Levski Sofia may have become victims of one of the most audacious sporting cons in recent memory, according to reports coming out of Bulgaria.
Whilst a 2-0 derby defeat to Levski on Sunday was not completely unexpected, the circumstances surrounding the game suggest that the match was in fact fixed in an unorthodox manner.
Levski were missing four key players for the encounter: national team midfielder Zhivko Milanov, Macedonia international Darko Tasevski, Morocco international Youssef Rabeh and Brazilian forward Ze Soares, who, on the day were due to have medicals at Russian champions Rubin Kazan, after Levski accepted a €5million bid for the quartet.
On the 18th, the Levski website even acknowledged the imminent departure of the players, and on the 19th the coach Ratko Dostanic confirmed they would not be in the squad for the derby.
Levski had sent the players and a director to Moscow and were received by a ‘representative’ of Rubin. Suspicions were raised when a telephone number given to them was not the number of any official Rubin director. Once contact was made with the Russiuan club, Rubin assured Levski that they had been misinformed as they had not bid for the players.
Reports indicate that Levski may well have been the victims of a betting scam after a number of betting offices are reported to have accepted ‘suspiciously huge’ bets on a CSKA victory.
Levski have asked for Interpol and the Bulgarian FA’s assistance in finding the culprits.