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    Tyler Roberts demands more action to fight racism ahead of Wales’ clash in Bulgaria

    ‘There are still steps that need to be made’: Wales forward Tyler Roberts demands more action to fight racism ahead of his side’s clash in Bulgaria… where England players suffered racist abuse a year ago

    • Wales will play a Nations League clash in Bulgaria at the Vasil Levski Stadium 
    • The ground saw three England players subjected to racist insults back in 2019
    • The Bulgarian FA were fined £68,000 by UEFA following England’s visit
    • Tyler Roberts believes not enough is being done by authorities to combat racism 

    Wales star Tyler Roberts has called on football’s leaders to do more to combat racism as Ryan Giggs’ side take on Bulgaria at the stadium where England players suffered vicious abuse a year ago.

    The Bulgarian FA were fined a paltry £68,000 by UEFA and required to play one competitive game behind closed doors after Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Tyrone Mings were subjected to racist insults throughout their 6-0 victory in Sofia.

    With the Vasil Levski Stadium able to operate at 30 per cent capacity, there could be a crowd of up to 8,000 for the Nations League clash on Wednesday, with Roberts expected to start up front in the absence of suspended Kieffer Moore. 

    Tyler Roberts (right) believes football authorities are not doing enough to combat racism 

    ‘In all types of football – both club and international – there are still steps that need to be made and things that need to happen,’ said Roberts, the Leeds United forward. ‘Things like the Black Lives Matter movement have helped but the issue is still a bit away from where it needs to be.

    ‘I wouldn’t say I had concerns [about playing]. Hopefully there are restrictions put in place to help prevent it. It’s something that still unfortunately creeps into the game here and there but I’ve got the right people around me to deal with it if the situation occurs.

    ‘No matter what age or colour you are, you hope these things don’t happen. I want to be a part of trying to help and improve it but at the same time there are also people higher up who need to be at the forefront of that.’

    Wales prepare to take on Bulgaria at the Vasil Levski Stadium where the likes of Marcus Rashford (above) were subjected to racist insults on England's previous visit in 2019

    Wales prepare to take on Bulgaria at the Vasil Levski Stadium where the likes of Marcus Rashford (above) were subjected to racist insults on England’s previous visit in 2019

    As part of measures against Covid, the Vasil Levski stadium will be open to 8,000 spectators

    As part of measures against Covid, the Vasil Levski stadium will be open to 8,000 spectators

    Bulgaria would be subject to further sanctions in the event of discriminatory chanting.

    Observers from the FARE anti-racism network may be in the crowd to help the UEFA match delegate identify incidents of this nature. 

    Anti-racism messages will be visible around the stadium and on players’ shirts, while the practice of taking a knee has become common at all UEFA fixtures since football returned after the initial lockdown.

    Ryan Giggs will hope his Wales side can carry on their impressive start to the group in Bulgaria

    Ryan Giggs will hope his Wales side can carry on their impressive start to the group in Bulgaria

    David Brooks has withdrawn from the squad due to injury while, like Moore, midfielder Joe Morrell misses the game with a ban.

    Giggs’ team are top of their group after taking seven points from their opening three matches, and beat Bulgaria in Cardiff last month thanks to a stoppage-time winner from Liverpool youngster Neco Williams – but without injured captain Gareth Bale, they created little in Sunday’s 0-0 draw in Ireland.

    Giggs said: ‘It is always about getting the balance. You don’t want to give chances away. I am happy with the defence but we need to be better going forward.’ 

    Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey withdrew from the squad hours before they were due to fly to Bulgaria due to injury. Wales would not release further details on the former Arsenal player’s condition but it is not thought to be covid related.

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