Ex-referees chief charged over match-fixing

SOFIA - Former Bulgarian referees' chief Borislav Alexandrov has been charged as part of a widening match-fixing scandal, a Sofia prosecutor said on Wednesday.

Boryana Betsova told reporters Alexandrov had been charged with approaching referees to influence the outcome of seven domestic top flight matches, with Belasitsa Petrich taking part in three of the games.

Alexandrov resigned as Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) referees' commission chairman in September after being temporarily suspended over allegations of match fixing.

The Balkan country's championship has been marred by accusations of bias among match officials with league leaders Levski Sofia's owner Todor Batkov claiming there is manipulation of matches and illegal betting in Bulgaria.

Bulgarian referees have recently complained several times that the commission has failed to give them enough support and had urged them to work under stressful conditions.

Two former referees, banned for life after making errors in games, have said there is widespread pressure on match officials to manipulate games in Bulgaria.

Betsova added that BFU senior official Ivan Lekov, who is a former UEFA referee, will also be charged in connection with the scandal. Lekov was arrested in September after being accused of taking a bribe.

Betsova said the indictments of Alexandrov and Lekov will probably be filed this week.

Alexandrov and Lekov were not available to comment.