SOFIA (Reuters) - Levski Sofia have been awarded a 3-0 home win over Litex Lovech after their league match was abandoned when the visitors walked off the pitch in protest at refereeing decisions, the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) said on Thursday.
On Saturday, Litex were down to 10 men but leading 1-0 close to halftime when referee Georgi Yordanov sent off another of their players and awarded Levski a penalty, prompting the club’s sporting manager Stoycho Stoilov to order his team off the field.
The three points handed to Levski for the win means they are now level on 38 with leaders and title holders Ludogorets
Four-times Bulgarian champions Litex were thrown out of the top division on Tuesday as punishment for walking off the pitch. They were given seven days to appeal.
Litex were fourth with 33 points before being expelled.
The two teams also met in the Bulgarian Cup on Tuesday when 10-man Litex reached the semi-finals in dramatic fashion by scoring three times in 11 extra-time minutes to beat Levski 3-0.
Litex are still allowed to play in the Cup.
The BFU’s refereeing commission on Thursday suspended the two referees and one of the linesmen who officiated in the two matches for an unspecified period.
Litex coach Ljupko Petrovic has criticised the BFU for making the championship “pointless” and “uninteresting”.
It had already demoted CSKA Sofia, the most successful Bulgarian club, and city rivals Lokomotiv to the amateur championship in the close season due to huge debts.
“It is inexplicable,” the Serb, who led Red Star Belgrade to a European Cup triumph in 1991, said after Litex were expelled.
”What will these 20 internationals at the club do in the coming months? I feel sorry for them.
“The right decision was a 3-0 win for Levski, a fine for Litex and a lifetime ban for the referee.”
The table will change significantly if the BFU’s appeal commission confirms Litex’s sanction next week, as is widely expected, because all the club’s results would be annulled.
Ludogorets would then have a five-point lead over Levski before the winter break with Slavia Sofia jumping into third place.
Trust in the BFU has been shaken in recent years following a number of controversial decisions. It has faced widespread accusations from the media, pundits, officials, players, coaches and fans of being too lenient in handing some clubs small fines or warnings, whilst acting uncompromisingly against others.
Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Ken Ferris