SOFIA: Three players, including highly promising midfielder Steven Petkov from champions Ludogorets, have been suspended in Bulgaria over allegations of match-fixing.

A statement from the Bulgarian federation said they concerned an investigation over attempts to manipulate matches at last month’s UEFA European Under-19 Championship in Hungary.

Lokomotiv Sofia goalkeeper Daniel Gyaurov, who was held for 24 hours after he was arrested following a joint operation involving the interior ministry and the BFU last week, and his former team mate Grigor Grigorov have also been suspended.

Gyaurov has denied any wrongdoing after being released from custody on Saturday.

Bulgaria’s Under-19 team lost their three games and finished bottom of Group B without scoring a goal at Euro 2014.

Ludogorets, who won the domestic league title three years in a row, reacted by sacking 19-year-old Petkov with immediate effect. Chief executive Angel Petrichev said: “In this situation, there’s no way Steven Petkov to be our player.”

Petkov had been dropped from the youth squad shortly before the tournament.

In Spain the league is investigating a ‘phantom’ match between Spanish side Ponferradina and Portuguese club Freamunde which never took place.

The friendly between the two lower league teams was supposed to have been played on Monday morning even though Freamunde had played a Portuguese cup tie the previous evening.

Federbet, a tracking system, detected unusual betting patterns and reported it to the Spanish league. Officials contacted Ponferradina officials who confirmed that the supposed match never took place.

The LFP said: “It was a fraudulent manipulation of those who placed bets and the sports betting firms.”