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Bulgarian Teenager Charged Over Racist Abuse At England Soccer Match

Some Bulgarian supporters in the crowd made Nazi salutes.
Some Bulgarian supporters in the crowd made Nazi salutes.

Bulgarian prosecutors have charged a teenager with "grave hooliganism" over racist abuse during a European Championship qualifying match against England.

The 18-year-old had been detained for an initial 72 hours and prosecutors will decide on October 18 whether he should remain in custody pending a trial, Sofia city prosecutors said on October 17.

The man is accused of committing indecent acts, disrupting public order, and expressing disrespect for society.

Sofia police directorate spokeswoman Svetoslava Kostadinova said four other soccer fans were fined 1,000 leva ($568) and received two-year bans from sporting events.

Procedures against a fifth person, who is a minor, are still ongoing, Kostadinova said.

The authorities detained the six after Bulgaria supporters were heard making monkey noises at England's black players during the October 14 game at Sofia’s Vasil Levski Stadium.

They were also seen doing Nazi salutes and holding up shirts with the UEFA logo and the text "No respect" -- a reference to UEFA's "Respect" campaign aimed at curbing racism in the sport.

The match was halted twice in an effort to stop the racist abuse. England won the game 6-0.

European soccer's ruling body, UEFA, has opened disciplinary proceedings against Bulgaria over the racist behavior.

The case will be examined on October 28, AFP quoted a UEFA spokesperson as saying on October 17.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP

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