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Racism protocols were 'effective', says England defender Mings following incidents in Bulgaria

01:41 GMT+3 15/10/2019
Tyrone Mings England
The centre-half was disappointed by the crowd behaviour but insisted that the processes put in by the governing body helped defuse the situation

England debutant Tyrone Mings believes UEFA's racism protocol was 'effective' after two incidents marred the Euro 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria in Sofia.

Fears of racism incidents during the match at Bulgaria's national stadium were realised in the first half, with play stopped twice by the referee after abuse was heard from the stands.

Mings instigated the first halt in play by communicating his concerns with the fourth official before skipper Harry Kane conferred with the referee and announcement was played over the loudspeaker to warn fans the match could be cancelled if the behaviour continued.

Play was stopped again shortly before the interval after England coach Gareth Southgate intervened and a large number of fans were seen leaving following the delay.

Aston Villa defender Mings was complimentary of UEFA's three-step racism protocol, with a stop in play followed by a temporary suspension before the match is called off if the abuse continues.

"I think UEFA's racism protocol] was effective, I don’t know whether certain members of the crowd were removed, obviously there were announcements that went out," Mings told ITV.

"I think whatever the protocol was, the correct steps that were taken definitely helped and we made a decision at half-time to come out and play the game, which we thought was the right decision.

"If anything else was to happen then we would have taken appropriate action. We’re ultimately delighted with the result at the end."

Despite the incidents making headlines over his first Three Lions appearance, Mings was delighted to make his debut and thought the team handled the adverse circumstances well.

"It was good, obviously it was a great occasion, I made my England debut. Slightly overshadowed by a few disappointing chants, it was quite clear to hear on the pitch," he said.

"But I think we showed a great response, we showed a good togetherness.

"Ultimately we let the football do the talking, and I think the higher powers will hopefully deal with the incidents that happened but yeah, we couldn’t do much more than what we’ve done on the pitch."

England let their football do the talking on the pitch with Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley grabbing doubles as Marcus Rashford and Harry Kane also found the back of the net.

The Three Lions have now all but qualified for next year's tournament but must wait until November for matches against Montenegro and Kosovo to confirm their participation.