UEFA investigates ref over betting patterns

BERNE - Bulgarian referee Anton Genov is being investigated by UEFA after irregular betting patterns emerged over an international friendly in which he awarded four penalties.

"Following obvious irregular betting patterns on the Macedonia v Canada (friendly) on November 14, and after interviewing the referee in question, UEFA has decided not to appoint Anton Genov to any European matches until further notice while more investigations are carried out," European soccer's governing body said in a statement on Wednesday.

The penalties, two to each side, were all awarded in the second half of Macedonia's 3-0 victory.

Goran Pandev converted both penalties for Macedonia while Canada missed theirs, Iain Hume sending the first effort wide and Simeon Jackson having the second saved.

On Monday, the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) dismissed its refereeing commission for the second time in 15 months, citing an increasing number of mistakes from officials.

Several clubs have criticised refereeing this season and champions Levski Sofia last month called for the resignation of BFU president Borislav Mihaylov and referees' chief Dimo Momirov.

German police also said last month they had dismantled a match-fixing ring with more than 200 suspected members operating in nine European leagues.

Police in Germany, Britain, Austria and Switzerland cracked down on the ring, staging simultaneous raids that resulted in 15 arrests in Germany and two in Switzerland.

The ring was reported to have tried to fix around 200 matches across the continent.

On Friday, UEFA president Michel Platini described match-fixing as the biggest scourge facing the sport.