on Tuesday for “racist comments” against the women, who are known as the “Squad.”

READ ALSO: UK Finance Minister Says Will Quit If Johnson Becomes PM

The following day chants of “Send her back!” broke out at the president’s “Make America Great Again” rally in Greenville, North Carolina, when he again attacked the women.

To the delight of his thousands of supporters, Trump described Omar and the other Democrats as “left-wing ideologues (who) see our nation as a force of evil.”

Speech paused for chants

Trump later said there was “great energy” at the rally but claimed he was not pleased by the taunts.

“I was not happy when I heard that chant,” he said. “I didn’t like that they did it, and I started speaking quickly” to move on with his speech.

Television footage showed, however, that Trump let the chant continue for more than 13 seconds, only resuming speaking as they died down.

The president demonstrated in Greenville that without a Democratic presidential candidate to focus on yet, he plans to make inflammatory attacks on the Squad a centerpiece of his 2020 re-election strategy.

Several of the Democratic presidential hopefuls who plan to run against him and a few of the Republicans have urged Trump to tone down the rhetoric.

But the president has made it clear — despite the risk of inflaming racial tensions and widening the partisan divide — that he believes he has latched on to a winning strategy.

Trump tapped into grievances among white blue-collar and rural Americans to eke out a narrow victory in 2016, winning 57 percent of white voters while his rival Hillary Clinton won 37 percent.

AFP

Trump: A History Of Inflammatory And ‘Racist’ Statements

 

US President Donald Trump drew fresh accusations of racism Monday after he attacked four ethnic-minority Democrats in Congress, telling them to “go back” where they came from.

While Trump denies he is racist, he has a long history of political pandering to white suspicions about other ethnic groups, which many believe helped him win electoral victory in 2016 and which could be important in the election next year.

– Campaign against Obama –
Well before opened his bid for the White House in 2016, Trump targeted the African-American background of Barack Obama, suggesting the Hawaii-born president was really born outside the United States.

In 2011 he suggested Obama was secretly a Muslim — another group among his regular targets.

Mexican ‘rapists’

Trump made fighting immigration a key plank of his election platform, and told supporters in speeches that migrants from US neighbor Mexico are “drug smugglers and rapists.”

“They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they are rapists, and some, I assume, are good people,” he said in a campaign speech.

After becoming president, he defended his border policies in similar terms.

“You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are, these aren’t people, these are animals,” he said of the migrants.

Muslims in America

Trump also campaigned on instituting a ban on entries by Muslims, rooted in a long history of attacking Islam.

In 2015 he claimed, falsely, that “thousands and thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey cheered after the 9/11 attacks on New York.

During the 2016 campaign he assailed the parents of Captain Humayun Khan, a Muslim US soldier killed in Iraq, after Khan’s father criticized the billionaire White House candidate.

“If you look at his wife, she was standing there, she had nothing to say, she probably — maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say, you tell me,” he said.

In the 2016 race he promised “a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

After he won election, Trump placed a sweeping ban on arrivals from several Muslim countries and slashed the number of refugees the country would accept, especially from Syria.

‘Shithole countries’

In a private January 2018 White House meeting, Trump made clear he preferred migrants from white Western European countries.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump asked, pointing to African countries, Haiti and El Salvador.

“Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out,” he said.

“We should have more people from places like Norway,” he added.

‘Very fine people’

White supremacist, neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic groups gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017 for a rally, emboldened by what they perceived as Trump’s implicit support.

Counter-protesters flocked to the city and clashes broke out. One neo-Nazi deliberately ploughed his car into a crowd of protesters, killing one and injuring 29.

Addressing the violence, Trump said there were “very fine people on both sides,” and an “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides,” equating the racist groups with those opposing them.

Texans good, Puerto Ricans bad

Trump had different views of supplying emergency funds for Texas and Puerto Rico — a US territory — after both were devastated by hurricanes in 2017.

“TEXAS: We are with you today, we are with you tomorrow, and we will be with you EVERY SINGLE DAY AFTER, to restore, recover, and REBUILD!” he tweeted in September 2017.

As for Puerto Rico, he wrote: “All their local politicians do is complain & ask for more money… The pols are grossly incompetent, spend the money foolishly or corruptly, & only take from USA.”

AFP

Premier League Players To Boycott Social Media In Protest Against Racism

 

Premier League stars will be among the footballers taking part in a 24-hour social media boycott on Friday as part of a protest against racist abuse online.

The campaign, which is being co-ordinated by England’s Professional Footballers’ Association, urges players to stay off all social media from 9:00am local time (0800 GMT) Friday after posting the hashtag #Enough.

There have been growing concerns over how football should tackle racism following a number of incidents of abuse both at grounds and on social media

England’s black players faced repeated racist chants during their Euro 2020 qualifier in Montenegro last month.

Danny Rose said afterward he had “had enough” and “can’t wait” to quit the game, with the Tottenham defender adding attempts by football authorities to punish racist incidents were “a farce”.

Rose, giving his support to the PFA boycott, said: “When I said that I can’t wait to see the back of football, it is because of the racism that I, and many other players, have been subjected to our entire careers.

“Football has a problem with racism. I don’t want any future players to go through what I’ve been through in my career.

“Collectively, we are simply not willing to stand by while too little is done by football authorities and social media companies to protect players from this disgusting abuse.”

The PFA said they wanted to show solidarity with affected players as well as demanding that football chiefs take stronger action to rid the game of racism.

“Over the last few months we have seen a rise in appalling instances of racist abuse at grounds around the world, and on social media,” said Simone Pound, head of equalities at the PFA.

“We cannot stand by while too little is done to address this unacceptable behaviour.”

Pound added: “The PFA has always been at the forefront of tackling racism and we are reaffirming our commitment to all of our members. We will do all we can to put an end to the abuse players face on the pitch and online.”

AFP

Teacher Accused Of Racism Reinstated In South Africa

file photo

 

The Johannesburg Labour Court on Thursday reinstated a South African primary school teacher who was suspended after photographing black children sitting separately from white children in her class. 

Judge Justice Prinsloo ordered Elana Barkhuizen to return to work “with immediate effect”, dismissing her suspension by the North West education department as “unlawful”.

She was suspended on January 10 from her job at Schweizer-Reneke school after a photo she took of ‘segregated’ children went viral.

Prinsloo said the school’s governing body and the provincial education department had to allow her to “return to work and resume her normal duties with effect from January 25”.

The photo she took showed about 17 white children sitting around a large table, with four black children sat at a small corner table in the background.

The Solidarity trade union, which is mainly made up of white Afrikaners, said Barkhuizen was a victim of political opportunism.

READ ALSO: Teacher Suspended In South Africa Over Racist Picture

It said she was only supervising the class while the actual teacher, who was not suspended, was with a parent.

The union had previously argued that the children were seated by language, not race.

“The children were seated like that only for a short period of time, to make them comfortable,” Anton van der Bijl, Solidarity’s head of labour law, told AFP.

After the ruling, Solidarity referred all questions on the children’s seating arrangements to the teacher in charge of the classroom in question.

Race relations remain tense in South Africa 25 years after the end of white-minority apartheid rule, with racist controversies regularly erupting on social media and within politics.

AFP

Teacher Suspended In South Africa Over Racist Picture

White and black schoolchildren were seated apart from each other at Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke. Credit: BBC

 

A South African primary school teacher was suspended on Thursday after a photograph appeared to show black children sitting separately from white children in a classroom, sparking a storm of racism accusations.

The pupils were attending their first day at the Schweizer-Reneke school in North West province when the teacher took a photograph to send to anxious parents.

It rapidly spread on social media as it showed about 17 white children sitting around a large table, with four black children around a small corner table in the background.

“From the information, I got from the meeting, it seems that there are a lot of cases here of racism,” provincial education minister Sello Lehari said after visiting the school.

“I will send a team to do an investigation into all schools… to deal with issues of racism in totality.”

Race relations remain tense in South Africa 25 years after the end of white-minority apartheid rule, with fierce racist controversies erupting regularly on social media and in politics.

“We saw the photo and we were also angered by what we saw,” Jozeph du Plessis, chairman of the school’s governors, told the eNCA television channel.

“The kids were quite unsettled — you must realise they were five years old on their first day at school — and she grouped them in a way she thought would settle them quickly and comfort them.

“There was no intent of racism or segregation from the teacher’s side.

“We are investigating — perhaps it could be a language issue, perhaps those kids are not speaking Afrikaans, but I can’t speculate.”

Some white parents on Thursday took their children away from the school after protesters gathered outside.

AFP

Dolce & Gabbana Cancels China Show After Racism

File Photo of D&G

 

Dolce & Gabbana cancelled a long-planned fashion show in Shanghai on Wednesday after an outcry over racially offensive posts on its social media accounts, a setback for the company in the world’s most important luxury market.

The Italian fashion house quickly issued a statement apologising and saying the accounts as well as that of its namesake designer Stefano Gabbana had been hacked, but it did little to calm a brewing social media uproar in China.

Some of China’s biggest celebrities had been billed to attend the “Great Show” event, but on Wednesday one after another announced their withdrawal.

“Our mother country is more important than anything, we appreciate the vigour and beauty of our cultural heritage,” said the management of Wang Junkai, a hugely popular singer in boyband TFBoys, as they announced his withdrawal.

“I love my mother country,” actress Li Bingbing told her 42 million fans on Weibo.

The controversy arose after Dolce & Gabbana posted short clips on Instagram earlier this week showing a woman eating pizza and spaghetti with chopsticks that some deemed culturally insensitive.

It erupted into a firestorm after screenshots circulated of an Instagram user’s chat with the famously volatile Stefano Gabbana in which he used five smiling poop emojis to talk about China and launched insults at the country and its people.

Even China’s Communist Youth League jumped into the fray.

“Foreign companies operating in China should respect China and respect Chinese people,” the youth league tweeted to Dolce & Gabbana on Weibo.

Actor Talu Wang also tweeted on Weibo: “Respect is more important than anything.”

As the backlash escalated, Dolce & Gabbana took to Instagram and Weibo saying its account and that of designer Stefano Gabbana had been hacked and that its legal office was “urgently investigating” the matter.

“We are very sorry for any distress caused by these unauthorised posts. We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China,” the company said on Instagram.

Dolce & Gabbana said separately on its verified Weibo account that the show “has been rescheduled”, though it did not specify the reason nor did it give a new date for the event.

“We apologise for the inconvenience,” it said.

The controversy marks the latest backpedalling by a foreign company for offending Chinese consumers with advertising or information that insults China or clashes with Beijing’s official position.

Earlier this year, German automaker Mercedes-Benz apologised for “hurting the feelings” of people in China after its Instagram account quoted Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, seen as a separatist by Beijing.

AFP

Ozil’s Claims Of Racism In German Camp ‘Nonsense’ – Kroos

 Germany’s midfielder Mesut Ozil reacts at the end of the Russia 2018 World Cup Group F football match between South Korea and Germany at the Kazan Arena in Kazan. Luis Acosta / AFP

 

Germany midfielder Toni Kroos says Mesut Ozil was “out of order” to make accusations of racism within the German set up as he retired from international football last month.

“Basically, Mesut is a long-serving national team player and deserved a better exit as a footballer,” Kroos, 28, told German daily Bild.

“I have played with Mesut for many years and know that he is a nice guy. But the way he retired was out of order.

“The proportion of his statement which was fair and justified was unfortunately overshadowed by a much higher proportion of nonsense.

“I think he himself knows that racism does not exist within the national team and the DFB.

“On the contrary, we are always committed to diversity and integration. Mesut was a good example of that, like many of our team mates.”

Ozil, 29, created a furore last month when he retired from international football in an explosive three-part statement in which he accused German FA (DFB) president Reinhard Grindel of racism.

Missed opportunity 

“In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose,” wrote Ozil, sparking a storm in Germany and triggering fierce debate about integration.

Ozil fell foul of German fans and was booed during pre-World Cup friendlies after he and fellow midfielder Ilkay Gundogan posed for pictures with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May, raising questions about the pair’s loyalty to Germany.

Only a handful of Germany players have spoken about the saga, which captain Manuel Neuer described as “stressful” while Thomas Mueller said there is “no question of racism within the team”.

Real Madrid star Kroos says Arsenal midfielder Ozil, who like Gundogan has Turkish roots, was wrong to meet with Erdogan and then wait two months before breaking his silence.

“Mesut was criticised for the photo — and rightly so,” said Kroos. “And he missed the chance to explain himself.

“Nevertheless, he was completely supported by the coaching staff and the (national) team.

“Later he was — like the rest of us — criticised for the performance at the WorldCup.

“The type of criticism was certainly not always at a good (justified) level — but then you have to deal with that as a player.”

In the first game since their World Cup debacle, Germany, who have plummeted to 15th in the FIFA rankings, will host world champions France in Munich on September 6 in the newly-launched Nations League tournament.

Khedira, Kroos stay on 

Germany head coach Joachim Loew has promised sweeping changes and Kroos has resisted the urge to retire.

“Yes, I will continue until Euro 2020 and have set the big goal that we will be far more successful than last time,” said Kroos.

Fellow German midfielder Sami Khedira, 31, also ruled out retirement on Thursday and hopes for a call-up against France to make amends for the WorldCup disaster.

“After a good season with Juventus, I played my two worst matches at the WorldCup with full fitness. That was really bad,” Khedira, wrote on Instagram.

However, Kroos says the squad Loew selects on August 29 must find the necessary drive that was so badly missing in Russia.

“We have to be greedy and more forceful again, as far as goal-scoring is concerned,” added Kroos.

“And we have to be more unpleasant to play against in terms of defence – without just defending.”

Loew welcomed Kroos’ decision to stay on.

“With his experience, class and personality, he is of course a key player who plays a very important role in our future plans — on and off the pitch,” reacted Loew on dfb.de.

However, the head coach has yet to comment on the Ozil fiasco.

AFP