Ex-Bulgaria midfielder Lechkov handed jail term

Former Bulgaria midfielder Yordan Lechkov was sentenced to two years in jail on Monday for official misconduct in his role as mayor of Sliven, the court in the southern town of Stara Zagora said.

The court found Lechkov guilty for signing an unprofitable water and sewerage deal and pressuring a tax official.

The 45-year-old, who was a key figure in the Bulgarian team that reached the 1994 World Cup semi-finals, retired in 1998 and was elected mayor of Sliven, his native town, in 2003. He was re-elected in 2007 and was unsuccessful in seeking a third term in 2011.

He was not immediately available for comment.

Lechkov, who is the Bulgarian Football Union's vice-president, is widely remembered for heading the winner against Germany in the quarter-finals of the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

Lechkov, who played for CSKA Sofia, SV Hamburg, Olympique Marseille and Besiktas, can appeal against the ruling within 15 days.