CSKA Sofia threatened with league expulsion

SOFIA, Dec 16 (Reuters) - CSKA Sofia face expulsion from the Bulgarian championship if they fail to pay their debts before mid-February, the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) said on Thursday.

The 31-times Bulgarian champions owe transfer sums, estimated by local media to be around 2 million levs ($1.35 million), to several clubs, including top-flight rivals Sliven, Pirin Blagoevgrad, Chernomorets and Minyor Pernik.

"There'll be no more compromises for CSKA," BFU president Borislav Mihaylov told a news conference. "They won't be allowed to participate in the championship if they don't pay back before February 14."

The Bulgarian championship resumes on the last weekend of February after a winter break of nearly three months.

"We provide them with good players and they don't pay us," said Sliven president Yordan Lechkov, adding that CSKA owe his club more than 600,000 levs. "We must be fools to allow this to continue."

CSKA, who are fifth in the standings after the first half of the season, accused the BFU of favouring some clubs.

"We also have claims and we'll have to wait for the court decision," said CSKA president Dimitar Borisov. "The BFU must protect the interest of all clubs..."

In February, Botev Plovdiv were expelled from the first division for non-payment of debts and registering insufficient players.

Botev, twice Bulgarian champions, failed to pay the salaries of their players for several months as well as taxes and fines imposed by the football authorities.