The England soccer team recently played Bulgaria in Sofia.  Unfortunately the game was halted twice over racist abuse targeted at some English players.  This was an important match for England as it was a Euro 2020 Qualifier.  There was widespread condemnation in the media of Bulgarian fans who made monkey chants and Nazi salutes at black England players during the match.  UEFA’s Respect campaign was set up to target this behaviour. There was photographic evidence of racist fans who had made t-shirts that said “No Respect”.  It is hard to see how this was nothing but flouting the UEFA campaign.

The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, said on record that he is “fed up” with racism in football.  He is the president of the Football Association and during a visit to a North London football club he used the opportunity to discuss issues surrounding mental health outreach activities and he highlighted how abuse might be a difficult issue for players to discuss and that racism needed to be tackled head-on.  The recent events in Sofia have brought this unsavoury behaviour to the fore once again.

A hate crime or incident is one where it is perceived that the perpetrator’s hostility or prejudice against any person or property is on the ground of the victim’s ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, political opinion or disability.  Unfortunately, it is well known that the impact of hate crimes can be long lasting and far reaching.  A hate crime is subjective.  It is the perception of the victim or any other person which is the defining factor in determining whether an incident or in recognising the hostility element of a hate crime.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland operates a non-emergency online reporting form where a victim may report any incident that is perceived to have been committed against another person because of their race, religion, political opinion, disability or sexual orientation or sexual identity.

To contact a racist hate crime support worker please visit the Migrant Centre NI by clicking on the following link:

To contact an LGB&T hate crime support worker please visit the Rainbow Project by clicking on

To contact a disability hate crime support worker please contact Leonard Cheshire Disability by clicking on

You can also access these services through Victim Support NI on

If you need assistance in reporting a hate crime please do not hesitate to contact our office.