August 19, 2018 / 11:05 AM / a month ago

Soccer-Bulgarian coach faces heavy punishment for attacking referees

SOFIA, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Bulgarian coach Atanas Dzhambazki is facing a severe punishment after attacking two of the match referees at the end of his team Kariana Edren’s 2-1 home loss to Strumska Slava in the Balkan country’s second division on Saturday.

The Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) will discuss the incident early next week after watching video footage, officials said.

Incensed Dzhambazki appeared to lose his temper and invaded the pitch after the visitors scored the winning goal in the 90th minute after referee Ivaylo Nenkov awarded a free kick.

Assistant referee Georgi Velikov tried to defend Nenkov, standing in front of him only to be punched in the face twice and hit in the chest by Dzhambazki.

The 49-year-old Dzhambazki, who previously coached several first division teams including Slavia Sofia and Montana, was escorted off the pitch by two policemen. The referee blew the final whistle shortly after the incident.

Dzhambazki and his club declined to comment.

A number of officials, including UEFA referees, have been attacked in Bulgaria in recent years during which the domestic championship has been marred by widespread accusations of corruption.

The BFU and referees in the Black Sea state are facing widespread criticism from clubs, media and fans for allegedly favouring certain teams, including Ludogorets, who won the title seven times in a row after clinching their maiden top flight promotion in 2011. (Reporting by Angel Krasimirov Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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