SOFIA, May 20 (Reuters) - Ivaylo Petev is in line to return as coach of Levski Sofia seven months after having his shirt removed by angry fans who forced him to leave his first news conference.
“We expect him to come back from Cyprus and we’ll talk,” new Levski sporting director Georgi Ivanov told reporters on Tuesday. “It’s important to find a good coach.”
Two weeks after the ugly incidents at the Georgi Asparuhov stadium, Petev took charge at Cypriot club AEL Limassol who are close to winning the domestic title.
AEL are top with 81 points, three ahead of APOEL who have a beter goal difference. Their title decider was abandoned on Saturday after a flare thrown from the crowd hit a player.
The Cyprus FA will determine the outcome of that final match of the season, which was goalless when it was stopped.
“If things don’t happen with Ivaylo Petev, we’ll probably think about a foreign coach,” former Levski striker and crowd favourite Ivanov said.
Levski fans burst into Petev’s news conference in October shortly after the start of his presentation to the media and made him take off the club’s shirt before showing him the exit because they believed he supported bitter city rivals CSKA Sofia.
Levski “ultras”, however, said they had since reconsidered their position.
“There’ll be no problem if Ivanov tell us he wants Petev back,” said Vladimir Vladimirov of the Levski national fan club. “He (Petev) got bad luck (in October)... he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Petev, 38, is considered one of the best young coaches in Bulgaria after leading Ludogorets to back-to-back league titles.
He was sacked by the Razgrad-based side after a shock defeat in the opening round of the domestic championship last season.
“This (the incident) is history and there’s no need to go back to it again,” Petev’s agent Ventsislav Mitov told local media. “Is it possible for Petev to coach Levski again? Never say never...”
The 26-times Bulgarian champions had four coaches, excluding Petev, last season when they finished fifth and failed to qualify for Europe. (Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; editing by Josh Reich)