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UEFA says it has opened disciplinary charges after England players were subjected to racist abuse during an away game in Bulgaria.

The European football governing body has charged the Bulgarian Football Union with four offences: racist behaviour including chants and Nazi salutes, the throwing of objects, disruption of the national anthem, and replays on a giant screen.

Two charges have also been brought against the English Football Association: disruption of the national anthem and an insufficient number of travelling stewards.

The case is going to be dealt with by the UEFA control, ethics and disciplinary body, and the date of a meeting about the charges is yet to be confirmed.



Bulgaria head coach Krasimir Balakov says he did not hear any racist chanting during Monday's match against England







Bulgaria’s head coach ‘did not hear’ racist chanting

It came hours after police raided the headquarters of the Bulgarian Football Union – with its president, Borislav Mihaylov, resigning from his post after being ordered to by the prime minister.

Bulgaria has come in for heavy criticism for the conduct of home fans during the Euro 2020 qualifier on Monday night, which was played in a partially closed stadium as punishment for “racist behaviour” by fans during a previous match against Kosovo in June.

Monday’s game was temporarily halted twice after England players were subjected to monkey chants and Nazi salutes by home fans.

Following UEFA’s anti-racism protocols, an announcement was made in the 28th minute warning fans that any further incidents could result in the match being abandoned, while another pause before half-time only added to the nasty spectacle.

Under the rules, a third incident could have seen officials abandon the game, but England decided at half-time to play on.

Bulgarian fans show their disdain towards UEFA's anti-racism campaign
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Bulgarian fans show their disdain towards UEFA’s anti-racism campaign

England went on to win the match 6-0 – but some, including team captain Harry Kane, have questioned whether UEFA’s protocols are strong enough.

FA chairman Greg Clarke called it “one of the most appalling nights” he has ever seen in football, and called on UEFA to investigate the “abhorrent racist chanting” as a matter of urgency.

England manager Gareth Southgate called the situation “unacceptable” but said his players made a “major statement” on and off the pitch by refusing to let the racists win.

SOFIA, BULGARIA - OCTOBER 14: Raheem Sterling of England leaves the pitch after being substituted during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier between Bulgaria and England on October 14, 2019 in Sofia, Bulgaria. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
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Raheem Sterling said he felt sorry for the Bulgarian players ‘to be represented by such idiots’

He said: “Sadly, my players, because of their experiences in our own country, are hardened to racism. They also know they’ve made a statement and they want the focus to be on the football.”

England star Raheem Sterling said he felt sorry for the Bulgarian players “to be represented by such idiots in their stadium”.

Bulgaria captain Ivelin Popov pleading with the home fans to stop the racist chanting
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Bulgaria captain Ivelin Popov pleading with the home fans to stop the racist chanting

Meanwhile, debutant Tyrone Mings revealed he heard racist abuse in the warm-up ahead of the game.

“I think everybody heard the chants, but we stood together and we made certain decisions,” he said.

Bulgaria’s captain Ivelin Popov was seen remonstrating with home supporters at half-time, prompting England’s Marcus Rashford to praise him on Twitter.

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Hundreds of elephants die in Zimbabwe during severe drought | World News

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Hundreds of elephants have died during a severe drought in Zimbabwe – with a mass relocation planned to help the animals.

At least 200 elephants have died in Hwange National Park alone since October, Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesman Tinashe Farawo said.

Other parks are also affected, as are other animals including giraffes, buffalos and impalas, but the situation can only improve once the rains return, he said.

Vultures circle an elephant carcass at a watering hole in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park
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Vultures circle an elephant carcass at a watering hole in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park

“Almost every animal is being affected,” he said.

“Of course, elephants are easily noticed during patrols or game drives, but some bird species are seriously affected because they can only breed in certain tree heights and those trees are being knocked down by elephants.”

The country’s government called a national emergency after the October rains it was counting on never emerged, leaving land parched and farmers unable to harvest crops.

Watering holes previously full of water remain nearly empty, with elephant and buffalo carcasses becoming commonplace as they get stuck in clay trying to reach the small pools of water left.

Rangers are resorting to putting out drinking water for animals, something that is usually unheard of.

Humans are also suffering as a third of rural households – about 3.5 million people – have dangerously insecure food sources, according to the World Food Programme.

A lion takes advantage of a dead elephant at a watering hole
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A lion takes advantage of a dead elephant at a watering hole

But it is not just the lack of water that is affecting numbers, as Zimbabwe says it is struggling to cope with booming numbers of wild elephants, with an estimated 85,000 in the country – second only to neighbouring Botswana which has more than 130,000.

Many animals, of all species, are straying from Zimbabwe’s parks into nearby communities in search of food and water.

This year alone has seen 33 people die from conflicts with animals, the parks agency said.

It said it plans to move 600 elephants, two prides of lions and other animals from the Save Valley Conservancy in the southeast to less populated parks.

A pack of wild dogs, 50 buffalo, 40 giraffe and 2,000 impala will also be relocated, Mr Farawo said.

He said the animals “have exceeded their ecological carrying capacity”.

“If the populations go unchecked, the animals will threaten the very ecosystem they depend on for survival,” he said.

All animals in Zimbabwe's parks have been affected by the drought
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All animals in Zimbabwe’s parks have been affected by the drought

The country wants to deal with its massive elephant population by being allowed to sell its ivory stockpile and export live elephants to raise money for conservation and ease numbers in the drought-affected parks.

Zimbabwe has raised more than £2.3 million for conservation efforts by exporting 101 elephants between 2016 and this year.

However, the move is controversial as they have been sold mainly to China and the United Arab Emirates where animal rights are regularly brought into question.

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Further Hong Kong clashes after man shot and leader calls protesters ‘enemy of the people’ | World News

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Further clashes have erupted across Hong Kong a day after leader Carrie Lam called pro-democracy protesters the “enemy of the people”.

The city-wide protests kicked off early as morning rush-hour trains and major roads were disrupted for the second day in a row during unusual weekday clashes in the five months of anti-government demonstrations.

Chief Executive Ms Lam called the morning commute blockage “a very selfish act” as she expressed her “gratitude to those who are still going to work and school today”.

Tear gas was fired by police during an ongoing day-long battle at the Chinese University of Hong Kong
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Tear gas was fired by police during an ongoing day-long battle at the Chinese University of Hong Kong
After five months of protests, people come equipped with water, gas masks and snacks
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After five months of protests, people come equipped with water, gas masks and snacks

Many of the protests were in reaction to a 21-year-old student being shot and critically wounded by a police officer on Monday morning, while a man was set on fire in one of the most violent days of the protests.

The Chinese government, which has said relatively little about the protests, accused the US and the UK of hypocrisy after both expressed concern over Monday’s shooting, but China said they did not condemn a man being set on fire.

In a rare disagreement between China’s and Hong Kong’s leaders, Beijing said district council elections in the former British colony on 24 November would only go ahead if there was peace, while Ms Lam insisted they must go ahead whatever the situation.

The day before, she said the violence has far exceeded the call for democracy and said “rioters” would not succeed in securing their demands – as she called them the “enemy of the people”.

At several university campuses on Tuesday classes were cancelled as riot police and protesters faced off, with water cannon used for the first time at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) in Sha Tin on Tuesday night.

Earlier in the day student protesters erected barricades, threw objects and petrol bombs, causing a large fire to break out in the middle of the campus.



Protesters have been left in critical conditions after another day of violent demonstrations in Hong Kong.







Protesters have been left in a critical condition after another day of violent demonstrations in Hong Kong.

The university’s vice-chancellor, Rocky Tuan, was hit with tear gas as he and other senior executives tried to negotiate with police, eventually saying officers were willing to retreat if security guards prevented any more objects being thrown from a height.

As he tried to ask police to stop advancing towards the students, he was told via megaphone: “Don’t provoke the police. don’t come over, because there are people following you and you can’t control them.”

They then fired tear gas at him.

Protesters have been left in critical conditions after another day of violent demonstrations in Hong Kong.
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A protester, 21, was shot by police on Monday
Thousands of office workers joined protesters on Hong Kong's famous Peddar Street during lunchtime on Tuesday
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Thousands of office workers joined protesters on Hong Kong’s famous Peddar Street during lunchtime on Tuesday

In central Hong Kong, protesters occupied the streets, with thousands of office workers joining them on upmarket Pedder Street during their lunchtime break, before more violent clashes broke out in the evening.

The lunchtime protest included a few thousand people who chanted “five demands, not one less” in reference to the changes they are calling for, including democratic changes and an independent investigation of police treatment of protesters.

A shop in the popular retail district of Causeway Bay was set on fire, with flames reaching residential flats above.

Riot police were in a standoff with students at the CUHK for most of Tuesday
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Riot police were in a standoff with students at the CUHK for most of Tuesday
Medics treat a protester during clashes with police at CUHK
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Medics treat a protester during clashes with police at CUHK

Over the harbour in Kowloon Tong, protesters smashed through glass railings and windows in luxury shopping centre Festival Walk, then set fire to its three-storey Christmas tree.

The violence is the latest in protests which started in June over a recently-abandoned bill that would have seen those suspected of crimes in Hong Kong facing extradition to China.

A man tries to extinguish a burning Christmas tree at Festival Walk mall in Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong
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A man tries to extinguish a burning Christmas tree at Festival Walk mall in Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong

But over the past few months, the campaign has widened to encompass general anti-China feeling in the city, as residents fear their freedoms are being eroded.

Hong Kong retained those freedoms, which are not enjoyed by those on the Chinese mainland, after the former British colony was returned to China in 1997.

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Major terror attack in West ‘expected’ over Syria inaction, Kurdish general warns | World News

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Another Islamic State (IS) terrorist attack in a Western city is “expected” because of the West’s inaction and indifference in the region, the top Kurdish commander in Syria has warned.

General Mazloum Kobani, commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), told Sky News the combination of the Turkish incursion into northern Syria, Western indifference to that and the West’s unwillingness to take back its IS fighters is creating the perfect environment for an IS resurgence.

“The danger of the resurgence of ISIS is very big. And it’s a serious danger.

“I think there are many people who don’t know this but it’s true. The Turkish aggression opened the space and provided hope for ISIS members,” the general said.

On the prospect of another “spectacular” terror attack like the Manchester Arena bombing or the Paris Bataclan attack, the general was blunt.

“This is possible. It’s one of the expected things that may happen in the future,” he said.

Referencing the 5,000 IS fighters who are being held in Kurdish-run prisons, he said his forces do not have the capacity to guard them.

“We don’t know the fate of these prisoners in Syria and the balance here changes, so we don’t know what the future is for these prisoners,” he said.

“Yes, they pose a threat on other countries and they are extremely dangerous.”

About 5,000 Islamic State fighters are being kept in Syrian prisons but guards cannot cope
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About 5,000 Islamic State fighters are being kept in Syrian prisons but guards cannot cope

We spoke at a secret location in northern Syria. Despite being the key ally of the West in its fight against IS over the past five years, the general is also wanted by Turkey.

As a Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) commander, he is considered to be a terrorist because of his links to the Kurdish separatist group inside Turkey – the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party).

General Mazloum Kobani spoke to Sky News' Mark Stone at a secret location in Syria
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General Mazloum Kobani spoke to Sky News’ Mark Stone at a secret location in Syria

Speaking remarkably frankly, General Kobani claimed:

:: Turkey is actively aiding the resurgence of IS

:: Turkey will use captured IS fighters as bargaining chips against Europe just as it did with migrants inside Turkey

:: Intelligence from his men was the critical component in the successful US-led mission to kill IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last month

:: The British government had “reacted positively” to his request for more military support – boots on the ground – in the urgent fight against IS

:: US President Donald Trump reversed a decision to pull out American troops from the region after a phone conversation with him.

General Kobani said Turkey is aiding an IS resurgence
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General Kobani said Turkey will use IS prisoners as bargaining chips, as it did with migrants

Turkey has said any suggestion it is aiding the return of IS is preposterous. Yet the general was insistent.

“Yes. It’s a big allegation and there’s evidence of it. Many people know it.

“Not just ISIS members but also former members of Al Nusra front and al Qaeda fighters and fought against our forces in 2013 and 2014.”

Several Islamist jihadist groups, with extremist agendas, have been active across Syria throughout the conflict.

There is video evidence showing some of these groups are working with Turkey to attack Kurdish fighters in the region.

But there is no hard proof to suggest IS members are among them.



IS prisoner







A British prisoner says he ‘condemns’ the killings and beheadings of Islamic State, and wants to come back to the UK.

He confirmed he had discussed his concerns with Western leaders, including President Trump and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

“Yes – we informed many of them,” he added.

“We told President Macron of France, Senator Graham in America and we told the American president. All of them know. They promised they will address this issue. We don’t know how… but they promised.”

As we spoke two Apache attack helicopters were landing nearby.

“Are these American helicopters?” I asked.

“Yes, they are Americans and American support is continuing,” he said.

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Despite all the talk by Mr Trump of pulling US forces out of northern Syria, it was clear that not only are they still here, but they are providing protection for the man Turkey wants dead. A sign of the convoluted nature of the Syrian conflict.

General Kobani said: “Some of them withdrew and a part of them stayed. But then after, the withdrawal has stopped and some returned.”

But he said the US objectives are now dangerously confused.

A key Western ally, Mazloum Kobani is wanted by Turkey as the YPG is considered a terror organisation by Ankara
Image:
A key Western ally, Mazloum Kobani is wanted by Turkey as the YPG is considered a terror organisation by Ankara

“America does not have a clear aim. We want something clear for us – what we want is for America to say we will remain here until we reach a solution in Syria.

“Otherwise, we have fear about the battle against ISIS and the safety of our population.”

Before the Turkish incursion began, a small contingent of British special forces was on the ground inside northern Syria.

The general confirmed he has discussed with UK officials the deployment of more British soldiers.

Kurds believe IS was behind three car bombs in one day in Qamishli, northern Syria, which killed five people this week
Image:
Kurds believe IS was behind three car bombs in one day in Qamishli, northern Syria, which killed five people this week

He added: “Yes, their reply was positive. And they said – announced – they will continue [as part of the coaltion].”

On the issue of the IS prisoners in Syria, the general said he is constantly pressing Western governments to come up with a sustainable solution.

“We repeatedly told them we have two choices for them: to take back their prisoners and put them on trial if they can do so. They have to honour their commitments.

“Or, they set up an international court here [in Syria] because we cannot hold them forever here.”

Had either idea got traction within Western governments, I asked.

He smiled: “No, for either option.”

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