Botev request for foreign refs for Bulgarian Cup semi-final denied

March 21 – The Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) has rejected the request from Botev Plovdiv to appoint foreign referees for their upcoming Bulgarian Cup semi-final matches against CSKA Sofia, to be played over two legs.

CSKA and Botev Plovdiv met in a league game last weekend, which Sofia won 4:0. After the match, Botev Plovdiv were critical of the refereeing.

A Botev statement said: “PFK Botev acknowledges its own mistakes that led to the unpleasant 4:0 loss, but this is no reason to turn a blind eye to the ugly and tendentious refereeing that changed the course of the match at key moments. We treat our opponent with the necessary respect, as in no way would we like to neglect his victory, but we are convinced of the rightness of our dissatisfaction.”

A few days later, Botev Plovdiv sent an official letter to the BFU insisting on the appointment of referees from abroad.

“PFK Botev Plovdiv is contacting you with a request for the appointment of foreign referees in the upcoming semi-finals of the Bulgarian Cup tournament between the teams of PFC Botev Plovdiv and PFC CSKA-Sofia. We are outraged by the referees who officiated our last match with CSKA-Sofia, considering a clear trend against our club. The same has been constant in the last few seasons, in which PFC Botev Plovdiv was repeatedly damaged in pivotal matches, which prevented it from achieving its goals,” said Botev’s letter.

“Taking into account the fact that the upcoming semi-finals of the Bulgarian Cup tournament are the most important matches for our club this season, we insist on professional and impartial refereeing, which we consider impossible with the referees leading the football matches in our championship. If this request of ours is granted and our opponent succeeds in qualifying for the final match of the tournament in an unchallenged manner and without the interference of the judges, we will have the dignity and valor to congratulate them first.”

The Bulgarian Football Union responded almost immediately, refusing their request.

“The Refereeing Commission of the Bulgarian Football Union wishes to inform both the management of PFC Botev ( Plovdiv), as well as the entire football community in Bulgaria, that such a request is impossible to satisfy,” read the BFU reply.

“The Bulgarian Football Union is part of UEFA and has an agreement with the European federation under the Convention for the Development and Training of Referees in Bulgaria, which prohibits the appointment of referees from other countries. The leadership of the Refereeing Commission has full confidence in the Bulgarian referees and believes that they have proven their qualities in not one or two important matches in the championship and Bulgarian cup tournament.”

Contact the writer of this story, Aleksander Krassimirov, at moc.l1711645804labto1711645804ofdlr1711645804owedi1711645804sni@o1711645804fni1711645804