Berbatov misses Bulgarian goal as Mihaylov saves his presidency

October 12 – Dimitar Berbatov has failed in his bid to become the president of the Bulgarian Football Union (BFS). The incumbent Borislav Mihaylov (pictured) was re-elected for a fifth term. 

With the promise of “radical change”, the former Manchester United striker launched a bid to become Bulgaria’s supremo, assisted by fellow former internationals and Premier League players Stiliyan Petrov and Martin Petrov, but it was Mihaylov who prevailed in the presidential elections, receiving more than 50% of the votes in the first round of the ballot.

A statement on the website of the BFS read: “In front of the eyes of all of Bulgaria and all those present in the hall, the representatives of the clubs gave their support for Mihaylov in the competition of the other five candidates, who publicly assessed the transparency and democracy of the vote.”

Forty-year-old Berbatov gained 230 votes, 11 fewer than Mihaylov’s 241. A former Reading goalkeeper, Mihaylov has been in charge for 16 years, even if he stepped down two years ago in the wake of England players being racially abused in Bulgaria before returning to his role because the executive committee didn’t accept his resignation. He is currently the fourth longest-serving president in Europe after the chairmen of Albania, Luxemburg and Montenegro.

Mihaylov had called for elections in 2022, but Berbatov’s camp rejected that proposal, citing the need for emergency elections. They got the necessary support from at least one-third of the Bulgarian clubs, but Mihaylov’s questioned the validity of that support. Ultimately, a Sofia court ruled in Berbatov’s favour, setting an October date for the elections.

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