"Probably one of the most appalling nights I have seen in football" - English FA chairman Clarke

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Published on October 15, 2019 - Duration: 02:23s

"Probably one of the most appalling nights I have seen in football" - English FA chairman Clarke

English FA chairman Greg Clarke says UEFA will be carrying out a full investigation into racist abuse directed at England players during their Euro 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria.


"Probably one of the most appalling nights I have seen in football" - English FA chairman Clarke

SHOWS: SOFIA, BULGARIA (OCTOBER 14, 2019) (PATV - ACCESS ALL) 1.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ENGLISH FA CHAIRMAN GREG CLARKE SAYING: "What a disappointing night.

I mean, it's probably one of the most appalling nights I've seen in football.

"I spoke with Gareth (Southgate) and Harry (Kane) before the game when we were still in the Czech Republic, and we discussed how we'd handle it.

I sat up in the stands, soon as the interval was called by the referee, I went down and I talked to Gareth at half-time to establish the facts, he said the players heard monkey chanting, reported it to the ref, the ref came over, stopped the game, announcement.

Then it happened again, the ref said to Gareth 'Do you want to go off?', and Gareth said 'No.

We're four minutes out, let's get to half-time, let me talk to the players'.

He talked to the players at half-time, and they got together and said 'No, we want to play, we want to finish, we want to win the game, we don't want the racists to win'.

"I heard examples of appalling racist chanting.

I was looking at a group of people clad in all-black, about 50 of them, were making what looked like political, fascist gestures - I couldn't be sure, it was 100 metres away and it looked appalling.

I was told by the officials at half-time that they'd all been thrown out, because they were one of the main groups causing all the problems. And when you are down on the halfway line, staying in touch, trying to make sure the players are ok, it was difficult to pick out individual examples and UEFA, who I've spoken to throughout the game, at half-time and at the end of the game, will be carrying out a thorough investigation, not just what the ref saw, and what the officials around him saw, but also live footage, witness statements to make sure that this appalling scene of terrible racism is treated appropriately, but they need to establish the facts and then they need to deal with it." 2.

WHITE FLASH 3.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ENGLISH FA CHAIRMAN GREG CLARKE SAYING: "Bulgaria's full of decent people, and decent football fans, and a few people have embarrassed their country, and I would not try to take the moral high ground, because we are still fighting racism in our country, but I do think UEFA have to take time to collect all the facts and then decide how to act appropriately." STORY: English FA chairman Greg Clarke said the racist abuse aimed at England players in a Euro 2020 qualifier between Bulgaria and England in Sofia on Monday (October 14) was "probably one of the most appalling nights I have seen in football." The match, won 6-0 by England, was twice halted by the referee after monkey noises and chants from the crowd were aimed at black players from the visiting team.

The protocol involves the referee first halting play and making an announcement to the supporters to immediately stop racist behaviour.

The second step sees the match suspended for some time and both teams sent to the dressing room if the abuse continues, with another warning given to the fans.

The final step is the match being abandoned.

Clarke said he was told about 50 people had been thrown out at half-time.

He said the referee asked Southgate at the second stoppage, four minutes from the break, whether England wanted to leave the field and the manager had replied the team wanted to finish the half and see where things stood.

"UEFA will be carrying out a thorough investigation," added Clarke.

Not just what the ref saw and the officials around him saw, but also live footage and witness statements to make sure this appalling scene of terrible racism is treated appropriately." (Production: Mike Brock)

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