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Live Reporting

By Shamoon Hafez

All times stated are UK

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  1. Post update

    England's Euro 2020 qualifying win over Bulgaria in Sofia was halted twice in the first half with fans warned about racist behaviour.

    A stadium announcement condemned the abuse before stating the match would be abandoned if it continued.

    The game was stopped again in the 43rd minute before restarting after discussions between the referee and England manager Gareth Southgate.

    England went on to win 6-0 to strengthen their place at the top of Group A.

    Here's the full story and reaction below.

  2. 'I feel sorry for people with those opinions'

    Bulgaria 0-6 England

    BBC Radio 5 Live

    England defender Tyrone Mings speaking to Radio 5 Live: "It was a great night for me personally. It was a really proud moment in my career. I hope everyone enjoys this moment and it isn't overshadowed

    "I am proud of how we dealt with it and took the appropriate steps. I could hear it as clear as day. It doesn't affect me too much. I feel more sorry for those people who feel they have to have those opinions.

    "I am very proud of everyone for the decisions we made. I went to Harry Kane first. He spoke to the manager, who then spoke to the fourth officials. Everyone was aware of it but we ultimately let our football do the talking and didn't get distracted by anything.

    "Just before the first half the appropriate next step was to return to the changing room. We made a common sense decision to play the remaining few minutes and decided at half-time. Everybody made the decision. The manager, the team, the supporting staff. We spoke about it at half-time and we dealt with it and escalated it in the right way."

    Have you dealt with something like that before? "I haven't, no. There were fans that were removed at half-time I think. It was definitely better in the second half. It's important not to generalise the whole country. It was a minority not a representation of the country."

  3. Abuse 'appalling'

    Bulgaria 0-6 England

    ITV

    FA chairman Greg Clarke, speaking to ITV: "I was up in the stands with some of the FA staff and we were watching the game and heard a sound which sounded like monkey chanting, we can't be sure.

    "I came down and heard some more at the side of the pitch and saw some activity by a group of people dressed in black by a corner flag and it was appalling.

    "I checked the team was OK and that Gareth was OK and the second half went ahead on that basis.

    "We were told by officials that 50 people - the people in the corner - were thrown out half time. I asked why the other issues were not dealt with and they said they were isolated incidents not mass incidents and the protocol deals with mass incidents."

  4. 'Kick Bulgaria out of qualifying'

    Bulgaria 0-6 England

    BBC Radio 5 Live

    Troy Townsend, Kick It Out's Head of Development, speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live: "We have all been waiting for a stance to be made. People who have been subject to this abuse and hearing about their [Uefa's] protocol have been waiting for it to be happening.

    "Maybe Tyrone Mings has forced their hand and I'm not so sure if the second step was made. I didn't hear another stadium announcement. From what I understand there was more in the second half.

    "There is a pat on the back that it [the protocol] was initiated but did it get followed up by step two? You could hear the abuse on our TV screens but now it is about what happens to those Bulgaria fans.

    "They [Uefa] have to take the strongest possible action and that for me, is to kick Bulgaria out of the European qualifiers. It's the only way people will take note of what they are doing to our black players.

    "I'm not sure how much that protocol was followed through. How much do you want the England manager to talk? I appreciate the lads were winning comfortably and they probably wanted to stay on and prove they can get on with it. But Uefa have to abandon this game regardless if England like it or Bulgaria like it and for me, that point was reached tonight."

  5. Post update

    Bulgaria 0-6 England

    BBC Radio 5 Live

    Former footballer Marvin Sordell speaking to Radio 5 Live, on England potentially choosing to continue playing: "It's a little bit ridiculous to say because people who are being racially abused should not have to rise above it.

    Would you have walked off? "Yes. Definitely. I would have been able to continue playing but I think this is so much bigger than a game of football. None of that matters in this situation. The fact people have been subjected to racist abuse is so much more important.

    "We have been saying this for how long? We will have this conversation in a couple of months' time."

  6. Post update

    England take a step closer to qualifying for Euro 2020 by thrashing Bulgaria 6-0.

    Have a read of the report.

    But the real story of the game came off the field, with the game having to be halted twice due to racist behaviour from fans.

    Have a read of the full story.

    We are back on Tuesday for more international action.

    But here is a recap of all the reaction, if you're joining us late.

  7. Post update

    Chris Waddle

    Ex-Tottenham and England winger on BBC Radio 5 Live

    You have to make a statement. It's the only way. It's never going to end, this.

  8. 'I am very proud of my players'

    Bulgaria 0-6 England

    BBC Radio 5 Live

    More from Gareth Southgate on BBC Radio 5 Live: "I explained to the players that if anything else did happen in the second half we would be coming off. We all saw the second half was calmer and that allowed our players to do their talking with the football.

    "This job is an incredible one because I have to be an expert in everything and I am not. In the last week, it has been a nutshell of the different challenges I have to face. You are walking a tight rope of political rights really. My entire focus had to be on protecting my players and staff and I think we have done that. They have been an absolute credit. Sadly, we know people won't be talking about that but the performance was terrific from the first minute to the last.

    "I am very proud. The entire group have dealt with a hugely difficult week - from the preparation for the game, to the press conferences, to recovering from a huge set-back and then tonight, a unique experience. But they have stayed focused, together and they have come out with a fantastic performance. They have made a big statement too."

  9. 'Our players walked off smiling'

    Bulgaria 0-6 England

    BBC Radio 5 Live

    England manager Gareth Southgate speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live: "It's been an incredible few days really. We had to prepare for this eventuality. The most important thing was the players and staff knew what we were going to do and were in agreement.

    "Nobody should have to experience what our players did. We followed the protocol. We gave two messages - one that our football did the talking and two, we stopped the game twice. That might not be enough for some people but we are in that impossible situation that we can't give everyone what they want.

    "But we gave the players what they wanted and the staff what that they wanted. Remarkably, after what we have been through, our players walked off smiling and that's the most important thing for me.

    "I have to give credit because the referee communicated with us all the time. You heard the stadium announcement on the first instance. In the second instance, we could have walked off but the players were very keen to finish the first half and talk it through. Not one player wanted to stop, they were absolutely firm on that."

  10. 'This match should have been abandoned'

    Bulgaria 0-6 England

    Kick It Out have released the following statement:

    “We are sickened by the disgusting racist abuse directed at England men’s team tonight by Bulgaria supporters – including TV footage which appeared to show Nazi salutes and monkey noises.

    “We applaud Gareth Southgate, his staff and players for the actions taken in reporting the abhorrent abuse, and offer our full support to the entire squad, their families and anyone affected by those appalling scenes.

    “We are encouraged that the protocol was initially enforced by the match officials, but Uefa must explain why players weren’t sent to the dressing room during Step Two, as is clearly stated in the rules. TV footage also clearly shows that racist abuse continued in the second half, so it is unacceptable that Step Three was not enforced. This match should have been abandoned by the officials.

    “It’s now time for Uefa to step up and show some leadership. For far too long, they have consistently failed to take effective action. The fact Bulgaria are already hosting this game with a partial stadium closure for racist abuse shows that Uefa’s sanctions are not fit for purpose.

    “There can be no more pitiful fines or short stadium bans. If Uefa care at all about tackling discrimination – and if the Equal Game campaign means anything – then points deductions and tournament expulsion must follow.”

  11. Post update

    Bulgaria 0-6 England

    BBC Radio 5 Live

    Former footballer Marvin Sordell speaking to Radio 5 Live, on England potentially choosing to continue playing: "It's a little bit ridiculous to say because people who are being racially abused should not have to rise above it.

    Would you have walked off? "Yes. Definitely. I would have been able to continue playing but I think this is so much bigger than a game of football. None of that matters in this situation. The fact people have been subjected to racist abuse is so much more important.

    "We have been saying this for how long? We will have this conversation in a couple of months' time."

  12. Who are Uefa answering to?

    Bulgaria 0-6 England

    BBC Radio 5 Live

    More from Troy Townsend on BBC Radio 5 Live.

    Do you have faith in Uefa to deal with this? "No. I don't think Uefa want to make the decisions that need to be made in 2019. This is an opportunity now. It should be embarrassing for the decision-makers and for those who want the protocols to follow through. Our players should be protected. They go on a football pitch not to be abused. If the game's governing bodies are not going to administer the rules then who is going to sanction Uefa?

    What do we do? "We haven't got the power. They have got no-one to answer to and no-one to respond to. They can close the stadium and still allow 12,000 fans in there to no remorse. They don't have to worry about it because nobody holds them to account. Even the officials tonight - if Tyrone Mings hadn't said anything - would they have acknowledged it tonight? It is a massive night for change but it still worries me.

    "Uefa can't hide. This is going up around the world. There has to be some serious questions labelled at them. We need some answers. You saw the body language when Gareth Southgate was talking to the fourth official - it was like 'come on, let's get on and play'. It's a disgrace.

    "We still celebrated football tonight because we had six goals but along with those goals, there was still racist abuse that has to be dealt with. Uefa are more willing to investigate pyrotechnics and a dog running across the pitch or whatever than racist abuse."

  13. 'Kick Bulgaria out of qualifying'

    Bulgaria 0-6 England

    BBC Radio 5 Live

    Troy Townsend, Kick It Out's Head of Development, speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live: "We have all been waiting for a stance to be made. People who have been subject to this abuse and hearing about their [Uefa's] protocol have been waiting for it to be happening.

    "Maybe Tyrone Mings has forced their hand and I'm not so sure if the second step was made. I didn't hear another stadium announcement. From what I understand there was more in the second half.

    "There is a pat on the back that it [the protocol] was initiated but did it get followed up by step two? You could hear the abuse on our TV screens but now it is about what happens to those Bulgaria fans.

    "They [Uefa] have to take the strongest possible action and that for me, is to kick Bulgaria out of the European qualifiers. It's the only way people will take note of what they are doing to our black players.

    "I'm not sure how much that protocol was followed through. How much do you want the England manager to talk? I appreciate the lads were winning comfortably and they probably wanted to stay on and prove they can get on with it. But Uefa have to abandon this game regardless if England like it or Bulgaria like it and for me, that point was reached tonight."

  14. 'I feel sorry for people with those opinions'

    Bulgaria 0-6 England

    BBC Radio 5 Live

    England defender Tyrone Mings speaking to Radio 5 Live: "It was a great night for me personally. It was a really proud moment in my career. I hope everyone enjoys this moment and it isn't overshadowed

    "I am proud of how we dealt with it and took the appropriate steps. I could hear it as clear as day. It doesn't affect me too much. I feel more sorry for those people who feel they have to have those opinions.

    "I am very proud of everyone for the decisions we made. I went to Harry Kane first. He spoke to the manager, who then spoke to the fourth officials. Everyone was aware of it but we ultimately let our football do the talking and didn't get distracted by anything.

    "Just before the first half the appropriate next step was to return to the changing room. We made a common sense decision to play the remaining few minutes and decided at half-time. Everybody made the decision. The manager, the team, the supporting staff. We spoke about it at half-time and we dealt with it and escalated it in the right way."

    Have you dealt with something like that before? "I haven't, no. There were fans that were removed at half-time I think. It was definitely better in the second half. It's important not to generalise the whole country. It was a minority not a representation of the country."