Thursday , October 31 2019

Bulgarian teen in court over racism at England match but claims he is victim of mistaken identity

I’m not a Nazi football fan who hurled racist abuse at England players – my identical twin brother is! Bulgarian teen claims he is a victim of mistaken identity as he appears in court charged over England match racism

  • Tzvetan Gechev, 18, appeared at the Sofia District Court in the Bulgarian capital
  • But his twin brother claimed to reporters that he had been at the game instead
  • He was quick to add he was not involved in the abuse or part of the hooded gang

A Bulgarian teenager has appeared in court charged over the racist abuse at an England match despite claims that it was his twin brother.

Tzvetan Gechev, 18, appeared at the Sofia District Court in the Bulgarian capital yesterday.

The court was told that he had been seen on CCTV hurling abuse during Bulgaria’s clash against England in the Euro 2020 qualifier on Monday.

Tzvetan Gechev, 18, appeared at the Sofia District Court (pictured second from left) in the Bulgarian capital yesterday after he was charged over the racist abuse at an England match despite claims that it was his twin brother

Cameras at the Vasil Levski National Stadium allegedly showed the teenager among those ‘giving a sign to start racist chants’ as well as replicating Nazi Salutes.

Police reportedly burst into the family home on Tuesday morning asking to speak to Gechev before questioning him over the following three days and charging him with racist abuse.

But in bizarre scenes outside the courtroom his twin brother Dimitar insisted that it was he who was actually at the game and that this had been a case of mistaken identity. 

But in bizarre scenes outside the courtroom his twin brother Dimitar (centre) insisted that it was him that was actually at the game and that this had been a case of mistaken identity. He was pictured alongside his brother's girlfriend and her father

But in bizarre scenes outside the courtroom his twin brother Dimitar (centre) insisted that it was him that was actually at the game and that this had been a case of mistaken identity. He was pictured alongside his brother’s girlfriend and her father

He was quick to add that he had not been involved in the racism nor had he been a part of the hooded gang.  

Speaking to reporters outside court, Dimitar said: ‘I was at the game and my brother was not. The police have lied and said he was there but he wasn’t. 

‘The police spoke to me for only a short time and let me go. I do not understand why they have arrested my brother…

‘Nothing happened [at the match], I was there, I was waving to a friend who I saw in the stands, I was waving with my arm in the air and with all my fingers, just like normal.’

Dimitar also made claims that the police had ‘forced’ his brother to make a false statement after he was arrested, stating that he was at the match despite apparently being with his girlfriend at the time.

Dimitar was quick to add that he had not been involved in the racist abuse nor had he been a part of the hooded gang

Dimitar was quick to add that he had not been involved in the racist abuse nor had he been a part of the hooded gang

Dimitar was speaking alongside his brother’s girlfriend and her father, who said he had cooked dinner for the couple on the evening of the match.   

The defence asked to question Dimitar during the brief court hearing but this was rejected.   

It is thought that the Bulgarian police have so far identified 16 people involved in the abuse but Tzvetan Gechev is the only person that has so far been charged. 

He is already serving a suspended sentence for assault and if he is found guilty of racist abuse then he could face up to five years behind bars. 

It is thought that the Bulgarian police have so far identified 16 people involved in the abuse but Tzvetan Gechev is the only person that has so far been charged

It is thought that the Bulgarian police have so far identified 16 people involved in the abuse but Tzvetan Gechev is the only person that has so far been charged

The former head of the Bulgarian soccer association Borislav Mikhailov resigned following the racist abuse at the match where England enjoyed a resounding 6-0 win.

His resignation was prompted by calls for him to step down from the country’s prime minister which came shortly after the team’s manager Krasimir Balakov also quit his post.

UEFA’s final decision will is likely to mean the national team will receive a fine or could even be banned from recognised football leagues.