Alan Pardew leaves CSKA Sofia 34 days after taking office because of racist slurs

The former Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion manager has said he is leaving the club after being “very outraged” by four players and his assistant coach being abused by fans

Alan Pardew was “very outraged” after four of his black players were racially abused by CSKA Sofia supporters. (Photo by Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Alan Pardew has left CSKA Sofia 34 days after being appointed manager and technical director over racial slurs against four of his black players and assistant manager Alex Dyer.

Before a league game against Botev Plovdiv on May 19, four days after CSKA lost the Bulgarian Cup final to neighbors Levski Sofia, players were pelted with bananas. The players initially refused to play the game against Botev Plovdiv, their penultimate game of the season, which ended 0–0, but club officials were convinced it went ahead.

But the incident left Pardew “very outraged” and after initially pledging to manage the club next season, he has announced on their website that he is stepping down. Dyer, the first black CSKA coach, will also step down.

“I want to thank all true CSKA fans for their support and passion for the club,” Pardew said. “To [owners] Grisha and Dani Ganchevi for their efforts to move the club forward under such challenges and circumstances.

“It was a privilege for me to be part of this club and to serve it. Unfortunately, my time here is over. The events before and after the game with Botev (Plovdiv) were not acceptable for me, my assistant Alex Dyer, weren’t they for our players.” The reason nobody gave an interview after the meeting was that we were all very upset about the escalation of the situation.

“Our players have chosen to only play out of loyalty and to protect the club. The small group of organized racist fans that tried to sabotage this game is not what I want to lead and represent the team. This is definitely not the right way in favor of CSKA, because such a club deserves much more.”

Pardew went on to say he will continue to help with plans to equip local children and said he has no regrets taking on an advisory role at CSKA, which raised many eyebrows when it was first announced in November 2020 .

“I loved my time and the people in your beautiful capital and I will not end my relationship here. I want to continue my initiative to provide free footballs and supplies to local schools and I would encourage any potential sponsor to get in touch with the club.

“More time with the ball from a young age will produce better technical players and ultimately help to revive this country’s great football history. There are no regrets, only hope for a brighter future for CSKA.”

Pardew had stepped into the leadership role when Stoycho Mladenov resigned in mid-April.

The move to Bulgaria was followed by a stint as coach at Dutch club ADO Den Haag. His last role in English football was with West Bromwich Albion, who were bottom of the Premier League when he parted ways in April 2018.

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