SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgarian prosecutors have charged two second division players with match-fixing as part of an investigation into alleged corruption in Bulgarian football, the domestic football association (BFU) said.
The BFU said prosecutors had charged players Lubomir Vitanov and Ivan Topuzov from Bulgarian club Bansko with establishing a criminal organisation, aiming to commit crimes against sport.
Prosecutors said the players allegedly manipulated unspecified Bansko games in Bulgaria’s second division during the 2016-2017 season.
Neither Bansko nor the players, who were suspended indefinitely by the BFU, were immediately available for comment when contacted by Reuters.
Soon after the announcement, Bulgarian authorities, including the BFU, were criticised by fans on social media and websites for punishing only smaller clubs.
There have been media reports of widespread match-fixing and corruption in the Balkan country for years, but nobody has been brought to trial and the European Commission has criticised the authorities for doing little to fight the problem.
The first documented manipulated game in the country took place in 1949 when Levski Sofia and city neighbours Akademik drew 1-1 in order to guarantee that CSKA, Levski’s bitter rivals, would be relegated to the second division.
(Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Toby Davis)