has resigned as manager and technical director of Bulgarian club CSKA Sofia after a group of fans racially abused their own players.
The former and boss had joined CSKA last year in a backroom role before taking charge of the first-team in April following the resignation of previous manager Stoycho Mladenov.
He had agreed to continue as manager for the next season but announced on Wednesday that he and assistant manager Alex Dyer, the first black man to hold a coaching role at the club, would be leaving with immediate effect due to a recent incident.
A week after the club’s defeat to bitter rivals Levski Sofia in May’s Bulgarian Cup final, the CSKA team were confronted by a large number of fans outside their stadium as they arrived ahead of a league game against Botev Plovdiv.
Four black players were the target of racist abuse, including having bananas thrown at them, and initially they refused to play the match in protest but were later persuaded to do so.
Now, Pardew has made the decision to walkaway from the club for good, saying in a statement on the CSKA website: ‘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.’
It is not the first time the issue of racism in Bulgarian football has been thrust into the spotlight, with England’s Euros qualifying match in 2019 stopped twice because of racist abuse from Bulgaria fans.
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