Bulgaria’s debt-plagued Levski refused sale of defender to Russian Premier League club

March 14 – Nasko Sirakov, owner of Bulgaria’s Levski Sofia, admitted that the club refused to sell a player to a Russian club, despite the serious financial crisis facing the club and its huge debts to the National Revenue Agency (NRA).

In January, the club received an offer of €2.5 million for the Panamanian defender Jose Cordoba, but Sirakov (pictured) rejected the offer on the grounds that the transfer was risky and there were no guarantees that the club would receive the money.

Levski’s management even held a meeting with the NRA on the subject, and the Agency advised Sirakov to reject the deal.

Sirakov did not mention the name of the club but it became clear that the offer came from PFC Sochi, which is owned by Russian businessman Boris Rotenberg, who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and is under international sanctions.

“We had an offer for Jose Cordoba for €2.5 million. It came from a Russian club. The owner of this club is from Vladimir Putin’s close circle. We had absolutely no guarantee that we would get our money. We discussed that matter with the National Revenue Agency. Their hair stood on end and they said – no way! They warned us that we were taking a big risk,” said Sirakov.

Levski’s bank accounts are currently frozen with 30% of the club’s income going directly to the National Revenue Agency to repay its debts, which amount to over BGN 11 million (€5.5 million).

During Levski’s training camp in Dubai in January, the club was supposed to play two friendly games against Russian teams – Spartak Moscow and Ural, but they were cancelled at the insistence of Levski’s fans. Ural said that they will seek financial compensation for the failed friendly game.

Contact the writer of this story, Aleksander Krassimirov, at moc.l1680335862labto1680335862ofdlr1680335862owedi1680335862sni@o1680335862fni1680335862