Bulgaria appoints new national soccer coach in wake of racism row
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Bulgaria appoints new national soccer coach in wake of racism row

Georgy Dermendzhiev to replace Krasimir Balakov, who quit after loss against England in game overshadowed by monkey chants and Nazi salutes

Bulgarian fans at the the Euro 2020 soccer qualification match between Bulgaria and England at the Vasil Levski National Stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria, on October 14, 2019. (Nikolay Doychinov/AFP)
Bulgarian fans at the the Euro 2020 soccer qualification match between Bulgaria and England at the Vasil Levski National Stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria, on October 14, 2019. (Nikolay Doychinov/AFP)

SOFIA, Bulgaria — Bulgaria appointed Georgi Dermendzhiev as new national soccer coach in place of Krasimir Balakov who quit last week in the wake of a 0-6 loss against England overshadowed by racist abuse.

“Georgy Dermendzhiev is the new Bulgarian national team coach. All has been agreed, he’s the new manager. We’ll finalize the documents tomorrow,” Bulgarian Football Union vice president Yordan Lechkov was quoted as telling sportal.bg sports website on Monday.

Dermendzhiev confirmed the news to another sports website, gong.bg, adding that he expected to sign his contract “today or tomorrow.”

The 64-year-old coach is one of Bulgaria’s most successful club managers. He led Ludogorets to three Bulgarian league titles from 2015 to 2017 and to the group stages of the 2015 Champions League.

Ludogorets’ head coach Georgi Dermendzhiev watches players during the Champions League Group A soccer match between Paris Saint Germain and Ludogorets at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Dec. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

After Ludogorets, he coached Kazakhstan’s Ordabasy before briefly taking the helm at Levski Sofia.

Balakov, who took over the national team in May, quit on Friday after the Euro 2020 qualifiers loss against England.

Monkey chants and apparent Nazi salutes during the game sparked a storm of indignation, prompting the resignation of Bulgarian Football Union’s president Borislav Mihaylov and the organization’s whole executive committee.

Bulgaria are in a hurry to pick a new coach ahead of their last Euro 2020 qualifying game against the Czech republic on November 17.

Bulgaria are last in Group A but still have a chance to qualify for the Euros through the play-offs.

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