ENGLAND boss Gareth Southgate was told to “f*** off” by a Bulgarian cameraman after his post match press conference in Sofia, according to reports.
The Three Lions’ 6-0 demolition of Bulgaria was marred by persistent racist abuse aimed at England stars by thugs in the crowd at the Stadion Vasil Levski.
And according to Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol, Southgate’s press conference was interrupted by a Bulgarian journalist who tried to convince the room that the racism witnessed by all wasn’t actually as bad as was being made out.
When the England manager was eventually allowed to finish, a Bulgarian cameraman sat next to Solhekol reportedly told the 49-year-old to “f*** off”.
Bulgaria boss Krasimir Balakov had fuelled the fire before the match by claiming that England have a bigger racism problem than his own country – despite facing a partial stadium closure due to racism in their matches with the Czech Republic and Kosovo.
He said before kick-off: “I dont think we have a problem.
In the Bulgarian championship, we have a lot of players of different ethnicities and skin colour. I dont think we have this big problem like, for example, England do.
And Balakov was equally bullish after the match, somehow claiming that fans were just unhappy with the team’s performance – before going on to criticise the travelling England fans.
He told reporters: “It is probably because the fans were unhappy with the way the team was performing.
“I personally did not hear the chanting.
“I saw that the referee stopped the game but I also have to say that the unacceptable behaviour was not only on the part of the Bulgaria but also the England fans who were whistling and shouting during the national anthem.
“In the second half they were using words against our fans that I find unacceptable.”
The referee had to halt play TWICE during the first half because of the sickening abuse – as part of Uefa’s new anti racism protocol.
Play first had to be stopped in the 28th minute, when skipper Harry Kane reported abuse of Raheem Sterling and Tyrone Mings to the Croatian referee Ivan Bebek.
The match resumed six minutes later after a stadium announcement – but little changed and play was stopped again in the 43rd minute, with Bebek having a length consultation with Southgate.
A group of home fans dressed in black behind a banner reading “Lauta Army” appeared to be the worst offenders – with some fans spotted making Nazi salute gestures.
Bulgaria captain Ivelin Popov was seen begging home fans at half-time to stop the abuse towards England’s stars.
And the match was played to a conclusion without Bebek having to enforce phase three of the Uefa protocol – although sporadic monkey chanting could still reportedly be heard in the second half.
The Three Lions rattled in six goals to eventually rout their hosts 6-0, with Sterling bagging a brace.
And the Manchester City star had his say on Twitter after the match.
“Feeling sorry for Bulgaria to be represented by such idiots in their stadium.
“Anyway.. 6-0 and we go back home, at least we did our job. Safe travel to our fans, u guys did well.”
Before being cursed at, Southgate said after the match: “The officials were onto everything very quickly.
“I was in contact with the players all through the first-half and at half-time.
We have managed to make two statements tonight. One by winning the game and one by raising awareness of the situation.