SOFIA (Reuters) - Brazilian defender Elidiano “Eli” Marques has claimed he was the victim of a racial abuse from Bulgaria captain Svetoslav Dyakov during a Bulgarian second division match on Saturday.
“I want people to know what kind of person is the captain of the Bulgarian national team and what his mentality is,” Marques said in an open letter to local media following his team Oborishte’s 1-1 draw at champions Ludogorets’s second team.
Midfielder Dyakov, capped 34 times by Bulgaria since 2012, took part in the second-tier match after missing Ludogorets’s senior team’s game due to suspension.
“‘Monkey, you’re coming from the forest in Brazil to pretend here you’re a human...’ that’s what Dyakov told me,” 35-year-old Marques, who has played for 11 Bulgarian clubs and Cyprus’s AEL Limassol after leaving Brazil in 2007, said.
Dyakov and Ludogorets, who won their sixth successive Bulgarian league title 10 days ago, have vigorously denied the allegations.
The accusation casts another cloud over Bulgarian clubs, who have a history of racism at their matches.
The Bulgarian Football Union and a number of clubs have been fined by European soccer’s governing body UEFA on several occasions over the past few years.
Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by John O'Brien