Alan Pardew has walked away from his role as manager and technical director of CSKA Sofia with immediate effect, after a section of supporters targeted their own team’s Black players with racist abuse.
The team lost the Bulgaria cup final to bitter rivals Levski Sofia last month, and after talks with the club’s owner, Pardew planned to stay on and take charge of the team next season.
But a week after the cup final, as the CSKA team arrived to play one of their remaining league matches against Botev Plovdiv, they were met by large numbers of angry fans outside the stadium.
Four Black players were subjected to racist abuse and had bananas thrown at them. They initially refused to play in the game, but were later persuaded to do so.
Sky Sports News understands Pardew was angered and upset at the incident, and sought urgent talks with the club’s bosses.
In the light of that incident, he has now decided to leave the club, together with assistant Alex Dyer – the first Black man to hold a coaching role at the club.
In a statement to the CSKA Sofia website, Pardew said: “The events before and after the match against Botev Plovdiv were unacceptable not only for me, but also for my assistant Alex Dyer and for my players. Our players decided to play out of loyalty towards the club.
“This small group of organised racist fans, who tried to sabotage the game, are not the fans I want to coach the team in front of. That’s definitely not the right way for CSKA because such club deserves a lot more.”
“I would want to express my gratitude towards all true CSKA fans for their support and passion. I also want to thank Grisha and Dani Ganchev [the club owners] for their efforts to bring the club forward despite all the challenges and circumstances.
“It’s been a privilege and honour to serve this great club. Unfortunately, my time here has come to an end.”
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