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Jordan Henderson: England Wanted to Make Bulgaria 'Suffer' After Racist Chants

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIOctober 15, 2019

England's midfielder Jordan Henderson celebrates the goal of Ross Barkley during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier Group A football match between Bulgaria and England in Sofia, Bulgaria on October 14, 2019. (Photo by NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV / AFP) (Photo by NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP via Getty Images)
NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/Getty Images

England midfielder Jordan Henderson has said that the Three Lions wanted to make Bulgaria "suffer" after his team were subjected to racist chants by home supporters during Monday's UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier.

The visitors cruised to a 6-0 win at the Stadion Vasil Levski, but the contest was marred by racist abuse that saw it temporarily halted twice in the first half.

Henderson said England players discussed whether to continue the game at half-time and made the decision to return to the pitch and hurt the Bulgarian team on the pitch, per Dominic King at the Daily Mail.

"We spoke and the decision was to carry on because if you leave the pitch and stop the game they win, really. That is how we looked at it. That was the message in the dressing room at half-time. We wanted to go out again and make them suffer and make their team suffer on the pitch. We did that.

"To hear the announcement about the racism and then the whole stadium whistling was a bit strange, I'm sure something will be done. It was disgusting, it shouldn't be happening and something needs to be done about it."

England defender Tyrone Mings spoke about hearing the abuse in the warm-up and throughout the match after the game, via BBC Sport:

BBC Sport @BBCSport

"If it happened again, we would have then perhaps moved on to the next step and come off the pitch." Tyrone Mings says he heard racist abuse coming from the crowd during the warm-up ahead of England's game against Bulgaria: https://t.co/140y8iPC7A https://t.co/977ZCblbj6

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Bulgaria captain Ivelin Popov spoke to supporters at half-time and urged them to stop. He said afterward he was "embarrassed" by the behaviour of his team's fans and added that "what happened was terrible," per the Mirror's John Cross.

Bulgaria and England have both been charged by UEFA in the wake of events in Sofia, as shown by Martyn Ziegler at The Times:

Martyn Ziegler @martynziegler

News: UEFA announce charges against Bulgaria for racist chants/Nazi salutes - and also England for disruption of national anthem + not having enough travelling stewards https://t.co/bCGUdlFqvl

Borislav Mihaylov, the president of the Bulgarian FA, has resigned in the wake of Monday night's events after being urged to quit by the country's prime minister Boyko Borissov, per BBC Sport.

There has been widespread condemnation of the racial abuse. UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has issued a statement highlighting how "UEFA is committed to doing everything it can to eliminate this disease from football," as shown by Ziegler:

Martyn Ziegler @martynziegler

Statement on racism from UEFA president Ceferin - says governments need to do more, but defends UEFA's record. https://t.co/tJzOotmy4j

Gianni Infantino has also issued a statement in response to Monday's events. The FIFA president described racism as an "obnoxious disease" and urged football to find "new, stronger and more effective ways to eradicate" the problem, per Richard Parry at the Evening Standard.

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