Winner of PL Fantasy Football 'sent racist messages about Sterling'

REVEALED: Bulgarian winner of Premier League’s Fantasy Football ‘sent racist messages about Raheem Sterling’ which resulted in him being disqualified after beating 7.6m rivals… but he STILL claims comments were just ‘out of context football banter’

  • Aleksandar Antonov was first crowned the winner of Fantasy Premier League 
  • However, the Premier League have on Tuesday deleted his winning team
  • As such, Joshua Bull has now won the 2019-20 game, beating 7.6 million people
  • Antonov says his comments on a Facebook chat were ‘taken out of context’
  • Bulgarian reports say the comments were ‘racist insults about Raheem Sterling’

The Premier League have disqualified the original winner of their 2019-20 Fantasy game, with reports stating his fantasy team was deleted for ‘racist messages about Raheem Sterling’ sent in a private Facebook chat. 

Bulgarian player Aleksandar Antonov, who has a YouTube channel on Fantasy football called TooGoodFPL, was announced as the winner following the final round of Premier League games on July 26, finishing 18 points clear of second-placed Joshua Bull. 

Yet the Premier League confirmed that Antonov has ‘been removed from FPL due to a breach of our terms’, and the Bulgarian touched on the nature of why he was disqualified in a YouTube video on Tuesday afternoon – but did not go into specifics. A report from Bulgarian news website however states that it was for ‘racist statements made against the Manchester City striker Sterling.’

Sportsmail contacted the Premier League for clarification on why the original winner was removed from the game, and the reported insult against Sterling, but they refused to comment and did not elaborate on Tuesday morning’s statement.  

Aleksandar Antonov had been disqualified from Fantasy Premier League on Tuesday morning

It means cancer researcher Joshua Bull has won the popular game for the 2019-20 season

Reports from Bulgaria state that Antonov was disqualified for ‘racist statements made against Manchester City striker Raheem Sterling’

NB: Prizes were announced before the coronavirus outbreak

‘Somehow, and in some way, things that I said in a private Facebook messenger chat with five of my friends found its way to the EPL (English Premier League),’ Antonov says in his YouTube statement. 

‘In response the EPL decided to exercise their right and remove me as the winner and to annul my points for the season. 

‘To clarify, what we write in our chats is football banter. And for sure it’s not something different generally from football banter chats…

‘The reason for my disqualification is a moment of frustration with a player put into words, written between friends – it was never meant to offend any footballer on any basis.

‘I was disqualified from the season because something was taken out of context to a large extent, from a small Bulgarian private chat by a person that certainly doesn’t wish me well in life and made me look like something I’m not to the EPL.’  

After the video statement, Antonov also tweeted in response to users on Twitter, via his handle @TooGoodFPL: ‘Can I just say quickly…I am not racist. OK, that’s all I had to say, bye.

‘Not saying the reason is racism, but the person that reported me for whatever he did, has said the exact same type of stuff in front of me when watching football together. You are giving way too much credit to sore losers… He is only standing up for his hurt ego.

‘The behaviour was explained to the EPL in two pages and I respect their decision. As I said in the video, I would never say anything like that to a player with the intend to offend them, it’s a small chat with friends, in a different language and different culture.’

City forward Sterling, 26, was part of the England side which played Bulgaria in Sofia in October 2019, when play was stopped twice due to racist behaviour from home supporters including Nazi salutes and monkey chanting. 

The game did finish, with England winning 6-0 and Sterling scoring twice in the Euro 2020 qualifier, but Bulgaria have since been ordered to play two matches behind closed doors as a punishment from UEFA, with one suspended for two years. 

Earlier in the day, in response to a query on social media as to whether he had multiple teams and that was the reason he was disqualified, Antonov said: ‘This is an easy one – no, I did not try to cheat in a game I play for fun. 

‘For more, tune in tonight, have a dayjob after all. Joshua Bull, congrats (sic) on the win. Not the way you wanted to win it, not the way I wanted to lose it.’  

Meanwhile Bull, an Oxford University cancer researcher, could not hide his shock and excitement at being named as the official winner of Fantasy Premier League 2019-20, played by 7.6 million people.  

New winner Joshua Bull reacted with shock after being announced as this season’s champion

‘Wow, so it looks like the longest FPL season is getting even longer…’ he began on his Twitter page on Tuesday morning. 

‘For everyone tweeting, I don’t know what’s going on either – I had an email from FPL this morning telling me that I’ve won(!), but I don’t know why… 

‘And to address the obvious – clearly this isn’t how I would have wanted to win, and I don’t know any more than the rest of you about what’s happened!’

Rather comically, Bull has also updated his Twitter bio to include: ‘#FPL OR 1? 2? Your guess is as good as mine?’

The updated standings also means World chess champion Magnus Carlsen finishes in the top-10 worldwide, 42 points behind new winner Bull.  

The new standings means World chess champion Magnus Carlsen has finished in the top-10

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