I heard it during the warm-up, says England player Tyrone Mings on racist abuse
SHOWS: SOFIA, BULGARIA (OCTOBER 14, 2019) (PATV - ACCESS ALL) 1.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) ENGLAND DEFENDER TYRONE MINGS, TALKING ABOUT RACIST ABUSE DURING THE BULGARIA V ENGLAND MATCH, SAYING: "Obviously, disappointed that it happened, but there are protocols in place to deal with these things, and I certainly think it helped tonight.
The second half was a lot better and we took the appropriate steps and appropriate action, so we did all we could, I think the officials did all they could, and at the moment, with those protocols in place it's all we can do and it's all they can do." REPORTER: "In terms of what you heard and experienced, one England fan who was actually in the home supporters, told us he heard monkey chants from the first minute.
Was it to that extent?" TYRONE MINGS: "I heard it before I even got to the other side of the pitch in the warm-up!
So, we spoke about it coming off the pitch ater the warm-up, and then obviously it was happening in the game, but, like I said, it's difficult to categorise the whole country, I think it's perhaps a minority, and second half it was a lot better, so perhaps a victory all round." REPORTER: "A final point - if the protocols were followed through, and there was a case where play may have been suspended, even the match abandoned, did it cross your mind or the other players' minds that could happen or indeed should happen, Tyrone?" TYRONE MINGS: "Yes, it definitely crossed our minds.
We had a conversation about it at half-time.
Did we want to play on, did we want to stop, but we made a collective decision to continue the game.
We thought it was important that we'd heard it, that the protocols had been followed, and if it happened again, we would've then perhaps moved onto the next step and come off the pitch, but, as I said, the second half was better and we put in an emphatic performance." 2.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) REPORTER ASKING ENGLAND CAPTAIN HARRY KANE: "Do you feel proud of the way the England players behaved in this game, and secondly, do you think that continuing with the match, winning it emphatically as you did, was the best approach and the best way of dealing with it?" HARRY KANE: "I'm definitely proud of my teammates and my friends and everyone involved in our nation tonight.
It wasn't easy for anyone.
We made a decision as a team to carry on playing and you see us coming together before half-time amd we said, we're playing until half-time then get together and decide what we wanted to do.
Yes, everyone wanted to carry on and do their talking on the pitch which I'm extremely proud of.
It's not easy to play in circumstances like that.
A 6-0 victory and the way we played, the manner in which we played, I'm extremely proud of, for sure." REPORTER: "A great result.
When the referee followed the protocol and they put out the announcement, booed from the home fans, hissed and jeered at.
The game carried on, did that send out a strong enough message do you think?" HARRY KANE: "Whether the UEFA protocol is strong enough, I'm not sure.
Whether any racial abuse should be allowed at any time, probably it shouldn't be.
Obviously, the protocol at the moment allows there to be an announcement, there to be two or three steps before the players are taken off the pitch, it's unacceptable to be racist once, so I feel there can be a stronger punishment, stronger protocols, but like I said, from our point of view as a team, we stuck together, we showed unity and we done what we wanted to do and that's the most important thing." REPORTER: "How close did you come before to not coming back after half-time?" KANE: "Well, like I said, there was a discussion in the changing room and everyone wanted to carry on playing, and so, if there was players that didn't, we wouldn't have come back out and played, but that shows the squad and the maturity and the character that everyone wanted to come back out and play." STORY: The Euro 2020 qualifier between Bulgaria and England was twice halted by the match referee in the first half in Sofia on Monday (October 14) under a three-step UEFA protocol to tackle racist abuse from the crowd.
Racist chanting was heard from the stands and reported by England players to manager Gareth Southgate, with the referee informed and a public announcement made while play was stopped.
"I heard it before I even got to the other side of the pitch in the warm-up," said England defender Tyrone Mings, who was making his debut.
The match was again temporarily suspended after a further complaint was made by Southgate.
The UEFA 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.
In the third and final step, the referee decides to abandon the match.
Sky TV quoted UEFA as stating that the referee had not enforced the second step even though play was halted twice.
England won the Group A match 6-0.
Captain Harry Kane said that he was proud of his teammates who agreed to carry on with the match, but felt that stronger protocols could be put in place.
The game at the city's Levski stadium was being played in front of a reduced crowd after UEFA ordered a partial closure due to racist behaviour by their supporters in June's qualifiers against the Czechs and Kosovo.
Racism was a major talking point ahead of the game, with England striker Tammy Abraham indicating last week that the players could act as a group and leave the pitch if subjected to abuse.
Bulgarian supporters made monkey chants at visiting black players when England last travelled to Sofia for a European qualifier in 2011, prompting UEFA to fine the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) 40,000 euros ($44,072.00).
(Production: Mike Brock)