May 15, 2020 / 4:35 PM / 16 days ago

Soccer-Bulgaria scraps second tier season, CSKA 1948 promoted to top flight

SOFIA, May 15 (Reuters) - Bulgaria has cancelled the rest of its second division season and declared leaders CSKA 1948, who secured their maiden top flight promotion, as champions, the Balkan country’s football union (BFU) said on Friday.

CSKA 1948 were leading city rivals Septemvri by three points, and had also played one match more, when the championship was suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak in mid-March. There were 12 rounds of matches left to play.

А promotion playoff between Septemvri and third-placed Montana will be played and the winner will join CSKA 1948 in the top division, the BFU said, defending its decision to end the season by citing the financial difficulties faced by many clubs.

“Such a decision is insane, it just leaves a man speechless,” Septemvri owner Rumen Chandurov said.

He added that he was strongly considering legal action against the BFU. “I’ll chase them to the very end.”

CSKA 1948 were founded in 2016 following a dispute between some members of Bulgaria’s most successful club, CSKA Sofia, who were relegated to the third tier after the 2014-15 season due to their debts.

After a prolonged legal saga, which included a secret meeting between CSKA Sofia and Prime Minister Boyko Borisov as well as a merger with four-times champions Litex Lovech, the BFU included the 31-times champions CSKA Sofia into an enlarged top flight in 2016.

But some fans of the original club decided to found a new club.

Bulgaria’s top division will resume after its COVID-19 stoppage on June 5 without spectators in a shortened format, which would allow the league season to be completed within a month. (Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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