Bulgarian referee claims club official hit him

SOFIA - Referee Anton Genov has claimed he was attacked by angry Cherno More Varna officials following the side's 1-1 draw at Lokomotiv Sofia in the Bulgarian league on Saturday.

Genov, considered the Balkan country's top official, awarded a late penalty that allowed Lokomotiv to equalise and earn a valuable point as both teams continue to vie for a place in next season's Europa League.

"I was hit in the chest twice by Erdzhan (Shaban, chairman of the board of directors) and I also received threats from chief executive Marin Marinov in the tunnel," Genov told reporters outside the Vasil Levski national stadium.

"I don't want to reveal more details. I and the other referees explained everything to police but I also received (a text message) with death threats after the incident.

"I have no regrets about my decision. It was definitely a penalty," added Genov, who was given permission to address the media in the early hours of Sunday morning by Bulgarian Football Union refereeing commission chief Kostadin Kostadinov.

Lokomotiv are fourth in the standings on 46 points, two ahead of Cherno More with three rounds remaining.

This season's Bulgarian championship has been marred by widespread accusations of illegal betting, match-fixing and the manipulation of officials.

The Bulgarian Football Union and Cherno More were not immediately available for comment.