Levski chaos continues with row spilling over on to national TV

NaskoSirakovBy Alexander Krassimirov
October 11 - The day after the battle scenes and chaos at Bulgaria's Levski Sofia club, emotions are still running hight. The former sports director Nasko Sirakov (pictured) attacked the club's owner Todor Batkov in an interview on national television in Bulgaria. Just a few hours later, Batkov responded by saying he now accepts Sirakov's resignation, handed in on Tuesday.

In the TV interview, Sirakov went on the offensive saying that noone in Bulgaria knows who the real owner of Levski is. He added that at the moment the club is trying to secure a loan of between 5-6 million lev (€2.5-3 million) to complete the construction of one of the main stands at the Georgi Asparuhov stadium, which was demolished a few months ago.

The club had expected to sign a sponsorship deal with Russian energy firm Gazprom, but later negotiations between the two sides stalled and there is still no clarity as to whether the deal will take place or not.

Sirakov added that he believed that the incident with fans who stripped the new coach Ivaylo Petev of his shirt at a press conference, was organised and that these fans has been paid. A few hours later Batkov admitted that for several years the club had paid 15,000 lev (€7,500) per month to stewards in the stadium who were part of the official fan club of Levski.

In his TV interview Sirakov said: "I came back to Levski only to be discredited, soiled and be told to keep my mouth shut. In the last few years I kept criticising the team, because the club crashed every single day. I was invited back by Todor Batkov who then told me that there was no money for transfers and new players. I knew that I could get players who would raise the level of the team. Last year Levski failed to become champion despite the support of the referees."

The former boss of the Blues accused management that none of the players he wanted were brought to the team, even though they were all free agents.

"They told me that these players can come, but only if they play without wages. I have not been in talks with any player on wages. In the first month I realized the situation, but I believed that I could lift this broken team. Currently the club is looking for a loan of €5-6 million lev for the stadium but there is no money for players."

"Todor Batkov could not make any decision for the club. He always spoke with Ivo Tonev (Head of the Board who also resigned after the scandal on Tuesday). These are the facts. I do not know who the owner of Levski is. Todor Batkov claims that he is. I know there were negotiations for sponsorship with Gazprom. I did not participate in them. I have no idea where Batkov has his support," said Sirakov.

Meanwhile Levski CFO Konstantin Bazhdekov revealed that since January the club had revenue of about 10 million lev ($5 million).

"Since the beginning of the year in the club entered over 10 million lev. 5 million of this amount is provided by our sponsors and the remaining money comes from the club's owner (Todor Batkov). At present, the salaries of all players are paid. We have paid our obligations to other clubs for transfers. With this money Levski can exist and fulfill its contract obligations to players. You can see what is being done on the basis of the stadium. Thanks to the efforts of the owner and sponsors we have provided such a budget with which the team operates from the beginning of the year," concluded Bazhdekov.

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