From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from CSKA Sofia)
Jump to: navigation, search
For the parent multisport club, see CSKA Sofia (sports club).
CSKA Sofia
CSKA Sofia logo.svg
Full name Професионален футболен клуб ЦСКА - София
(Professional Football Club CSKA Sofia)
Nickname(s) The Reds (Червените)
The Armymen (Армейците)
Founded 5 May 1948; 66 years ago (1948-05-05)
Ground Bulgarian Army Stadium, Sofia
Ground Capacity 22,995 (18,495 seats)[1][2]
Owner Lira Investments S.A.
President Aleksandar Tomov
Manager Galin Ivanov
League A Group
2013–14 A Group, 2nd
Website Club home page
Current season

PFC CSKA Sofia (Bulgarian: ПФК ЦСКА София), commonly known as CSKA or CSKA Sofia (internationally) is a Bulgarian association football club based in Sofia, competing in the A Football Group, the top division of the Bulgarian football league system. CSKA is abbreviation for Central Sports Club of the Army (Bulgarian: Централен Спортен Клуб на Армията). The club was officially founded in 1948, even though its roots date back to an army officers' club founded in 1923. At present, however, the club is privately owned and does not have any direct ties to the Bulgarian Army.

CSKA is the most successful club with domestic titles to years in existence ratio of 2.1. Since the reorganization and the merger of several Sofia-based clubs to form CSKA in 1948, the club has won 31 domestic titles and 19 national cups.[3][4] Internationally, CSKA has reached two European Cup semi-finals, four European Cup quarter-finals, and one Cup Winners' Cup semi-final, also making it the best performing Bulgarian club in the European club competitions.[5]

The club's home colours are red and white. CSKA's home ground is the Bulgarian Army Stadium in Sofia with capacity of 22,995 seats. The club's biggest rivals are Levski Sofia, and matches between the two sides were commonly referred to as The Eternal Derby in Bulgaria.



AS-23 in the mid-1930s
The unifying protocol of Chavdar (1944)

In October 1923, football clubs Athletic Sofia and Slava Sofia merged to form AS-23, short for Officer's Sports Club Athletic Slava 1923, under the patronage of the Ministry of War, which provided the equipment. In 1931, AS-23 won their first Bulgarian championship and The Tsar's Cup, followed by another Tsar's Cup in 1941. The club's stadium (completed in 1938) was named Athletic Park and was on the same spot where the Bulgarian Army Stadium now resides.

On 9 November 1944, with the support of Mihail Mihaylov, an accountant at the Ministry of War and a patron of Shipka Sofia, a unifying agreement was signed, merging AS-23, Shipka, and Spartak (Poduene) to form Chavdar Sofia. Gen. Vladimir Stoychev from AS-23, who at the time was fighting on the front in World War II, was appointed (by telegram) as the new club's chairman. Lawyer Ivan Bashev, a future Bulgarian foreign minister, was appointed club secretary and the person in charge of football.[6]

Chavdar played at Athletic Park, which was soon after renamed Chavdar Stadium. The newly formed club remained in the top flight only three seasons, however, and in 1947 it was relegated to second division.


With the help of Mihail Mihaylov again, in February 1948 Chavdar became the departmental club of the Central House of the Troops ("Centralnia Dom na Voiskata") and took on the name of CDV. Looking for ways to halt the club's decline, CDV's administrators sought to merge it with another club. In May 1948, an agreement was reached between CDV and Septemvri Sofia (who had already earned a place in the play-offs) for uniting the clubs under the name "Septemvri pri CDV" (Septemvri at CDV). The contract was signed on 5 May 1948, which is officially considered the club's date of foundation.

The club's first official game took place on 19 May 1948, against Slavia Sofia at Yunak Stadium, ending in a 1-1 draw. Septemvri pri CDV eliminated Aprilov (Gabrovo) and Spartak Varna on its way to the final, where it faced Levski Sofia, losing 1-2 in the first leg. The decisive second match took place on 9 September 1948. Septemvri pri CDV consisted of: Stefan Gerenski, Borislav Futekov, Manol Manolov, Dimitar Cvetkov, Nikola Aleksiev, Nako Chakmakov (captain), Dimitar Milanov, Stoyne Minev, Stefan Bozhkov, Nikola Bozhilov, and Kiril Bogdanov. The score was 3-3 on aggregate, as Septemvri pri CDV led 2-1 near the end of regulation time, when a last-minute goal by Nako Chakmakov gave the club its first title ever.

In 1950, the definition of "Narodna" (Peoples) was added to the name of the Central House of the Troops, changing it to Central House of the People's Troops (Centralen Dom na Narodnata Voiska), or C.D.N.V. for short, effectively changing the club's name as well. The following two years, C.D.N.V. won two titles in a row. In 1951, the Army club clinched their first double. In 1953, the club was renamed by the authorities again, this time to "Otbor na Sofiyskiya Garnizon" (Team of the Sofia Garrison), and most of the key players were illegally transferred out. The title was lost undeservedly.

The following year, the club was renamed to CDNA (Central House of the People's Army), and the years between 1954 and 1962 marked one of the most successful periods for The Reds, who won 9 consecutive titles—an unprecedented achievement in Bulgarian football to this day—and, in 1956, took part in the second installment of the newly created European Cup competition.[7]


In 1962, CDNA was united with DSO Cherveno Zname to form CSKA Cherveno Zname (CSKA Red Flag). The Central House of the People's Troops ceased its affiliation with the club, which was taken over by the Ministry of People's Defense. CSKA finished third after Spartak Plovdiv and Botev Plovdiv in the 1962–63 season. The following season, CSKA had its worst performance in the Bulgarian championship to date, finishing 11th in the final table—only three points from relegation. This led to the sacking of legendary coach Krum Milev after 16 years. CSKA did not recapture the title until 1966. During the 1966–67 season, however, CSKA made its first major international achievement in reaching the semi finals of the European Cup for the first time, where it faced Italian grand Inter Milano. After two hard-fought 1-1 draws, a third decisive match was played, which CSKA lost 0-1.[8]

The next two seasons were unmemorable for The Army Men, as they finished in 5th and 2nd place consecutively. CSKA was again joined with Septemvri Sofia in 1968, and the club took the name CSKA Septemvriysko Zname (CSKA September Flag). The club clinched the title in 1969 with the help of the recent acquisition of Petar Zhekov, who would go on to become the top Bulgarian goalscorer of all time - a record he still holds today.


CSKA Sofia in 1973

The 1970s are widely considered the period when CSKA made its name on the European stage. The club began the decade modestly, claiming second place domestically and reaching the Round of 16 in 1970–71 European Cup Winners' Cup, where they fell to English side Chelsea 0-2 on aggregate.[9] But from 1971 to 1973, CSKA won three consecutive titles and delivered one of the biggest surprises in European football when it eliminated reigning three-time European champion AFC Ajax - considered the finest team of all-time - 2-1 on aggregate in the 1973–74 European Cup.[10] They faced German champion Bayern Munich next in the quarter-finals. After losing 1-4 in the first leg in Munich, CSKA bowed out of the competition following a 2-1 win at home.[11] Between 1975 and 1979, the club won two more domestic titles.


Season 1980–81 was again a memorable one for CSKA Sofia, winning the Bulgarian title once more and twice beating European champion Nottingham Forest, both times with 1-0, before being stopped by the future European Champion Liverpool with a 6-1 on aggregate in the quarter-finals of the European Cup.[12][13] The very next season, CSKA reached their second European Cup semi final in a row, eliminating Spanish champions Real Sociedad, Glentoran F.C., and reigning European Champion Liverpool after losing 0-1 in England and winning 2-0 at home with two goals by Stoycho Mladenov. In the semi-final, the Reds again faced Bayern Munich. The first leg was held in Sofia and started with a full dominance over Bayern, as by the 16th minute CSKA were leading 3-0 in front of 85,000 jubilant spectators who saw the European final in their dreams. But the final result was 4-3 for CSKA. In Munich, the club suffered a 4-0 defeat, ending what is still the deepest run by a Bulgarian side in the European Cup or Champions League.[14] In the domestic league, CSKA did not let go of the title until the 1984–85 season, where they finished second behind archrival Levski, but still managed to reach the Bulgarian Cup final.

The 1985 disbandment[edit]

On 18 June 1985, the final for the Bulgarian Cup was held at the Vasil Levski National Stadium between CSKA and Levski. The match was marked by many questionable referee decisions and saw several brutal fights, including an assault on a referee by some of Levski's players. CSKA won the game 2-1 even though they had missed a penalty when the score was 2-0. By decree of the Central Committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party, both teams were disbanded and refounded under new management. CSKA was renamed Sredets and Levski was renamed Vitosha. Several players were banned from participating in official games for varying periods of time, including Hristo Stoichkov and Kostadin Yanchev from CSKA. One year later, the committee's decision was reversed and the players were reinstated.

As Sredets, the club finished in fourth place in 1985–86. In 1987, the club was renamed CFKA Sredets (Central Football Club of the Army Sredets), and the following three years were marked by a formidable performance, even as Septemvri Sofia ended their 20-year partnership with CFKA in 1988 and became an independent club again. Coached by Dimitar Penev, CFKA won the title in 1987 and 1989 and reached the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup semi finals against FC Barcelona in 1989. In reaching this stage, CFKA had eliminated Roda JC after penalty kicks following a 2-1 win at home and a 1-2 loss away. Barcelona, coached by former Dutch international Johan Cruijff, won both matches (4-2 in Spain and 2-1 in Bulgaria) and CFKA were eliminated, but Cruijff did notice the talent of Hristo Stoichkov and decided to draw him to Barcelona the following year, effectively launching Stoichkov's international career.


The decade, immediately following the fall of communism, brought turbulent changes to Bulgarian football, and the club was not spared. The CSKA was restored starting with the 1989–90 season and they won the title again. In March 1991, former footballer and administrator Valentin Mihov was chosen as president of CSKA. The club bought some of the most talented Bulgarian players, including Yordan Letchkov, Ivaylo Andonov, and Stoycho Stoilov, among others. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defense concluded their affiliation with the club. Despite the uncertainty and the numerous problems that followed, CSKA won the title again in 1992. They were later eliminated in the first round of the Champions League by Austria Vienna after losing 1-3 in Vienna and winning 3-2 in Sofia.

In the meantime, Valentin Mihov was appointed president of the Bulgarian Football Union and Petar Kalpakchiev was chosen to replace him at the helm of CSKA. Kalpakchiev, however, wrangled with the club's administration over their decisions to replace several coaches, one of which was Gjoko Hadžievski, considered to be leading the club in the right direction, and eventually he was fired. The owner of the Multigroup conglomerate, Iliya Pavlov, took over as president, but ultimately his sponsorship proved insufficient to overcome the club's ineffective management. Five coaches were changed in just one season, with Tsvetan Yonchev being coach for just one day. In Europe, CSKA nevertheless beat Juventus 3-2 in the first round of the 1994–95 UEFA Cup, but the result was annulled by UEFA because of the delayed player-indexing of forward Petar Mihtarski, and Juventus were awarded a 3-0 victory. In the second leg in Torino, severely disadvantaged, CSKA succumbed to a 5-1 defeat.

In the summer of 1995, CSKA made a strong selection and eventually the club included half of the youth national football team of Bulgaria. Plamen Markov was appointed coach, but after a disappointing first half of the season, he was replaced by Georgi Vasilev, who had previously won three Bulgarian titles (one with FC Etar Veliko Tarnovo and two with Levski Sofia). Vasilev managed to win a double with CSKA for the 1996–97 season, entering the second qualifying round of the Champions League against Steaua Bucharest. After a dramatic 3-3 in Romania, CSKA fell 0-2 at home. Vasilev was unexpectedly released from the club at the beginning of the second half of the 1997–98 season after a 3-0 win over PFC Spartak Pleven. Coach Petar Zehtinski took his place. That year, the club saw the return of Hristo Stoichkov, Emil Kostadinov and Trifon Ivanov, but the three of them challenged each other for the captain's band. Stoichkov played in only four matches and left CSKA right before the derby with Levski to play for a club in Saudi Arabia. After the end of the season, Trifon Ivanov also left the club. CSKA finished the season in third place.

In the summer of 1998, Dimitar Penev took the lead as coach for a second time. CSKA reached the second round of the UEFA Cup, and won the Bulgarian Cup, but disappointed in the domestic league, finishing in fifth place in 1999. That season, the young talents of Martin Petrov, Stilian Petrov, Dimitar Berbatov, and Vladimir Manchev started to play a bigger role in the team. There were problems with player-indexing due to some unpaid obligations to FC Neftochimik. In the domestic championship, CSKA had only 16 players registered for the 1999–00 season and some un-indexed players took part in official UEFA games. Consequently, at the shareholders meeting at the end of 1999, the club ownership was transferred to businessman Vasil Bozhkov, who became majority owner.


After the first two fixtures in the spring of 2000, Dimitar Penev was relieved as coach because of the consecutive losses and in his place was appointed Georgi Dimitrov – Jacky, who was later replaced by Spas Dzhevizov. After a 1-1 draw with Pirin at Bulgarian Army Stadium, Dzhevizov handed in his resignation and Alexander Stankov took his place. Even though at times CSKA had fallen as far as 9 points behind the leaders Levski, the club shortened the difference to only 2 points before the decisive match for the title at Georgi Asparuhov Stadium. CSKA dominated Levski for most of the match, as Dimitar Berbatov made several serious misses, but a last-minute goal from Georgi Ivanov secured the title for Levski. In the summer of 2000, Italian coach Enrico Catuzzi was employed as head coach, who did manage to revive the team. But even though The Army Men played attractive games under his leadership, Catuzzi handed over the coach position in the winter, citing family problems. Alexander Stankov was appointed as coach again, but was replaced by Catuzzi again after two losses from Litex for the cup and the championship. The Reds finished second, seven points behind Levski.

For the new 2001–02 season, coach was Asparuh Nikodimov. He was fired during the winter break as CSKA rested 2 points behind Levski and was replaced by another Italian, Luigi Simoni. Simoni failed to make CSKA champions as the club finished third and lost the Bulgarian Cup final to Levski. Simoni left at the end of the season. In the summer of 2002, Stoycho Mladenov was appointed as coach. With him, the team set a record with 13 consecutive wins in 13 matches in the Bulgarian Championship and CSKA became champions for the first time since 1997. However, Mladenov was fired the following season after losing to Galatasaray in the preliminary rounds of the 2003–04 UEFA Champions League and after giving a less than impressive performance in the first round of the UEFA Cup, where the club lost on penalty kicks to FC Torpedo Moscow. Immediately after, two of the new arrivals, Léo Lima and Rodrigo Sousa, bought for 3 million dollars the year before, left the club on the grounds that they had not received two monthly salaries. FIFA decided that they had the right to leave and that CSKA had to pay them and return the players to their former club of Vasco da Gama. Alexander Stankov was temporarily appointed as coach until the winter break, when Ferario Spasov officially took over the position. In the end of 2004, Spasov was replaced by Serbian coach Miodrag Ješić, despite the team's first place in the domestic championship. Despite problems with the selection, CSKA won their record thirtieth domestic title in 2005.

For the 2005–06 UEFA Champions League, after eliminating KF Tirana in the second preliminary round, CSKA were paired against reigning European champions Liverpool. The club lost 1-3 in the first match in Sofia, but surprisingly won the second leg by 1-0 at Anfield Road[15][16] For the UEFA Cup, the Reds eliminated Bayer Leverkusen (with Dimitar Berbatov in the team) with two 1-0 wins and entered the group stage, where they finished fifth with 3 points from 4 matches and were eliminated. At the winter break of the 2005–06 season, the team was first with 7 points ahead of Levski in the standings. During the spring, CSKA lost the 7-point advantage and finished second with 3 points behind Levski. Club president Vassil Bozhkov blamed Serbian coach Miodrag Ješić for the failure to capture the title and fired him, while some supporters blamed Bozhkov instead. Plamen Markov was appointed in Ješić's place. Bozhkov then announced that he would restrict the finances of the club and that during the upcoming season CSKA will not be aiming at the title. In December 2006, Bozhkov sold the club to Indian steel tycoon and owner of Kremikovtzi AD, Pramod Mittal, brother of ArcelorMittal's Lakshmi Mittal. Former Bulgarian politician Alexander Tomov became president of the club and assured the supporters that CSKA would, in fact, be aiming at both the championship and the cup. After two draws in the beginning of the spring half of 2006–07, CSKA found themselves 6 points behind Levski. As a result, coach Plamen Markov was replaced by Stoycho Mladenov, who returned to the club after three and a half years. CSKA finished second.

In the beginning of the 2007–08 season, CSKA bought players for more than 2 million euro. The team was unluckily eliminated from the UEFA cup in the first round by French side Toulouse FC after a 96th-minute goal from André-Pierre Gignac in the second leg for 1-1. CSKA was also eliminated from the Bulgarian Cup at the 1/16th finals by Lokomotiv Plovdiv. The match was engulfed in a scandal because of three CSKA players who at the time were on loan at Lokomotiv (Stoyko Sakaliev, Aleksandar Branekov, and Ivan Ivanov). The players had clauses in their contracts restricting them from playing matches against CSKA, but Lokomotiv's management used the players anyway. At the end of the season, The Army Men secured the title in advance, finishing 16 points ahead of second-placed rivals Levski without losing a game from 30 championship matches. On 5 May 2008, the club marked its 60th anniversary with big celebrations organized by the management. An alley of fame was built, comprising the names of the most successful current and former players of CSKA. On 24 May 2008, an exhibition game was played between the current squad and a mixed team of Bulgarian and foreign football stars. The mixed team was coached by former German international Lothar Matthäus, who was a special guest for the anniversary celebrations. The match ended 6:6.

The 2008 crisis[edit]

In June 2008, only days after CSKA won its 31st title, UEFA notified the Bulgarian Football Union that the club would not receive a license for participating in the UEFA Champions League because of unpaid obligations.[17][18] The BFU then speculated that this could also result in CSKA not being able to take part in the domestic championship, effectively turning it into an amateur club. Attempts to arrange a settlement with UEFA proved unsuccessful and CSKA lost its right to compete in the UEFA Champions League in favor of runners-up Levski Sofia.[19] The person widely blamed for the crisis was president Alexander Tomov, who resigned shortly after and was arrested and sued for embezzling millions of levs from CSKA and Kremikovtzi AD.[20]

The problems with the license exposed the club's weak financial situation and led to chaos and panic, prompting many of the key players to flee, including coach Stoycho Mladenov himself, who left saying he was not happy with the fire sale of so many important players. The future of CSKA looked grim, its status as a professional club hanging in the balance. In the midst of the crisis, Dimitar Penev was given the coach's job for the third time and burdened with the task of saving the club. With almost all senior players gone, Penev was left to rely on members of the CSKA youth squad. Ultimately, CSKA managed to fulfill all licensing requirements set by the BFU and was allowed to compete in A Group.[21] Despite all the difficulties, and to the surprise of the whole football community, Penev's young squad claimed the Bulgarian SuperCup in August 2008, overcoming Litex by 1-0.[22]

At the beginning of the 2008–09 season, the club managed to strengthen their ranks by signing Bulgarian internationals Zdravko Lazarov and Vladimir Manchev. On 24 December 2008, owner Pramod Mittal announced that he had signed a preliminary contract with a local investor to sell the club.[23] The deal was finalized on 6 March 2009, and the ownership of the club was transferred to Titan Sport EAD, a subsidiary of Bulgarian waste management company Titan AS.[24] Meanwhile, coach Dimitar Penev was replaced by his nephew, Lyuboslav Penev, who set aggressive goals for the club.[25] After having led the league for most of the season, CSKA finished the championship in second place, one point behind arch rivals Levski.

CSKA Sofia in UEFA Europa League 2011

In 2009, CSKA earned a place in the UEFA Europa League's group stage after defeating FC Dynamo Moscow in the qualifying round and drew Roma, FC Basel, and Fulham in the group stage.[26] The first match was against Fulham in Sofia, where CSKA took the lead thanks to a beautiful goal by newly signed from Chernomoretz Brazilian Michel Platini. However, a simple goalkeeper mistake at the end of the match allowed Fulham to score, ending the game in a 1-1 draw. Despite the strong start, CSKA did not manage to earn any more points in the group and exited the competition at fourth place.[27] In November 2009, coach Luboslav Penev threatened to resign following a squabble with the club's management after they had reversed his decision to reprimand several players for disciplinary reasons, but decided to carry on with the job. Their disagreements eventually boiled over in January 2010 and the board relieved Penev of the position.[28] Reports in the press pointed to former CSKA coach Miodrag Ješić as a possible replacement, but even though Ješić expressed a desire to come back to CSKA, his current contract with Libyan club Alittihad Tripoli S.C. ruled him out.[29] On 17 January, the club retained Romanian specialist Ioan Andone as coach.[30] Andone brought two Romanian players with him and set out to overhaul the team.[31] But over the next six matches, CSKA won only two games, drew archrival Levski 0:0, and lost the second place to Lokomotiv Sofia. On 30 March, after two months on the job, Andone resigned citing family reasons.[32] Former CSKA defender Adalbert Zafirov was put in his place.[33] At the same time, the club turned to Dimitar Penev again, naming him supervisor of the coaching staff.[34] Despite the tumultuous second half of the season, CSKA managed to finish at second place in the table, behind champions Litex, and prepared to enter the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League.[35]



Preparing for their upcoming European campaign, in the summer of 2010 the club hired Bulgarian specialist Pavel Dochev as coach, who embarked on a recruiting spree in order to strengthen the ranks. The most notable additions to the squad were Algerian national goalkeeper Raïs M'Bolhi from Slavia Sofia and Irish international striker Cillian Sheridan from Celtic.[36][37] Other newcomers included former Ghana international William Tiero, Dutchman Gregory Nelson, and four Italians: Giuseppe Aquaro, Christian Tiboni, Marco Esposito, and Fabrizio Grillo. After a string of unsatisfactory results, including a 0-1 loss to archrival Levski Sofia and a 1-2 loss to Chernomorets Burgas, Dochev was fired. His place was taken by the relatively unknown Macedonian manager Gjore Jovanovski, who kept his job for just 3 months before being replaced by his assistant Milen Radukanov. Radukanov brought a sudden change to the club, bringing CSKA back to the winning road and eventually claiming the Bulgarian Cup at the end of the season.


At the onset of the season, Radukanov announced his ambitions of a title by bringing top forwards Ianis Zicu and Junior Moraes to the club. Zicu, who was the top goalscorer of the Romanian Liga I in the previous season, joined the club for €500,000 from FC Timişoara, while Moraes was signed on a free transfer. He then signed the club's former goalkeeper Rais M'Bolhi from Krylia Sovetov on loan. The first real test for CSKA was their Bulgarian SuperCup clash against league champions Litex Lovech, won by a 3-1 margin. The club continued with 8 straight victories in the league, but after a 1-2 defeat against Slavia Sofia and a 0-0 draw against Cherno More, Radukanov was unexpectedly fired by chairman Dimitar Borisov. Club legend Dimitar Penev was appointed as a temporary manager with Adalbert Zafirov as his assistant. In the spring, Stoycho Mladenov was hired as a manager again. Mladenov wasted no time in striving to motivate the players and win the title, yet the club lost it by a single point to Ludogorets Razgrad in a lost direct match in the final day of the season.


CSKA began the season by being surprisingly eliminated from international football by Slovenian football dwarf Mura 05. While the first leg in Slovenia ended in a 0-0 draw, a 1-1 tie at home knocked the "reds" out of the UEFA Europa League in the second qualifying round. The start of the domestic championship was unimpressive as well –- a 0-1 loss to Litex, in which the club had no right to use its new signings due to administrative restrictions. However, in the middle of the autumn half of the season CSKA achieved some significant wins, beating Levski Sofia by 1-0 in the Eternal Derby and eliminating Ludogorets Razgrad in the 1/32 finals of the Bulgarian Cup.

In late December 2012, head coach Stoycho Mladenov was abruptly fired by the club owners for "disciplinary" reasons and Miodrag Jesic was appointed in his place. During the winter transfer window, CSKA made several signings such as Bulgarian internationals Martin Kamburov and Spas Delev in addition to South-American players Marcinho and Ignacio Varela. After managing the team for only two games in the spring half, Jesic was sacked and replaced by fan favourite Milen Radukanov, with whom the club managed to finish the season with the bronze medals.

2013 Ownership change[edit]

In June 2013, the FIFA Ballon d'Or winner Hristo Stoichkov was released from PFC Litex Lovech to replace Radukanov on the bench, but the poor financial condition of the club forced him to leave shortly after his arrival without even having signed a contract. Most of the key players left CSKA while speculations about the club's bankruptcy circled in the media.[38] After the serious financial problems led to CSKA's withdrawal from the 2013-14 UEFA Europa League, igniting multiple fan protests, the club was ultimately declared for sale and on 10 July 2013 it was officially purchased by the Red Champions Group, a union of businessmen and club legends. One of the group members was Aleksandar Tomov, the former club president widely blamed for CSKA's financial crisis in 2008. Stoycho Mladenov was hired back as manager by the new owners.


The club made several major signings for the new season, bringing in former team captains Valentin Iliev, Emil Gargorov and Todor Yanchev. Algeria's national goalkeeper Rais M'Bolhi and ex-Premiership stars Mamady Sidibe and Martin Petrov were also brought on board. On 19 October 2013, the reborn CSKA crushed city rivals Levski 3-0 and were given the nickname "The Phoenixes". By the end of April 2014, CSKA had smashed Levski three more times.


On 21 March 2014, as part of the plan to reduce debt and make the club's finances more transparent, CSKA became the first club from Eastern Europe to be publicly traded by listing itself on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange.[39][40] CSKA, later on that season finished second overall just a few points behind Ludogorets. They also beat Levski once more with the score 3:1!


After finishing second in the league, CSKA spend most of its summer training in The Netherlands and some of the players were sold since the club needed money to pay for old debts and stabilize its budget for the upcoming season. Some players such as international goalkeeper Rais M'bolhi were sold after a great performance at the World Cup as well as young talented Ivaylo Chochev. Moreover, legends Martin Petrov and Todor Yanchev retired and other players who did not fit in the clubs future plans, were released. In total, more than half of the players were gone and during the training camp in The Netherlands CSKA signed with many new players who were free agents. Furthermore, because CSKA had finished the last season in 2nd place, they had qualified for the Europa League and had to play against Zimbru. The first match, they played home and drew 1:1 at Vasil Levski national stadium. The second game, away, they had to score at least 1 goal in order to go through. Unfortunately, because half of the players were new, they didn't yet and weren't fully prepared for both games and drew the second game 0:0 and were eliminated from the Europa league after a big disappointment. As the season began, CSKA were playing outstandingly and beat rivals Levski in the Eternal Derby twice more with the scores 2:0 and 3:0. When the winter brake came, they are right now in first place ahead of Ludogorets.



Bulgarian A PFG:

Bulgarian Cup:

Cup of the Soviet Army – (unofficial tournament)

  • Winners (4 times): 1985, 1986, 1989, 1990

Bulgarian Supercup:


European Cup / UEFA Champions League

UEFA Cup / Europa League:

European Cup Winners' Cup / UEFA Cup Winners' Cup

Biggest win in European tournaments:

Other Trophies[edit]

Orange Trophy:

PlayStation Cup:

European record[edit]

Including 2014-15 season.

Competition S P W D L GF GA GD
UEFA Champions League / European Cup 25 98 41 16 41 140 144 – 4
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup / European Cup Winners' Cup 5 22 12 0 10 49 29 + 20
UEFA Europa League / UEFA Cup 22 94 30 30 34 120 121 – 1
UEFA Intertoto Cup 1 4 2 1 1 8 4 + 4
Total 52 216 85 47 86 317 298 + 19


CSKA has carried a plethora of names throughout its history. In chronological order, they are as follows:

  • Septemvri pri CDV (Bulgarian: Септември при ЦДВ), September at the Central House of the Troops in 1948 and 1948/49.
  • Narodna Voiska (Bulgarian: Народна Войска), People's Troops in 1950.
  • C.D.N.V. (Bulgarian: Централен Дом на Народната Войска, Ц.Д.Н.В.), Central House of the People's Troops in 1951 and 1952.
  • Otbor na Sofiyskiya Garnizon (Bulgarian: Отбор на Софийския Гарнизон), Team of the Sofia's garrison in 1953.
  • CDNA (Bulgarian: ЦДНА, Централен Дом на Народната Армия), Central House of the People's Army from 1954 and until the 1961/62 season.
  • CSKA "Cherveno zname" (Bulgarian: ЦСКА "Червено знаме"), CSKA "Red Flag" between 1962/63 and 1967/68.
  • CSKA "Septemvriysko zname" (Bulgarian: ЦСКА "Септемврийско знаме"), CSKA "September's flag" between 1968/69 and 1984/85.
  • CFKA "Sredets" (Bulgarian: ЦФКА "Средец"), Central Football Club of the Army "Sredets" from 1985/86 and until 1988/89
  • CSKA (Bulgarian: ЦСКА), CSKA – Central Sports Club of the Army since 1989/90.

Club badge[edit]

The club badge is compound of the typical Bulgarian symbol – a standing lion and circle, which symbolize the infinity, eternity and the heavenly. After the mergers in 1944 the colour is changed from black to red.

The red symbolizes the creative strength and the fruitfulness. It is a classic colour and it associates with love and aggression. The red planet is the God of War, red is the colour of the uniform of the Roman legions. In the context of socio-political and cultural climate of the time, red can be associated with communist ideology whose characters are still the hammer and sickle, the wheat and the pentagram. Red flags are those of the French Revolution and later in October as a symbol of the struggle of the downtrodden and freedom.

New badge was created after the merger between "CDV" and "Septemvri" - three circles superimposed in colors white-green-white. In the outermost are ears of corn that are a symbol of fertility and success. In the center is laid a red pentagram, symbol of the war power.

After uniting with "Red Flag" the wheat classes are replaced with oak leaves, simbol of power and strength. In the green circle is added the Bulgarian flag.

After the disband of the team was created an entirely new badge, representing shield fortified battlements at the top. At the upper part was placed a caption – F.K. (Football Club) and at the bottom – "Sredets". In the center of the emblem has a large letter "S", whose center is a pentagram surrounded by a circle. The emblem is officially used until 1989.

After the change of regime in Bulgaria was decided to use the model of 1987 as red pentagram in it then connects to the communist government.

In 1998, with the change of management and the formation of CSKA AD temporarily used the emblem of CSKA September Flag, with the exception of the inscription September Flag.

In 2005 after CSKA achieved its 30th title there were added three golden stars.


Current squad[edit]

As of 28 March 2015 Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Bulgaria GK Anatoli Gospodinov
3 Bulgaria DF Aleksandar Tunchev (vice-captain)
4 Nigeria MF Stephen Sunday
5 Croatia MF Mario Brkljača
7 Portugal MF Toni Silva
8 Bulgaria MF Boris Galchev
9 Montenegro FW Stefan Nikolić
10 Serbia MF Ivan Marković
11 Serbia MF Nemanja Milisavljević
13 Luxembourg FW Aurélien Joachim
14 Bulgaria DF Valentin Iliev (captain)
15 India MF Renedy Singh
19 Bulgaria DF Apostol Popov
20 Cape Verde MF Luís Soares
No. Position Player
21 Bulgaria DF Ventsislav Vasilev
22 Brazil MF Edenilson Bergonsi
28 Bulgaria MF Marcos Marquinhos
31 Netherlands DF Christian Supusepa
33 Czech Republic GK Jakub Diviš
34 Germany DF Denis Prychynenko
48 Croatia DF Marin Oršulić
66 Bulgaria DF Plamen Krachunov
70 Brazil MF Juan Felipe
73 Bulgaria FW Ivan Stoyanov
77 Croatia DF Tonći Kukoč
88 Angola MF Amâncio Fortes
92 Latvia GK Maksims Uvarenko

For recent transfers, see Transfers summer 2014 and Transfers winter 2014–15.

On loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Bulgaria DF Vasil Popov (at Etar Veliko Tarnovo until 30 June 2015)
Bulgaria MF Radoy Bozhilov (at Dobrudzha Dobrich until 30 June 2015)
No. Position Player
Bulgaria FW Grigor Dolapchiev (at Haskovo until 30 June 2015)

CSKA Sofia U21 squad[edit]

CSKA reserve team play in the Bulgarian U21 League. They are coached by Ivan Atanasov.

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Bulgaria GK Anatoli Gospodinov
6 Bulgaria MF Ivo Isaev
7 Bulgaria FW Ivan Angushev
8 Bulgaria FW Pol Aleksandrov
9 Bulgaria FW Aleksandar Asparuhov
11 Bulgaria MF Dimitar Maymunkov
No. Position Player
12 Bulgaria GK Zlati Zlatev
13 Bulgaria MF Sava Savov
16 Bulgaria MF Petar Vitanov
22 Bulgaria FW Nikola Todorov
23 Bulgaria FW Krasimir Zdravkov
24 Bulgaria DF Yuliyan Chapaev

Foreign players[edit]

Up to five non-EU nationals can be registered and given a squad number for the first team in the A PFG however only three can be used during a match day. Those non-EU nationals with European ancestry can claim citizenship from the nation their ancestors came from. If a player does not have European ancestry he can claim Bulgarian citizenship after playing in Bulgaria for 5 years.

EU Nationals

EU Nationals (Dual citizenship)

Non-EU Nationals

Club officials[edit]

Board of directors[edit]

Position Name Nationality
Honorary President Dimitar Penev Bulgaria
Owner Lira Investments S.A. Luxembourg
President Aleksandar Tomov Bulgaria
General director Aleksandar Todorov Bulgaria
Academy director Spas Dzhevizov Bulgaria

Current technical body[edit]

Position Name Nationality
Head Coach Galin Ivanov Bulgaria
Assistant Coach Vladimir Manchev Bulgaria
Assistant Coach Sasho Borisov Bulgaria
Goalkeeper coach Stoyan Kolev Bulgaria
Fitness coach Renato Schmidt Brazil
Club Doctor Ivan Doychev Bulgaria

Bulgarian Army Stadium[edit]

The team's home stadium, Bulgarian Army, was completed in 1967 and stands on the same spot as its predecessor, Athletic Park. It is situated in the Borisova gradina park, named after Bulgarian tsar Boris III, in the center of Sofia. The stadium has four sectors with a total of 22,995 (18,495 seats),[1][2] of which 2,100 are covered. The pitch length is 106 meters and the width is 66 meters. The sports complex also includes tennis courts, a basketball court, and gymnastics facilities, as well as the CSKA Sofia Museum of Glory. The press conference room has 80 seats.


CSKA fans in Sector G
Main article: Sector G

According to many surveys, CSKA Sofia is one of the two most popular clubs in Bulgaria with around 190,000 organized supporters in 799 fan clubs around the world, including supporters from USA, Republic of Macedonia, Spain, Austria, UK, Canada, Italy, Sweden, Greece, Germany, and almost every country in which there is a large number of Bulgarians. The official fan club was formed in 1990, which to date is the oldest one in the capital of Bulgaria.

Sector G, the main stand for the ultras of CSKA, is located at the north side of the stadium. Inside the sector, the most influential supporters group is the newly founded ultras group "Ofanziva", which was formed after the unification of several smaller fan clubs. Another strong group is "Animals". They maintain a close friendship with the organized supporters of PAOK Thessaloniki, Partizan Belgrade, CSKA Moscow and especially with Steaua Bucharest which started originally because of the two supporters' common Orthodox faith and similar founding backgrounds.

CSKA is also the favourite football club of the current head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church Patriarch Neophyte.[41]

Notable players[edit]

The mentioned players are listed in the alley of fame of the club:[42]

Managerial history[edit]

For more details on this topic, see List of PFC CSKA Sofia managers.

This is a list of the last 10 CSKA Sofia managers:

Name Nat From To Honours
Pavel Dochev Bulgaria June 1, 2010 Aug 16, 2010
Đorđe Jovanovski Republic of Macedonia Aug 17, 2010 Oct 21, 2010
Milen Radukanov Bulgaria Oct 21, 2010 Oct 23, 2011 1 Bulgarian Cup
1 Bulgarian Super Cup
Dimitar Penev Bulgaria Oct 23, 2011 March 5, 2012
Stoycho Mladenov Bulgaria March 5, 2012 Jan 4, 2013
Miodrag Ješić Serbia Jan 7, 2013 March 11, 2013
Milen Radukanov Bulgaria March 11, 2013 June 5, 2013
Hristo Stoichkov Bulgaria June 5, 2013 July 8, 2013
Stoycho Mladenov Bulgaria July 11, 2013 March 20, 2015
Galin Ivanov Bulgaria March 24, 2015

Club kits[edit]

The general director Ventsislav Zhivkov presents the new signing Bernardo Tengarrinha. This game is also the introduction of the new equipment, which has a mark LEGEA.

After the merger between Chavdar Sofia and Septemvri Sofia is accepted that the club's home colour will be red. White colour becomes the away colour of the club.

In previous years was also used the black colour, mainly for away or third kits. Other colours of the CSKA kits that can be seen are grey, yellow, orange and green, but only in rarely occasions and only in the colour scheme of the third kits. In season 2009/10 for the first time in the club's history CSKA used golden colour for their away kits.

After season 2011/12 in which CSKA used equipment of the Italian company Kappa, from June 2012 the club has new kit supplier, and again a company from the Italian Peninsula - Legea. The team used the new equipment for the first time in the pre-season friendly against the Moscow side Torpedo, ended 1:2. The kits were sample and they were with a different outfit and a different spot where the team badge was placed. The official presentation of the new kits was before the friendly match against Macedonian side FK Drita on 14 July 2012 (2:0), played on Bulgarian Army Stadium.

Shirt sponsors and manufacturers[edit]

  • Only Domestic Cup matches

UEFA Current ranking[edit]

UEFA Club Coefficients

Rank Country Team Points
199 Hungary Videoton FC 7.950
200 Turkey Kardemir Karabükspor 7.940
201 Bulgaria PFC CSKA Sofia 7.850
202 Switzerland Servette FC 7.835
203 Poland Ruch Chorzów 7.800
204 Serbia Red Star Belgrade 7.775


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ A PFG All-Time Rankings
  4. ^ Europe's Club of the Century International Federation of Football History and Statistics. Retrieved 5 April 2010.
  5. ^ UEFA Champions League – History – CSKA Sofia Retrieved 22 December 2011.
  6. ^ С Рогите Срещу Историята (in Bulgarian) 12 February 2007. Retrieved 5 April 2010.
  7. ^ UEFA Champions League 1956/57 – History – CSKA Sofia Retrieved 22 December 2011.
  8. ^ UEFA Champions League 1966/67 – History – CSKA Sofia Retrieved 22 December 2011.
  9. ^ Webb Forces a Chelsea Victory The Daily Mirror 5 November 1970. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  10. ^ What if the FIFA World Cup had been played in a different year Sports Illustrated 29 November 2011. Retrieved 22 December 2011.
  11. ^ UEFA Champions League 1973/74 – History – CSKA Sofia Retrieved 22 December 2011.
  12. ^ Liverpool v CSKA Sofia: Classic Match 26 February 2004. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  13. ^ CSKA Sofia v Liverpool: Classic Match 3 March 2004. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  14. ^ UEFA Champions League 1981/82 – History – CSKA Sofia Retrieved 22 December 2011.
  15. ^ CSKA Claim Amazing 1–0 over Liverpool 23 August 2005. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  16. ^ Liverpool: CSKA Turned into Real Struggle 23 August 2005. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  17. ^ Bulgaria FC CSKA Without License, Out of Champions' League 3 June 2008. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  18. ^ CSKA Sofia excluded from Champions League 5 June 2008. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
  19. ^ "Levski aim to ride their luck". Retrieved 10 July 2008. 
  20. ^ Bulgaria Court Resumes Trial against CSKA Ex-President Tomov 20 October 2009. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  21. ^ "Съобщение на Лицензионната комисия при БФС". (in Bulgarian) Retrieved 5 August 2008. 
  22. ^ "CSKA won the Supercup Final". Retrieved 4 August 2008. 
  23. ^ Pramod Mittal sells CSKA Sofia 25 December 2008. Retrieved 8 April 2010
  24. ^ Bulgaria gives green light to sale of CSKA Sofia 26 March 2009. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
  25. ^ "CSKA swap Penevs in Bulgaria". Retrieved 5 March 2009. 
  26. ^ CSKA Sofia Reach Europa League Groups after Moscow Victory 28 August 2009. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
  27. ^ Bulgaria Top Clubs Sit Last in Europa League Groups 23 October 2009. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  28. ^ CSKA Sofia sacks Penev 13 January 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
  29. ^ Jesic rejects CSKA Sofia speculation 15 January 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
  30. ^ Bulgarian Club CSKA Sofia Appoint Romanian Coach 17 January 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
  31. ^ Andone oversees CSKA overhaul 8 February 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
  32. ^ CSKA Sofia Coach Andone Resigns New York Times 30 March 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
  33. ^ Zafirov replaces Andone at CSKA Sofia 30 March 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
  34. ^ Bulgaria Legend Penev Returns to CSKA Sofia Bench 8 April 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
  35. ^ 2009–10 A PFG Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  36. ^ Algerian National Goalie Moves from Bulgaria's Slavia to CSKA 30 August 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  37. ^ Celtic's Sheridan Will Transfer to Bulgarian CSKA 4 August 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  38. ^ CSKA Sofia Find New Owners as Stoichkov Quits Reuters 8 Jul 2013. Retrieved 29 Jul 2013.
  39. ^ Troubled CSKA Sofia Seek to Raise $6.3 mln from IPO Reuters 5 March 2014. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  40. ^ Fans Rush for CSKA Sofia Shares as Club Makes Market Debut Inside World Football 21 March 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  41. ^ Патриарх Неофит е фен на ЦСКА Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  42. ^ "Големите легенди надвиха по-младите за идеалния отбор на ЦСКА" (in Bulgarian). Retrieved 29 September 2011. 

External links[edit]

Official websites
Fan websites
Statistics websites