Football fans are calling for harsh penalties for a host of players, one of whom is thought to be an ex-international, who attacked a referee during a semi-pro game in the Bulgarian fourth tier, causing the match to be abandoned.
Incredible footage has emerged from the lower leagues of Bulgarian football showing several angry players remonstrating with the match official after he showed a yellow card in a hotly-contested game.
One of the players, thought to be ex-Bulgaria international Kaloyan Karadzhinov, then appears to strike the referee in the face before he and some of his teammates began chasing him off the pitch, leading to the match being abandoned.
A player even appeared to slap the referee across the face.
An unbelievable moment in the Bulgarian fourth tier 😳A match was abandoned after the referee was chased from the pitch by players and officials pic.twitter.com/6n4hZSzG2j
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) March 17, 2021
Karadzhinov, now 44, won two caps for the Bulgaria national team between 2005 and 2006 during his time with Lokomotiv Sofia.
The fourth division of Bulgarian football is a semi-professional league, with teams often comprised of ex-pros such as Karadzhinov – just the top two divisions of the country’s football pyramid are fully professional.
As soon as he abandoned the game, the referee was forced to take further evasive action as coaches and trainers also became involved in the ruckus.
Referee looks younger and fitter than professional players 😭
— RasheedLFC (@rasheedlfc) March 17, 2021
The guy who hits the referee is called Kaloyan Karadzhinov he is former Bulgarian National team player .He retired from professional football a few years ago.
— Kiril Grigorov (@grigorov_kiril) March 17, 2021
One person even furiously kicked a ball at the match official before he was forced to sprint away and take cover in a nearby carpark.
“Ban them. No place for it,” wrote one fan in response to the shocking footage, while another joked that the referee looked faster and fitter than the players – something which must have come in hand while he was making his getaway.