UEFA sets deadline for debt-ridden CSKA Sofia

UEFA sets deadline for debt-ridden CSKA Sofia

SOFIA - Reuters
UEFA sets deadline for debt-ridden CSKA Sofia

CSKA Sofia, the most successful club in Bulgarian football, is far from its glory days and facing a financial crisis. AP Photo

Bulgarian club CSKA Sofia has been given until the end of September to pay off its debts or face a three-year European ban, imposed by UEFA, the domestic football federation (BFU) said yesterday.

“UEFA’s Control Panel gave CSKA Sofia a deadline of Sept. 30, 2012, to clear their liabilities,” the BFU said in a statement after receiving a letter from the European football’s governing body.

“Thereafter, CSKA will not be able to protect their licence for the European club competitions for the next three years.”

CSKA was supervised by UEFA in recent months and its representatives conducted an audit of the club last week.

Earlier this month, BFU’s president Borislav Mihaylov, who is also a UEFA Executive Committee member, warned CSKA of being in danger of being excluded from European competitions for the second time in four years because of debts.

The Reds far from their glory days

The Reds, who are Bulgaria’s most successful club with 31 league titles, were barred from the Champions League in 2008-09 after failing to meet the licensing criteria.

CSKA owes transfer sums to clubs and players as well as money to the state and creditors, estimated by local media to be almost 80 million levs ($53.02 million).

CSKA was not immediately available to comment but a source close to the club told Reuters “it’ll be extremely difficult for CSKA to pay off their debts in such a short period.”

In July, CSKA was handed a transfer ban until Aug. 31 by the BFU over the signing of the Madagascar international Anicet from Chernomorets Burgas.

CSKA reached semifinals in Europe three times between 1967 and 1989 but has struggled to revive its success in recent years and have not won the domestic title since 2008.

CSKA is eighth in the Bulgarian league standings with eight points from six games, 10 points behind bitter city rivals Levski and champions Ludogorets.