Monday night’s European Qualifier match between Bulgaria and England was halted twice after the Bulgarian fans were heard making racist abuse towards the Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings, who was making his debut.
Gareth Southgate however decided to field the side and made a statement by thrashing their opponents 6-0 on the night. The Three Lions opened up an early two goal lead following strikes from Marcus Rashford and Ross Barkley.
Following the second goal, the play was halted for the first time on the night. An announcement was then made to supporters telling that game could be suspended if offensive chanting continued any further.
Once Barkley made it three just minutes before half time, the game was brought to a halt once again and the referee Ivan Bebek held discussions with players and coaching staff from both sides.
However, the England team decided to continue and made a statement, thrashing the Bulgarian side 6-0 with second half goals from Raheem Sterling and captain Harry Kane.
“We know it is an unacceptable situation. I think we’ve managed to make two statements really by winning the game, but also we have raised 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,” said Southgate while speaking to ITV.
Tyrone Mings, who was subjected to repeated racist chants, praised the officials for making the right call and diffusing the situation.
“The correct steps that were taken definitely helped. We made the decision at half-time to come out and play the game which we thought was the right decision. If anything else happened, we would have taken appropriate action,” said Mings.