Police discover major cache of pyrotechnics as fans clash with police at Sofia derby

April 8 – A huge cache of rockets and explosive devices was seized before the start of Bulgaria’s biggest derby between Levski and CSKA Sofia on Sunday.

During a routine inspection of the Vasil Levski stadium, the police found numerous flares, bombs, smoke bombs and improvised explosive devices.

According to the head of the Metropolitan Directorate of Internal Affairs (SDVR), one of the rockets found can fire 380 shots in a period of 7 minutes, and the entire amount of confiscated rockets was enough to fire for half an hour.

A police statement before the match made it clear that it could not be established when the ammunition was brought into the stadium as some of the security cameras were not working.

“There was a meeting at the Metropolitan Directorate of Internal Affairs attended by representatives of both clubs as well as supporters of both teams and we wanted to avoid bringing in pyrotechnics, but this did not happen.

“Rockets and improvised explosive devices were seized, some with remote devices attached . We cannot say when they were imported. It was established that this morning 5 of the stadium’s cameras were not working. We were surprised by the amount of imported materials, the approach is innovative,” said Chief Inspector Ivan Georgiev.

“Some of these missiles can produce 380 shots, some of them 300. One missile can fire for 6-7 minutes, which means that for the whole amount we can see up to 30 minutes of pyrotchnics. These missiles can inflict a lot of material and physical damage,” said the SDVR representative.

CSKA won the game 2- 0. A the beginning of the match, a young Levski supporter was injured and needed medical attention.

During the second half, Levski supporters clashed with the police, with law enforcement having to use tear gas to prevent a more serious escalation.

After the match, the police announced that they had detained 28 people, most of whom were arrested for possession of drugs and pyrotechnics.

The new president of the Bulgarian Football Union, Georgi Ivanov, who watched the match live, condemned what happened at the Vasil Levski stadium in the Bulgarian capital.

“We don’t tolerate what’s happening. We don’t tolerate these rockets and bombs because they endanger people’s health. We have to understand that football is a game and people who come to the stadium should feel safe. We didn’t see that today, but whenever Levski and CSKA play there is high tension,” said Ivanov.

“On my part, there will be a desire to act, but we need to sit down with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and see how we will counter what is happening in the public. I think that measures must be taken, because if we continue like this and do not pay attention, soon there will be a death case and it will be too late,” he continued.

“I’m not in favour of not having away fans, because you saw how many people came to watch the derby. It’s not right not to have away fans, but there should be more serious punishments for these hooligans who endanger people’s health.”

Contact the writer of this story, Aleksander Krassimirov, at moc.l1716771788labto1716771788ofdlr1716771788owedi1716771788sni@o1716771788fni1716771788