Bulgarian ref picks up third ban in three years

SOFIA - Bulgarian referee Angel Angelov has been suspended for four matches, the official's third ban in as many years, after complaints over his performance in Levski Sofia's 3-1 win over nine-man Minyor Pernik on Sunday.

The Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) announced the suspension on Tuesday and it follows a four-match ban in 2007 and his removal from the referees' list last year amid accusations of favouring CSKA Sofia.

His latest suspension comes after he awarded a 90th minute penalty to champions Levski when striker Miroslav Antonov went sprawling in the box despite apparently minimal contact from Daniel Zlatkov. The score was 1-1 at the time.

The decision provoked furious protests from the Minyor side with Kostadin Markov receiving a red card while fans threw objects on to the pitch.

Levski scored their third goal in injury time.

Minyor asked the BFU to take measures against the referee saying his decisions influenced the outcome of the game and that he had also failed to penalise rough play by Levski's players.

Referee bans are not uncommon in the Balkan country while in recent years officials have complained there is widespread pressure on them to manipulate games.