A Bulgarian ad agency has created a Scarf of Respect in a bid to promote tolerance in the football pitch following racist abuse at the country’s Euro 2020 qualifier.
Created by NEXT-DC in Sofia and emblazoned with the message “Football For All”, the scarf is a direct response to monkey chants and Nazi salutes carried out by a group of Bulgarian fans during their match against England in October. The accessory is now being sold by the Bulgarian Football Union, with plans to release more colours as part of the range.
“For a while, when you typed ‘Bulgaria’ into Google, the autosuggest function would automatically follow it with ‘racism’,” NEXT-DC’s strategic director, Monika Simeonova, told The Calvert Journal. “While Bulgaria is behind many countries in its ability to accept others, that small group [in the Euro qualifier] doesn’t speak for the whole country. We wanted to show that we realise the gravity of the incident and are actively doing more,” she said. “The Scarf of Respect is dedicated to the game itself and its ability to bring people and cultures together.”
Following the match, which saw police arrest 12 offenders, UEFA fined the Bulgarian Football Union £65,000 and ordered the team play their next two competitive home games behind closed doors. The president of the Bulgarian Football Association, Borislav Mihaylov, also resigned.
Get your own scarf here.