Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said on October 10 that it had started proceedings to strip Hristo Stoichkov of his status as Bulgaria’s honorary consul in Spain for the autonomous regions of Catalonia and Aragon.
Stoichkov, a football star for the Bulgarian national team and FC Barcelona, where he won five Spanish league titles and the Champions League in the 1990s, was appointed honorary consul in July 2011.
He has maintained close ties to Catalonia and has spoken in favour of the region’s independence from Spain, labelling the handling of the recent independence referendum by the government in Madrid as a “total disgrace.”
Stoichkov also had harsh words for Spanish deputy prime minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, describing her and her family as supporters of the late Spanish military dictator Francisco Franco.
In a statement, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry said that Stoichkov would find it difficult to carry on as honorary consul in the future, as his recent statements would “complicate communications” with Spanish authorities.
The ministry also noted that Stoichkov’s activities as honorary consul were complicated in recent years by the fact that he is residing mostly in the US, where he is a pundit for Spanish-language broadcaster Univisión Deportes.
(Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Photo: mfa.bg)