Levski Sofia’s French midfielder Mehdi Bourabia condemned the violent behaviour of the Bulgarian club’s fans, who attacked players and forced some of them to take off their team shirts after the 3-0 league defeat by city rivals CSKA on Sunday.
The ugly scenes occurred on the running track behind one of the goals at the Vasil Levski national stadium as Levski players approached a stand to salute fans after the loss in the Eternal Derby, as matches between the two most popular clubs in the Balkan country are known.
Bourabia resisted the hostile fans and refused to take off his shirt.
Some players, however, were forced to undress while Aleksandar Aleksandrov narrowly escaped being attacked by a supporter who rushed on to the track with a stick. A fan grabbed captain Veselin Minev by the neck and brutally pushed him.
“What happened after the match is unforgivable, the violence (has) no place in the stadium and in football!” 25-year-old Bourabia, who joined 25-times Bulgarian champions Levski last year, wrote in a Facebook post.
“Even through hard times the integrity of players can’t be infringed.”
The other Levski players, coaches and club’s board members refused to comment on the incidents.
Levski have a history of fan violence and racism at their matches and have been fined by the Bulgarian Football Union and European soccer’s governing body UEFA on several occasions over the past few years.
In 2013 Levski fans unhappy at the appointment of coach Ivaylo Petev, who is now at the helm of Croatia’s Dinamo Zagreb, interrupted a news conference and made him take off the club’s shirt before showing him the exit.