Sofia issue ultimatum over referees

SOFIA, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Levski Sofia have threatened to boycott their matches against domestic rivals Litex Lovech next year if the Bulgarian Football Union refuses to appoint foreign referees to officiate the games.

Levski will meet the Lovech-based club in a Bulgarian Cup quarter-final and then host the champions in a potential title-deciding league match on May 4, with Litex top on 37 points followed by Levski on 32 during the mid-season break.

"There's discrimination against Litex's rivals," Levski president Todor Batkov told Bulgarian state television.

"It's not only against Levski but against Lokomotiv Sofia, Slavia and CSKA too. So, I officially declare that we want foreign referees for our matches against Litex," he added.

"If they don't appoint them, Levski will not take part in the games. It should be clear, Levski will not meet Litex with Bulgarian officials in charge."

Matches between Litex and Levski are often highly charged affairs, the last meeting in October marred because of an onfield brawl that caused a five-minute interruption where referee Stanislav Todorov showed two red and five yellow cards.

After the 2-1 defeat, Levski issued a statement demanding foreign officials be appointed for all future derbies following what they perceived to be biased refereeing in the match.