Paltry fines and spineless words helped create the scenes in Sofia | Barney Ronay

Uefa is historically culpable for what happened in Bulgaria’s national stadium but there are losers on all sides

The taxi driver on the morning run to Sofia airport was lugubrious, middle-aged and wearing an England football shirt. What had he made of the racist abuse of England’s footballers by sections of the home crowd the night before. “These people,” he said curtly, “are idiots.”

The taxi driver wondered aloud why the Sofia police didn’t prevent the black-clad cohort of Bulgaria ultras from entering the stadium, the same tight-knit group who would later (it seemed) offer Nazi-style salutes – as those who know them knew they would. Instead the police had escorted the black-clad ultras inside.

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