Football in Bulgaria
Football (soccer) (Bulgarian: футбол, futbol) is the most popular sport in Bulgaria. It was introduced in 1893–1894 by Swiss gymnastics teachers invited to the country. A football (initially called ритнитоп, ritnitop, "kickball") match was first played in Varna's High School for Boys in 1894, where it was introduced by Georges de Regibus, and the game was brought to Sofia by Charles Champaud the following year. The rules of the game were published in Bulgarian by Swiss teachers in the Uchilishten pregled magazine in 1897, and football continued to gain popularity in the early 20th century. Among the founders of the Turkish team Galatasaray S.K. in 1905 was the Bulgarian Lycée de Galatasaray student Blagoy Balakchiev, and the first Bulgarian club, Futbol Klub, was established in Sofia in 1909 on the initiative of Sava Kirov. PFC Botev Plovdiv was founded in 1912, PFC Slavia Sofia in 1913, and PFC Levski Sofia in 1914. The Bulgaria national football team debuted on 21 May 1924 in a 1924 Summer Olympics qualifier, losing 0–6 to Austria in Vienna. What is today PFC CSKA Sofia was established on 5 May 1948. In the 1950s and 1960s Bulgarian football achieved its biggest Olympic success, being third in the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne and second in the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, also finishing fifth in Euro 1968. In 1962, Bulgaria first qualified for a FIFA World Cup tournament, in total of seven participations to date. In the 1986 FIFA World Cup, Bulgaria did reach the round of 16. Then, in the 1994 FIFA World Cup, came Bulgaria's biggest World Cup success, the fourth place, the elimination of reigning world champions Germany and Hristo Stoichkov's top goalscorer prize.
Bulgarian football competitions
- Top division: Bulgarian A Professional Football Group - 14 teams
- Second division: Bulgarian B Professional Football Group - 14 teams
- Third division: Bulgarian V Amateur Football Group - 4 groups with 12-18 teams each
- Fourth division: Bulgarian A Regional Football Group - divided by region
- Fifth division: Bulgarian B Regional Football Group - divided by region
Crime and corruption
In the ten years between 2003 and 2013, fifteen club bosses of the Bulgarian top league were murdered. A US diplomatic cable of 2010 published by WikiLeaks claimed that since the end of Communism "allegations of illegal gambling, match fixing, money laundering, and tax evasion" abound in Bulgarian football, which has become a "symbol of organized crime's corrupt influence on important institutions."
- List of football clubs in Bulgaria
- List of football stadiums in Bulgaria
- Bulgaria national football team
- Bulgaria national under-21 football team
- Bulgaria national under-19 football team
- Bulgarian Football Union
- Bulgarian Footballer of the Year
- Bulgarian Professional Football League
- "Bulgaria: Can Soccer Success Mean Business? - Baltimore Sun". Articles.baltimoresun.com. 1994-07-31. Retrieved 2014-03-10.
- "WORLD CUP '94; Bulgaria, a Small Foot in Soccer, Steps Closer to Glass Slipper - New York Times". Germany; Bulgaria: Nytimes.com. 1994-07-11. Retrieved 2014-03-10.
- "BBC SPORT | Football | Euro 2004 | Bulgaria | The alternative guide to Bulgaria". BBC News. 2004-05-21. Retrieved 2014-03-10.
- "WikiLeaks: Bulgarian Soccer Symbol of Organized Crime, Corruption" The Sofia News Agency, 3 January 2011
- "Bulgarian football's 'mafia links' exposed in cables" Agence France-Presse, 3 January 2011
- "Welcome to the beautiful game". The Economist. July 13, 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
- Пайташев, Румен (2001). "Футболът в България". Световна футболна енциклопедия. София: КК Труд. pp. 10–11. ISBN 954-528-201-0.