Nearly 1,600 police officers will take care of public order before, during and after the football match between Bulgaria and Hungary from the European qualifiers in Sofia, the SDVR announced at a joint briefing with representatives from the Bulgarian Football Union.
“At the moment, around 1,600 police officers are planned for the entire security of the football match, but if necessary, additional such forces can be brought in from the outskirts of Sofia,” said chief inspector Ivan Georgiev from the Security and Defense Department.
He clarified that the necessary organization will be created to protect public order.
Inspector Ivan Georgiev, SDVR, Sn. BGNES
“There are spontaneous events that are organized through social networks. Shortly before the start of the briefing, we received a notification, which was submitted to the capital municipality, for holding a protest event. The place is on “Gurko” street in the section between “Hristo” and Evlogi Georgievi ” and “Vasil Levski” boulevard. It is very possible to create an organization of road traffic. In order to ensure the normal conduct of the football match, a guarded area will be designated around the stadium. It will have police tapes and railings above them as well police officers will be ordered,” said Georgiev.
The main goal is not to spoil the conduct of the fight, the organization of which caused a number of controversies in the last week.
Georgiev called on the citizens to hold a peaceful protest, warning that the strictness of the law will be applied against those who carry out an anti-social demonstration.
He added that they have no commitment to the security of the football match, as three security companies will take care of the security of the stadium, but if necessary, the police will assist.
Georgiev said that later on Wednesday they will hold a working meeting with one of the organizers of the protest. He is a representative of one of the capital’s clubs.
Already 10 days ago, Mediapool informed you that several fans of different ages and club affiliations, who have been excited about football in Bulgaria since the 90s, are behind the organization of the protest.
“It’s not our fault”
The Bulgarian Football Union again did not take responsibility for the chaos surrounding the holding of the football match.
On November 4, the Bulgarian Football Union made an unprecedented change for the national team’s final hosting of the 2024 European Championship qualifiers.
Without penalty and completely voluntarily, the match was moved from Sofia to Plovdiv, without an audience. On Monday, however, the Municipality of Plovdiv announced that they could not provide the facility to the BFS.
According to the program, the match was supposed to take place in Sofia, where fans from all over the country would protest against the 18-year rule of Borislav Mihailov and his cronies. In the end, on Tuesday, the match was officially returned to Sofia, but in front of empty stands, and the news was first reported by the Hungarians and only hours later confirmed by the BFS.
All the while, the BFS refused to take responsibility for the chaos. They justified themselves with an official letter from UEFA recommending that the match be moved to the “Hristo Botev” stadium in Plovdiv behind closed doors. After the Municipality of Plovdiv refused to provide the “College”, the BFS sharply criticized them, but again did not take responsibility for not warning them in time, so that the planned repair works could be postponed.
The justifications were repeated at the briefing on Tuesday by the deputy executive director of the BFS, Hristo Zapryanov.
“If there is a stain on Bulgarian football, all this change happened because of UEFA’s recommendations. The BFS cannot feel guilty”said Zapryanov, quoted by dsport.
After yesterday’s meeting with the Minister of Sports Dimitar Iliev, the executive director of the BFS Borislav Popov repeated the same thesis, noting that the decision is UEFA’s, not the BFS.
The executive director of the BFS Borislav Popov (in the middle) and his deputy Hristo Zapryanov (on the right) during the briefing of the BFS and SDVR, Sn. BGNES
“I’m sorry that the match will be played without an audience. The magic of football is in the connection between the fans and the game. Someone has to explain why it has come to this. We will hold the guilty accountable. We cannot stop people from protesting. We separate ourselves from any form of insults and racist manifestations, but whoever wants to protest clearly has reason to do so”said Minister Iliev, quoted by Sportal.bg
The Minister of Youth and Sports Dimitar Iliev, Sn. BGNES
On Tuesday, BFS vice-president Yordan Lechkov also said on bTV that the decision is UEFA’s, and although the national team has no results, the federation exists in a perfect way. He blamed the state for not caring enough about football and not having quality stadiums. Lechkov also said that football is only a game and he does not see what we have exposed ourselves to. He will resign when he sees the stadium project.
“I am part of the BFS because I pay for football every God’s day. We cannot compare with Hungary, there the prime minister is different, he built stadiums. We continue to function as a federation. We are a member of UEFA. It organizes the matches from the qualifiers for the European Championship. UEFA has received a signal from SDVR and is taking the decision to play without an audience.”
However, the Hungarian Football Federation said last week that the decision was up to the BFS, who requested the change from UEFA.
The leader of GERB, Boyko Borisov, defined the events as shameful and added that it is unacceptable to deprive the public of the opportunity to visit the stadium. He also highlighted his friendship with Viktor Orbán and stated that Hungarians are joking that in Bulgaria, after the end of Borisov’s government’s term, not even a vacation can be organized.
Borisov has already succeeded in removing Mikhailov from power once. This happened in 2019 when the lions lost disastrous with 0:6 against England in Sofia. In the evening though will be remembered for the many racist chants and insults to the English national team and the resulting wide international response.
The events led to the urgent intervention of the then Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. He announced that he was withdrawing his trust from Mihailov, and for greater efficiency, an emergency action was taken by the GDBOP and the special prosecutor’s office at the football headquarters in Boyana. Under this pressure, Borislav Mihailov was forced to resign.
However, this turned out to be temporary. To everyone’s surprise, he withdrew his resignation in April 2021, when Borisov was no longer in power. In October of the same year, Mihailov won the questionably convened extraordinary Congress of the BFS and thus secured power for the next 4 years.
The start of the protest will be at 17:00 on Thursday, and there may be protests throughout the country. The call of the organizers is for people who cannot protest in Sofia to do so in front of the club stadium in their city or in front of the BFS zonal council. There are zonal councils in Plovdiv, Veliko Tarnovo and Varna.
CSKA fans have officially announced they will attend the protest, starting to gather at 4pm on Thursday at the Bulgarian Army Stadium.
Few Hungarian fans will also support the Bulgarian supporters in their cause. In a post on Facebook, they sharply criticized the actions of the BFS, after yesterday the federation also defined the actions of the BFS as unprecedented and unsportsmanlike.