Bulgaria to appeal FIFA sanctions for racist abuse

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SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) -- The Bulgarian Football Union will appeal against sanctions imposed by FIFA for racist abuse by its fans during a World Cup qualifier.

On Tuesday, FIFA's disciplinary committee ordered Bulgaria to play in an empty stadium on March 22 when it hosts Malta for a World Cup qualifier and fined the Balkan country 35,000 Swiss francs ($38,000).

Bulgaria fans had made monkey chants at Denmark defender Patrick Mtiliga, whose father is from Tanzania, during a World Cup qualifier in Sofia on Oct. 12.

Union president Borislav Mihaylov said the appeal will be against the "disproportionate punishment for racism and discriminatory behavior of a very small group of the crowd."

He also said it was "unfair" to be punished for the same offense not only with a game behind closed doors but also with a fine.