Matthaus apologises over chants
Published : 03 Sep 2011 10:30:25
Bulgaria manager Lothar Matthaus has apologised for the racist abuse that was directed at England's players in Sofia on Friday night.
Ashley Young was targeted amid a raucous atmosphere, which left a sour taste after a 3-0 win that takes England to the brink of qualification for Euro 2012. And Matthaus admitted the chanting was unacceptable.
"I can't say anything about this as I am not really aware of it," said the former Germany World Cup-winning captain. "In my capacity as the manager, I cannot comment on such things, but it's pitiful for things like that to happen. And, as a result of that, I'd like to apologise on behalf of the Bulgarian Football Federation."
The Football Association have already complained to their Bulgarian counterparts and notified the UEFA delegate present at the game.
Winger Theo Walcott confirmed he had heard what went on but did his best to block it out.
"I was aware. It was very clear," said the Arsenal star. "I ignored it, but that is me. I think the FA will deal with that and I don't want to comment. The result tonight was the important thing."
England have encountered problems in Eastern Europe before. They also moved a friendly against Spain in 2009 to Seville from Madrid after experiencing similar abuse. Whether UEFA act is another matter as punishments have not tended to be particularly heavy for such offences in the past.
"I didn't hear it. I was focused on the game," confirmed Fabio Capello, whose captain, John Terry, expressed his revulsion.
"You don't expect that at all," Terry said. "It was a great spectacle for everyone to watch this evening. Let's not let that spoil it."
Striker Wayne Rooney, who scored twice to add to defender Gary Cahill's opener, added: "As players we could hear it on the pitch. It has been going on for years and it is not right. It needs to stop and hopefully something will be done about it."