Monkey chants backlash: Bulgaria Appoints Dermendzhiev as New Head Coach

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The Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) announced on Monday the appointment of former Ludogorets boss Georgi Dermendzhiev.

BFU vice-president Yordan Letchkov who disclosed this to reporters added that Dermendzhiev would sign his contract on Tuesday.

“Georgi Dermendzhiev is the new head coach of Bulgaria,” Letchkov said.

Former Levski Sofia will replace Krasimir Balakov who resigned a few days after a 6-0 defeat by England last Friday.

Recall that Balakov resigned after some Bulgarian supporters taunted the visitors with Nazi salutes and monkey chants.

The game was twice temporarily stopped in the first half after England debutant Tyrone Mings alerted officials to the abuse directed at him and others from various parts of the Levski Stadium in Sofia.

Balakov had initially said he “personally did not hear the chanting” before arguing that England has a worse problem with racism than Bulgaria.

He later apologised to the England players and condemned all forms of racism.

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UEFA investigation

UEFA’s disciplinary proceedings have begun, with the BFU charged with racist behaviour and the disruption of a national anthem and displaying replays on a giant screen.

The English FA faces sanctions too, over national anthem disruption and an insufficient number of travelling stewards.

World governing body FIFA has also asked UEFA to notify it of any punishment potentially handed down to the BFU.

“This would allow any sanctions imposed to be extended worldwide,” said a FIFA statement.

Winless Bulgaria is the bottom of Group A in the Euro 2020 qualifying stage with three points from seven matches.

They host the Czech Republic in their final group match next month.

Dermendzhiev’s career

Dermendzhiev led Ludogorets to three consecutive Bulgarian league titles between 2015 and 2017. 

His side became the first Bulgarian team to register a Champions League group stage victory when they beat Switzerland’s Basel in 2014.

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