‘Not sure about this one chief’ – Sterling leads reaction to Balakov’s assertion that England has a bigger racism problem than Bulgaria

After England’s 6-0 win over Bulgaria was twice halted by the match referee due to racist abuse, Three Lions stars responded quickly on Twitter

Raheem Sterling scored twice in England’s 6-0 thrashing of Bulgaria on Monday night, and he was in similarly clinical form with his assessment of opposition manager Krasimir Balakov after the game.

The Euro 2020 qualifier was twice halted by the match referee due to racist abuse directed towards players of colour such as Sterling and debutant Tyrone Mings.

Balakov had said before the game that he didn’t think Bulgaria had any more of a problem with racism than England, after England’s fears had been made public before the game.

“What I can say has been that I don’t think we have a problem,” he said. “In the Bulgarian championship, we have a lot of players of different ethnicities and skin colour. I don’t think we have as big a problem like, for example, England do.”

Sterling’s reaction was straight to the point.

Also on the scoresheet on the night was Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, who opened the scoring with a superbly struck effort early on.

He, like Sterling, was replaced late in the second half, and it seems he took the opportunity to collect his thoughts before taking to Twitter.

Sterling, too, followed with a lengthier response soon after.

England manager Gareth Southgate was keen to praise the performance of the match officials in difficult circumstances, telling ITV after the match: “I have to say that the officials were onto everything very quickly.

“We reported everything immediately when we heard things, we had constant communication with the fourth official and the referee. I was in contact with the players all the way through the first half in particular and then again at half-time.

“We know it’s an unacceptable situation. I think we have managed to make two statements, really: by winning the game and also raising the awareness of everybody to the situation. The game was stopped twice, and I know for some people that won’t be enough, but I think we were, as a group, on board with that process.”

Southgate was singled out for praise by former England striker Gary Lineker after the game.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn also gave his support to England’s players and called for UEFA to take a stronger stance on racism.

Players past and present were united in one general theme – that UEFA has to take stronger action to prevent such scenes from taking place again.



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