Mihaylov Turns Down Stoichkov’s Bulgarian TV Challenge
Mihaylov, who is also a UEFA Executive Committee member, declined former team mate Stoichkov’s request, saying it was not right for a president to respond to a coach.
“I will not go into any discussions and debates with him,” the BFU chief told the national channel BTV.
The challenge came after Stoichkov had made several complaints to the country’s soccer authorities recently, saying they were to blame for the poor quality of the league, poor refereeing, lack of spectators and match-fixing.
“I’ve waited too long but I can’t stand it anymore,” an angry Stoichkov told local channel TV7. “Something has to be done.
“There’s no place for these people in Bulgarian football and for the one who leads them. I’m calling him (Mihaylov) to a public debate and I want a lie detector to be used.”
Media reports of widespread match-fixing and corruption have been rife in Bulgaria for years but no one has been brought to trial and the European Commission has criticised the authorities for doing little to fight the problem.
Last month Prime Minister Boiko Borisov blamed soccer authorities for not taking action to make the sport attractive again and bring fans back to the grounds.
“I want to ask him three simple questions and I’m ready to answer any questions he wants to ask me,” said former European Footballer of the Year Stoichkov. “I want it live on TV so anyone can see it.
“I’ll ask him if he tried to fix matches. I’ll ask him if he’s been involved in irregular betting concerning the Bulgarian championship and did he or the refereeing commission’s chief put referees under pressure before certain matches?”.
In 2011, Bulgarian authorities investigated claims of possible match-fixing in eight matches with leading teams Litex, Levski Sofia and CSKA Sofia among those involved in games under suspicion.
Last week Stoichkov was fined $3,300 for using abusive language towards referees’ chief Kostadin Kostadinov after Litex’s 2-0 league win over Lokomotiv Sofia.
Stoichkov and former keeper Mihaylov, who was capped 102 times, won the hearts of the nation for helping Bulgaria reach the 1994 World Cup semi-finals.
However Stoichkov, joint top scorer in the tournament with six goals, blamed the keeper for leaving the team in a difficult position.
“We were 4-0 down at halftime in the third-place match against Sweden and he just threw the gloves and ran away,” said former Barcelona player Stoichkov.
‘The Dagger’, as the ex-striker is known in Bulgaria, was known in his playing days for his aggressive manner on the field and frequent arguments with referees and players.
(Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; editing by Dave Thompson and Tony Jimenez)