- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 16, 2015

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) - Litex Lovech was kicked out of the Bulgarian soccer league on Wednesday, four days after its players walked off the field in protest over a referee’s decision during a match against Levski Sofia.

Litex was down to 10 men when a second player was sent off and Levski was awarded a penalty, prompting the management to order its players off the field.

The Bulgarian Football Union kicked the club out of the top division and fined it 20,000 leva ($11,000).

“It was the only possible decision according to the union’s disciplinary rules,” said Yuri Kuchev, the head of the union’s disciplinary committee.

Litex, which has won four league titles and four domestic cups since 1998, said it will appeal the decision.

Earlier this year, the BFU revoked the licenses of CSKA Sofia and Lokomotiv Sofia because of outstanding debts and relegated them to lower divisions.

Because of Saturday’s incident, the owner of league leader Ludogorets threatened to leave the league, claiming referees are favoring Levski.

“We will probably quit the championship if such precedents in favor of Levski continue,” Ludogorets owner Kiril Domuschiev said. “It seems that this is the way they want to win the title.”

Ludogorets leads the standings with 38 points from 20 matches. Levski, which has 35 points from 19 matches, is second but is expected to be awarded a 3-0 win against Litex.

It is not clear if Litex, which was fourth with 33 points, will continue in the Bulgarian Cup, where it has reached the semifinals.

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