First Professional Football League (Bulgaria)

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First Professional Football League
First Professional Football League (Bulgaria) logo.jpg
Founded 1924 (as BSFC)
1948 (as A Group)
2016 (as Parva Liga)
Country Bulgaria
Confederation UEFA
Divisions 1
Number of teams 14
Level on pyramid 1
Relegation to Second League
Domestic cup(s) Bulgarian Cup
Bulgarian Supercup
International cup(s) Champions League
Europa League
Current champions Ludogorets Razgrad (6th title)
(2016–17)
Most championships CSKA Sofia (31 titles)
TV partners Nova Broadcasting Group
Website www.fpleague.bg
2017–18 season

The First Professional Football League (Bulgarian: Първа професионална футболна лига) is a Bulgarian professional league for men's association football clubs. Standing at the top of the Bulgarian football league system, it serves as the country's primary football competition. The league determines the champion of Bulgaria and is contested by fourteen teams. It operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the second tier of the Bulgarian football league pyramid, the Second League. Known by its previous name A Group, the Bulgarian top-tier was fully restructured during the summer of 2016, when new licensing criteria were introduced.

The Bulgarian football championship was inaugurated in 1924 as the Bulgarian State Football Championship and has been played in a league format since 1948, when the A Group was established. The champions of the First League have the right to participate in the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Champions League based on the league's European coefficient. Additionally, two UEFA Europa League spots are allocated to the second team in the final standings and the winner of the European playoffs. A further fourth spot may also be granted to the fourth placed team in the final league ranking, given that the Bulgarian Cup holder has finished among the top three teams at the end of the season.

A total of 67 clubs have competed in the Bulgarian top-tier since its establishment. In the last decade, many teams such as the current champions Ludogorets were introduced for the first time in the league. In 2016–17, Vereya Stara Zagora became the 67th club to participate in the competition. Since 1948, eleven different teams have been crowned champions of Bulgaria. The three most successful clubs are CSKA Sofia with 31 titles, Levski Sofia with 26 titles and Slavia Sofia with 7 titles respectively. The current champions Ludogorets Razgrad won their sixth consecutive title in their sixth First League season in 2016–17.

History[edit]

Former A Group logo

Foundation[edit]

The first football championship of Bulgaria started in 1924 in a knockout format. An attempt to form a league as the top division of the Bulgarian football league system was made in 1937–1940, when the National Football Division was created. There were 10 teams, each playing twice against all the others, once home and once away. The team that finished first in the table became champions. [1] (needs direct citations)

A Republican Football Group[edit]

The first season of the A Republican Football Group started in the autumn of 1948. In that season, ten teams participated in the league: Levski, Septemvri, Lokomotiv, Slavia and Spartak from the capital city Sofia, and Botev (Varna), Slavia (Plovdiv), Marek (Stanke Dimitrov), Benkovski (Vidin) and Luybislav (Burgas). The first football champion of the A Republican Football Group was Levski in 1948–49.[citation needed]

The 1949/50 season in the A Group was not completed. The league was stopped after the first fixture. It was then decided that the championship of Bulgaria would be played in a spring-autumn cycle as in the Soviet Union. In the autumn of 1949, qualification tournaments were played to determine the teams that would play in the next 1950 season. In the next two seasons the number of teams in the league was increased to 12, and for the 1953 season there were 15 teams (the 16th team was the Bulgarian National Football Team). In seasons 1954 and 1955 there were 14 teams in the league, and in seasons 1956 and 1957 there were 10.[citation needed]

In 1958, the championship was again stopped after the spring half-season, as had happened in 1948. New re-organizations were accepted and the league was again going to be played in the autumn-spring format. Despite the fact that the teams had played just 1 match, CDNA was crowned as the champion of Bulgaria.[citation needed]

The frequent changes in the number of teams in A Group continued in the 1960s. In the first two seasons after the reforms in 1958, the number of teams in the league was 12, in the period 1960–1962 – 14, until season 1967/68, when the teams were 16.

There were new reforms at the end of the 1960s. There were many mergers between Bulgarian clubs. The most-famous are between CSKA Red Flag and Septemvri Sofia in CSKA September Flag, the capital teams Levski and Spartak in Levski-Spartak, Lokomotiv and Slavia in Slavia, the Plovdiv teams Botev, Spartak and Academic in Trakiya. Mergers happened between other Bulgarian clubs too. These mergers between clubs and reforms in A Group where made at the winter break of the 1968/69 season.

After the winter reforms in 1968 until 2000, A Group remained with 16 teams, except in seasons 1971/72 and 1972/73, when 18 teams competed in the league.

Premier Professional Football League[edit]

The Bulgarian Football Union decided to make reforms. The Premier Professional Football League, created in the autumn of 2000, had 14 teams participating in it. At the end of the 2000/01 season, the last two teams were directly relegated to the lower division and the team that finished 12th had the chance to compete in the promotion/relegation play-off for the remaining place in the league. Levski Sofia became champions in the first season of the Premier League.

In the 2001/02 season there was experimentation with the regulations. The championship was divided into two phases. In the first phase the teams played a regular season, each team playing twice against all the others, once home and once away. The second phase was a play-off phase.

In the following season, 2002/03, the championship returned to the regulations of 2000/01 – 14 teams playing in a home and away format. For the first time in 6 years, CSKA Sofia became champions.

A Group[edit]

The A Group Trophy as of 2005

The Bulgarian A Professional Football Group was created in 2003. The group was formed by 16 teams, each playing twice against all the others, once home and once away. In the first season of the newly created A Group, the 2003/04 season, for the first time in history, Lokomotiv Plovdiv became champions, finishing with 75 points. In 2004/05, CSKA Sofia won A Group for the 30th time. For the next two seasons, Levski Sofia were champions under manager Stanimir Stoilov. From 2005/2006 the league's name has been A Football Group. In 2007/08, CSKA became champions of A Group for a record-breaking 31st time without a loss out of 30 matches. But in the summer, UEFA didn't give a license for the club to play in the UEFA Champions League qualifying rounds and Levski Sofia entered to play in the tournament instead of CSKA. In the following season Levski Sofia won their last A Group title, finishing one point ahead of CSKA. Later on, two years in a row Litex Lovech won another two titles like in 1997/98 and 1998/99. In 2011/12, after winning promotion from B Group, Ludogorets Razgrad became the second team after Litex to win the A Group in their first season.

The Bulgarian Football Union decided to make some changes in the format of A Group prior to season 2014–15 with the reduction of the number of the teams participating in the top league from 16 to 12.

First for season 2013–14, the number of teams competing in A Group was reduced from sixteen to fourteen. The championship was divided into two stages. In the first stage, the regular season, each team must play two times against the other thirteen teams on a home-away basis until each team has played with each of the other teams twice, for a subtotal of 26 matches per team. In the second stage, the playoffs, the top seven teams and the bottom seven were divided into two subgroups, which were to play twice with each of their respective group rivals, again on a home-away basis, for a subtotal of 12 games per team. The top seven teams determined the champion of Bulgaria as well as the teams eligible to play in the European tournaments because of their position at the end of the season. The bottom seven determined the four teams that are to be relegated to B Group for season 2014–15 and two teams promoted in their place from the lower level division.

For the next 2014–15 A Group season, the teams that took part were 12, with Ludogorets winning their fourth consecutive championship.[citation needed]

Before the beginning of season 2015–16, the Sofia teams, including title record-holder CSKA and Lokomotiv were excluded from the league due not receiving license to play in A Group.[citation needed]

First Professional Football League[edit]

On June 7, 2016 the league's name was changed to First Professional Football League, following approval of new licensing criteria for the clubs.[2]

Competition format[edit]

Starting from the 2016-17 season, a new league format was approved by the Bulgarian Football Union, in an attempt to improve each participating club's competitiveness, match attendance and performance in the league. It involves 14 teams playing in two phases, a regular season and playoffs. The first phase includes each club competing against every other team twice in a double round-robin system, on a home-away basis at a total of 26 games per team and played in 26 fixtures. Seven matches are played in every fixture at a total of 182 games played during the first phase. In the second phase, the top six teams form a European qualifying table, while the bottom eight teams participate in a relegation group. The winner of the top group is declared as Champions of Bulgaria and is awarded with the title.

International qualification[edit]

The six top teams compete against each other on a home-away basis. Three matches are played in every fixture of the top six, with the results and points after the regular season also included. At the end of the stage, every team will have played a total of 36 games. The winner of the group is declared as Champions of Bulgaria and automatically secures participation in the 2017-18 UEFA Champions League second qualifying round. The team that ranks second is awarded with a place in the UEFA Europa League qualifying rounds. The third team in the final standings would participate in a play-off match against a representative team from the bottom eight. Depending on the winner of the Bulgarian Cup final, a possible fourth team from the first six may compete in a play-off match for an UEFA Europa League spot instead of the third ranked team.

Note: If the Bulgarian Cup winner has secured its qualification for the European tournaments for the next season through results from Parva Liga, then the place in the UEFA Europa League play-off is awarded to the fourth ranked team in the final standings.

Relegation[edit]

The teams in the bottom eight are split in two sub-groups of four teams, Group A and Group B, depending on their final position after the regular season standings. The teams that enter Group A are the 7th, 10th, 11th and the 14th, and the teams that participate in Group B are the 8th, 9th, 12th and the 13th. Every participant plays twice against the other three teams in their group on a home-away basis. The teams from the bottom eight also compete with the results from the regular season. After the group stages, every team will have played a total number of 32 games. Depending on their final position in Group A and Group B, two sections will be formed, one for a play-off spot in next season's European competitions and one to avoid relegation. The first two teams from each group continue in the semi-finals, and the last two teams of each group continue to the semi-finals for a relegation match. After this phase, one team is directly relegated to the Second League and the remaining two teams will compete in two relegation matches against the second and the third ranked clubs from the Second League.[3]

Tiebreakers[edit]

In case of a tie on points between two or more clubs, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:[4]

  1. Number of wins;
  2. Goal difference;
  3. Goals pro;
  4. Goals away;
  5. Fewer red cards;
  6. Less number of yellow cards;
  7. Draw

Current clubs[edit]

The following clubs are competing in First Professional Football League during the 2017–18 season.[5]

Sofia 2017–18 First League football clubs
Team Location Stadium Capacity (seating)
Beroe Stara Zagora Beroe 12,128[6]
Botev Plovdiv Botev 1912 Football Complex 4,000
Cherno More Varna Ticha 8,250
CSKA Sofia Balgarska Armiya 18,495[7]
Dunav Ruse Gradski, Ruse 12,400[8]
Etar Veliko Tarnovo Ivaylo 25,000
Levski Sofia Vivacom Arena - Georgi Asparuhov 25,000[9]
Lokomotiv Plovdiv Lokomotiv 13,000[10]
Ludogorets Razgrad Ludogorets Arena 8,808[11]
Pirin Blagoevgrad Hristo Botev 7,000
Septemvri Sofia Vasil Levski National Stadium 43,230[12]
Slavia Sofia Vasil Levski National Stadium 43,230
Vereya Stara Zagora Trace Arena 3,500[13]
Vitosha Bistritsa Bistritsa 2,000

List of champions[edit]

Performance by club[edit]

  • Bold indicates clubs currently playing in the top division.
  • Italics indicates clubs which no longer exist.
Club Titles Runners-up Winning Years(s)
CSKA Sofia
31
22
1948, 1951, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1966, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1997, 2003, 2005, 2008
Levski Sofia
26
32
1933, 1937, 1942, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1953, 1965, 1968, 1970, 1974, 1977, 1979, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2009
Slavia Sofia
7
10
1928, 1930, 1936, 1939, 1941, 1943, 1996
Ludogorets Razgrad
6
2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Lokomotiv Sofia
4
6
1940, 1945, 1964, 1978
Cherno More Varna
6
1925, 1926, 1934, 1938
Litex Lovech
1
1998, 1999, 2010, 2011
Botev Plovdiv
2
2
1929, 1967
Spartak Varna
1
2
1932
Spartak Plovdiv
1
1963
Lokomotiv Plovdiv
1
2004
Beroe Stara Zagora
1
1986
Etar Veliko Tarnovo
1991
Sportklub Sofia
1935
Athletic Slava 1923
1931

Notes:

  • Cherno More was created after Vladislav (Varna) and Ticha (Varna) merged. The titles include those won by both teams.
  • CSKA Sofia titles include those won as Septemvri pri CDNV, CDNA, and CFKA-Sredets.
  • Levski Sofia titles include those won as Levski-Spartak and Vitosha, as well as the re-awarded 1984/85 title.
  • Botev Plovdiv total does not include the Trakia originally awarded the 1984/85 title.

All-time league table (1948-present)[edit]

Last updated following the 2016–17 season[14]

# Club City S Pl. W D L GF GA GD Pts Best
classification
Notes
1 Levski Sofia 69 1980 1173 455 352 3856 1765 +2091 3262 1st (21 titles) Never relegated.
2 CSKA Sofia 68 1948 1184 443 321 4006 1699 +2307 3226 1st (31 titles)
3 Slavia Sofia 68 1958 854 463 641 2943 2285 +658 2479 1st (1 title)
4 Lokomotiv Sofia 64 1835 770 460 605 2644 2215 +429 2279 1st (2 titles) Dissolved in 2015.
5 Botev Plovdiv 62 1791 690 415 686 2587 2487 +100 1996 1st (1 title)
6 Lokomotiv Plovdiv 56 1662 650 378 634 2267 2284 -17 1937 1st (1 title)
7 Cherno More Varna 53 1541 544 394 603 1835 1959 -124 1684 3rd
8 Beroe Stara Zagora 50 1487 504 345 638 1809 2156 -347 1519 1st (1 title)
9 Litex Lovech 20 608 354 123 131 1113 552 +561 1149 1st (4 titles)
10 Spartak Varna 43 1202 378 270 554 1385 1829 -444 1144 3rd
11 Minyor Pernik 38 1055 330 248 477 1175 1594 -419 1000 4th
12 Spartak Pleven 35 994 314 245 435 1150 1511 -361 886 3rd
13 Chernomorets [a] Burgas 29 866 277 188 401 1057 1410 -353 775 5th Dissolved in 2006.
14 Botev Vratsa 28 848 288 185 375 1055 1266 -211 774 3rd
15 Marek Dupnitsa 29 838 251 177 410 920 1374 -454 737 3rd
16 Etar [b] Veliko Tarnovo 24 726 264 161 301 951 1043 -92 731 1st (1 title) Dissolved in 2003.
17 Pirin Blagoevgrad 25 754 237 186 331 812 1025 -213 720 5th
18 Sliven 2000 Sliven 25 750 246 164 340 906 1109 -203 675 6th
19 Dunav Ruse 26 735 235 182 318 793 1108 -315 664 4th
20 Neftochimic [c] Burgas 14 430 171 83 176 600 567 +33 575 2nd
21 Akademik Sofia 18 505 163 136 206 589 676 -87 467 3rd Dissolved in 2012.
22 Spartak Plovdiv 17 441 158 121 162 562 581 -19 455 1st (1 title) Dissolved in 2016.
23 Ludogorets Razgrad 6 198 117 47 34 382 146 +236 442 1st (6 titles)
24 Dobrudzha Dobrich 14 414 126 82 206 448 682 -234 411 7th
25 Spartak Sofia 15 377 135 124 118 456 416 +40 394 2nd Dissolved in 2007.
26 Belasitsa Petrich 12 368 116 68 184 377 590 -213 360 6th
27 Chernomorets Burgas Burgas 7 218 92 53 73 288 223 +65 329 4th
28 Velbazhd Kyustendil 7 201 98 27 76 299 269 +30 314 3rd
29 Lokomotiv Gorna Oryahovitsa 10 304 102 59 143 310 462 -152 291 8th
30 Montana Montana 9 278 64 61 153 265 436 -171 253 9th
31 Shumen 2010 [d] Shumen 7 212 61 38 113 219 368 -149 201 4th Dissolved in 2013.
32 Pirin Blagoevgrad [e] Blagoevgrad 6 178 53 41 84 189 254 -65 200 8th Merged to form Pirin in 2008.
33 Yantra Gabrovo 7 214 65 50 99 239 332 -93 174 8th
34 Vihren Sandanski 4 118 38 14 66 117 173 -56 128 9th
35 Haskovo Haskovo 7 212 52 31 129 210 400 -190 139 8th
36 Vidima-Rakovski Sevlievo 5 150 28 36 86 126 271 -145 120 12th
37 Rodopa Smolyan 4 118 31 17 70 106 194 -88 110 10th
38 Akademik Svishtov 4 120 36 26 58 136 195 -59 97 11th
39 Maritsa Plovdiv 4 120 28 25 67 129 225 -126 89 14th
40 Tundzha Yambol 3 97 28 22 47 98 152 -57 78 13th
41 Zavod 12 Sofia 3 74 23 27 24 72 80 -8 73 4th
42 Metalurg Pernik 2 58 22 6 30 60 77 -17 72 10th
43 Hebar Pazardzhik 3 86 20 21 45 85 141 -56 68 9th
44 Lokomotiv [f] Mezdra 2 60 17 13 30 69 89 -20 64 8th Dissolved in 2012.
45 Pirin Gotse Delchev 2 68 16 8 44 62 148 -86 56 11th
46 Septemvri Sofia 3 78 16 20 42 101 160 -59 56 5th
47 Vereya Stara Zagora 1 34 14 7 13 33 41 -8 49 7th
48 VVS Sofia 2 54 13 21 20 60 63 -3 47 8th Merged into CDNA in 1956.
49 Stroitel Sofia 2 50 13 18 19 47 53 -6 44 8th Disbanded in 1954.
50 Kaliakra Kavarna 2 60 10 11 39 45 117 -72 41 12th
51 Cherveno Zname Sofia 2 40 13 13 14 46 50 -4 39 6th Merged with CSKA in 1962.
52 Rilski Sportist Samokov 2 56 11 6 39 51 116 -65 39 14th
53 Olimpik Teteven 1 30 11 2 17 26 50 -24 35 14th
54 Rakovski Ruse 2 60 9 6 45 41 151 -110 33 13th
55 Torpedo Pleven 3 66 9 14 43 48 137 -89 32 8th Merged with Spartak in 1957.
56 Akademik Varna 1 28 9 7 12 26 43 -17 25 10th Merged with Cherno More in 1969.
57 Dimitrovgrad Dimitrovgrad 1 30 8 6 16 32 66 -34 21 16th
58 Lyubimets Lyubimets 1 38 6 3 29 35 104 -69 21 14th
59 Himik Dimitrovgrad 1 30 7 6 17 36 60 -24 20 16th Merged to form Dimitrovgrad in 1967.
60 Nesebar Nesebar 1 30 5 5 20 26 63 -37 20 15th
61 Rozova Dolina Kazanlak 1 30 7 5 18 30 53 -23 19 15th
62 Sportist Svoge 1 30 5 4 21 23 59 -36 19 15th
63 Slavia Plovdiv 1 18 4 8 6 16 21 -5 16 7th
64 Pavlikeni Pavlikeni 1 26 5 4 17 12 45 -33 14 14th
65 Etar 1924 Veliko Tarnovo 1 30 4 4 22 20 75 -55 13 16th Dissolved in 2013.
66 Bdin Vidin 1 18 2 4 12 13 35 -22 8 9th
67 Svetkavitsa Targovishte 1 30 1 5 24 8 71 -63 8 16th
68 Conegliano German 1 30 0 1 29 8 131 -123 −2 16th Dissolved in 2007.
Key
Competing in First League
Competing in Second League
Competing below Second League
Not competing (See Notes)

Currently, Sliven 2000, Spartak Plovdiv and Tundzha Yambol have only youth academies.

  1. ^ Team was dissolved in 2006. PSFC Chernomorets Burgas and FC Chernomorets 1919 Burgas are recognized by the fans, but they are not official representers of the original club.
  2. ^ Team was dissolved in 2003. FC Etar 1924 Veliko Tarnovo and later OFC Etar Veliko Tarnovo are recognized by the fans, but they are not official representers of the original club.
  3. ^ Team was dissolved in 2014. Neftochimic Burgas is recognized by the fans, but it is not an official representer of the original club.
  4. ^ Team was dissolved in 2014. FC Shumen 1929 is recognized by the fans, but it is not an official representer of the original club.
  5. ^ Team was dissolved in 2008. OFC Pirin Blagoevgrad is recognized by the fans, but it is not an official representer of the original club.
  6. ^ Team was dissolved in 2012. FC Lokomotiv 2012 Mezdra and FC Lokomotiv 1929 Mezdra are recognized by the fans, but they are not official representers of the original club.

Bulgarian derbies[edit]

Several football matches have been dubbed as derbies in the Bulgarian First League. The football rivalry, which has attracted the most domestic and international attention over the years has been played between the two most successful clubs in the history of Bulgarian football, CSKA Sofia and Levski Sofia, otherwise known as the Eternal derby of Bulgarian football. The second largest Bulgarian city Plovdiv also has its own derby match, known as the Plovdiv derby, and is contested between the two historic clubs in the city, Botev and Lokomotiv.

Other notable rivalries include matches contested between Cherno More and Spartak in the city of Varna and cross-city rivals Chernomorets and Neftochimic in Burgas. In recent years, a regional derby between Beroe Stara Zagora and Botev Plovdiv, dubbed alternatively as "The Battle of Thrace" also ignited significant domestic attention.

The Eternal Derby[edit]

The Eternal Derby of Bulgarian football is contested between the two most successful football clubs in Bulgaria – CSKA Sofia and Levski Sofia.[citation needed]

Plovdiv derby[edit]

Plovdiv, the second largest city in Bulgaria, also has its own football derby match. It is contested between the city's two most successful clubs, Botev and Lokomotiv.[citation needed]

The two teams are the most supported ones in Plovdiv and the games between them are well known to the Bulgarian football community. Several international sports outlets have also dubbed the match as one of the most fiercest sports rivalries in the world.[15] Botev is the country's oldest team, created in 1912, whereas Lokomotiv grew popular in the 1970s. Traditionally, Lokomotiv drew support from the lower working classes of society, whereas Botev's fanbase was formed from the middle and upper classes, although that no longer applies.[16]

Media coverage[edit]

Georgi Hristov from Slavia (white) playing for the ball against Nikolay Bodurov from Litex (orange) in a 2011 A Group match

From 2000 to 2008, the Bulgarian National Television broadcast all matches from A Group on its first channel – Kanal 1.[citation needed]

In 2008, the broadcasting rights were purchased by the private channels TV2 and Ring TV for three plus two years at a price of $33 million. BNT had the first pick for each fixture and broadcast the most interesting match for the weekend. For seasons 2009-10 and 2010-11, PRO.BG (the former TV2) and RING.BG (formerly as Ring TV) bought the rights to broadcast the full pack of six matches from each fixture. At the end of season 2010-11, after bTV bought PRO.BG, the channel was re-branded to bTV Action and got on broadcasting only on cable networks. The new owners didn't want to fully pay to every club in the league, because of the unmet stadium requirements for journalists and cameramen places at some stadiums. The clubs weren't happy and they threatened to ban cameras at their matches. The league matches in this period were also broadcast in Romania. During the 2008–09 season, the Romanian sports channel Sport.ro broadcast the Friday game, and in the following 2009-10 season, only the league matches of CSKA Sofia.[citation needed]

Days before the start of the 2011-12 season, the private terrestrial channel TV7 bought the rights to broadcast two matches per fixture. As before, the national television BNT1 got the first pick to broadcast the most interesting match in the fixture. The rest of the games were broadcast online live on the websites Topsport.bg,[17] Livesport.bg,[18] Bookmakers.bg,[19] and Sportline.bg.[20][citation needed]

For the start of the new 2012-13 season, the football clubs rejected requests from four TV stations due to the low payments being offered – Bulgarian National Television, Nova Television, TV7 and TV+. Finally after the first set of fixtures, the satellite broadcaster Bulsatcom with its channel TV+ bought the rights, along with BNT. Before the start of the spring half-season the rights were bought by TV7 and News7, who had rights for the first, third and fourth pick, and BNT 1 along with the international channel BNT World broadcasting the second pick of a match.[21]

For the 2013–14 season, 7 Media Group bought the full rights for another three seasons prior to 2016 and will broadcast six matches per fixture on their channels – TV7 and News7. In 2014 however due to financial problems, TV7 opted-out of its league contract for the championship and the rights were transferred to Nova Broadcasting Group. The 2014–15 and 2015–16 seasons will be broadcast by Nova, Diema, Nova Sport and Diema Sport.[citation needed]

The next seasons will also be broadcast on the Nova Broadcasting Group channels Diema, Diema Sport and Diema Sport 2, part of the Diema Extra paid pack, as their contract with the league was additionally extended.[22]

Sponsorship[edit]

Until 2011 the official sponsor of the championship was TBI Credit and the league was officially known as TBI A Football Group.[23]

In 2011–12, A Group had a new sponsor, the Victoria FATA Insurance, and therefore the league name in that season was rebranded to Victoria A Football Championship.[24]

In early 2013, for a short period of time the naming rights of A Group were bought from the news television network News7, eventually renaming the competition's name to NEWS7 Football Championship.[25]

UEFA ranking[edit]

As of the 2017 UEFA Country Ranking,[26][27] previous year rank is shown in brackets.

Records[edit]

Teams[edit]

All-time top scorers[edit]

Petar Zhekov is the all-time top goalscorer in Parva Liga with 253 goals
Top 10 goalscorers in Parva Liga[29]
Rank Player Period Goals
1 Bulgaria Petar Zhekov 1962–1975 253
2 Bulgaria Nasko Sirakov 1980–1998 195
3 Bulgaria Dinko Dermendzhiev 1959–1978 194
4 Bulgaria Martin Kamburov 1998–present 189
5 Bulgaria Hristo Bonev 1964–1984 185
6 Bulgaria Plamen Getov 1977–1998 164
7 Bulgaria Nikola Kotkov 1956–1971 163
8 Bulgaria Stefan Bogomilov 1962–1976 162
9 Bulgaria Petar Mihtarski 1982–2001 158
10 Bulgaria Petko Petkov 1968–1980 152
Bold displays footballers currently playing in Parva Liga
As of 31 May 2017

Top scorers by season[edit]

[30]

Bold indicates all time highest.

Season Player (Club) Nat. Goals
1937–38 Krum Milev (Slavia Sofia)  BUL 12
1938–39 Georgi Pachedzhiev (AS 23 Sofia)  BUL 14
1939–40 Yanko Stoyanov (Levski Sofia)
Dimitar Nikolaev (FC 13 Sofia)
 BUL
 BUL
14
1948–49 Dimitar Milanov (CSKA Sofia)
Nedko Nedev (Cherno More Varna)
 BUL
 BUL
11
1950 Lyubomir Hranov (Levski Sofia)  BUL 13
1951 Dimitar Milanov (2) (CSKA Sofia)  BUL 14
1952 Dimitar Isakov (Slavia Sofia)
Dobromir Tashkov (Spartak Sofia)
 BUL
 BUL
10
1953 Dimitar Minchev (Spartak Pleven and VVS Sofia)  BUL 15
1954 Dobromir Tashkov (2) (Slavia Sofia)  BUL 25
1955 Todor Diev (Spartak Plovdiv)  BUL 13
1956 Pavel Vladimirov (Minyor Pernik)  BUL 16
1957 Hristo Iliev (Levski Sofia)
Dimitar Milanov (3) (CSKA Sofia)
 BUL
 BUL
14
1958 Dobromir Tashkov (3) (Slavia Sofia)
Georgi Arnaudov (Spartak Varna)
 BUL
 BUL
9
1958–59 Aleksandar Vasilev (Slavia Sofia)  BUL 13
1959–60 Dimitar Yordanov (Levski Sofia)
Lyuben Kostov (Spartak Varna)
 BUL
 BUL
12
1960–61 Ivan Sotirov (Botev Plovdiv)  BUL 20
1961–62 Nikola Yordanov (Dunav Ruse)
Todor Diev (2) (Spartak Plovdiv)
 BUL
 BUL
23
1962–63 Todor Diev (3) (Spartak Plovdiv)  BUL 26
1963–64 Nikola Tsanev (CSKA Sofia)  BUL 26
1964–65 Georgi Asparuhov (Levski Sofia)  BUL 27
1965–66 Traycho Spasov (Marek Dupnitsa)  BUL 21
1966–67 Petar Zhekov (Beroe Stara Zagora)  BUL 21
1967–68 Petar Zhekov (2) (Beroe Stara Zagora)  BUL 31
1968–69 Petar Zhekov (3) (CSKA Sofia)  BUL 36
1969–70 Petar Zhekov (4) (CSKA Sofia)  BUL 31
1970–71 Dimitar Yakimov (CSKA Sofia)  BUL 26
1971–72 Petar Zhekov (5) (CSKA Sofia)  BUL 27
1972–73 Petar Zhekov (6) (CSKA Sofia)  BUL 29
1973–74 Petko Petkov (Beroe Stara Zagora)
Kiril Milanov (Levski Sofia)
 BUL
 BUL
19
1974–75 Ivan Pritargov (Botev Plovdiv)  BUL 20
1975–76 Petko Petkov (2) (Beroe Stara Zagora)
Pavel Panov (Levski Sofia)
 BUL
 BUL
18
1976–77 Pavel Panov (2) (Levski Sofia)  BUL 20
1977–78 Stoycho Mladenov (Beroe Stara Zagora)  BUL 21
1978–79 Rusi Gochev (Chernomorets Burgas and Levski Sofia)  BUL 19
1979–80 Spas Dzhevizov (CSKA Sofia)  BUL 23
1980–81 Georgi Slavkov (Botev Plovdiv)  BUL 31
1981–82 Mihail Valchev (Levski Sofia)  BUL 24
1982–83 Antim Pehlivanov (Botev Plovdiv)  BUL 20
1983–84 Eduard Eranosyan (Lokomotiv Plovdiv)
Emil Spasov (Levski Sofia)
 BUL
 BUL
19
1984–85 Plamen Getov (Spartak Pleven)  BUL 26
1985–86 Atanas Pashev (Botev Plovdiv)  BUL 30
1986–87 Nasko Sirakov (Levski Sofia)  BUL 36
1987–88 Nasko Sirakov (2) (Levski Sofia)  BUL 28
1988–89 Hristo Stoichkov (CSKA Sofia)  BUL 23
1989–90 Hristo Stoichkov (2) (CSKA Sofia)  BUL 38
1990–91 Ivaylo Yordanov (Lokomotiv Gorna Oryahovitsa)  BUL 21
1991–92 Nasko Sirakov (3) (Levski Sofia)  BUL 26
1992–93 Plamen Getov (2) (Levski Sofia)  BUL 26
1993–94 Nasko Sirakov (4) (Levski Sofia)  BUL 30
1994–95 Petar Mihtarski (CSKA Sofia)  BUL 24
1995–96 Ivo Georgiev (Spartak Varna)  BUL 21
1996–97 Todor Pramatarov (Slavia Sofia)  BUL 26
1997–98 Anton Spasov (Naftex Burgas)
Bontcho Guentchev (CSKA Sofia)
 BUL
 BUL
17
1998–99 Dimcho Belyakov (Litex Lovech)  BUL 21
1999–00 Mihail Mihaylov (Velbazhd Kyustendil)  BUL 20
2000–01 Georgi Ivanov (Levski Sofia)  BUL 22
2001–02 Vladimir Manchev (CSKA Sofia)  BUL 21
2002–03 Georgi Chilikov (Levski Sofia)  BUL 23
2003–04 Martin Kamburov (Lokomotiv Plovdiv)  BUL 25
2004–05 Martin Kamburov (2) (Lokomotiv Plovdiv)  BUL 27
2005–06 Milivoje Novaković (Litex Lovech)
José Emílio Furtado (Vihren and CSKA Sofia)
 SVN
 PRT
16
2006–07 Tsvetan Genkov (Lokomotiv Sofia)  BUL 27
2007–08 Georgi Hristov (Botev Plovdiv)  BUL 19
2008–09 Martin Kamburov (3) (Lokomotiv Sofia)  BUL 17
2009–10 Wilfried Niflore (Litex Lovech)  FRA 19
2010–11 Garra Dembélé (Levski Sofia)  MLI 26
2011–12 Ivan Stoyanov (Ludogorets Razgrad)
Júnior Moraes (CSKA Sofia)
 BUL
 BRA
16
2012–13 Basile de Carvalho (Levski Sofia)  GNB 19
2013–14 Wilmar Jordán (Litex Lovech)
Martin Kamburov (4) (Lokomotiv Plovdiv)
 COL
 BUL
20
2014–15 Añete (Levski Sofia)  ESP 14
2015–16 Martin Kamburov (5) (Lokomotiv Plovdiv)  BUL 18
2016–17 Claudiu Keșerü (Ludogorets Razgrad)  ROM 22

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  12. ^ "Ще играем на Националния стадион", разясни Кристиян Добрев
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  15. ^ "Riots durind the Plovdiv derby: Lokomotiv – Botev 17.10.2015". Retrieved 8 June 2016. 
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  19. ^ "Bookmakers.bg". bookmakers.bg. Retrieved 3 May 2017. 
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  21. ^ "„А“ група остава в ефира на TV7 и News7 - Novinite.bg - Новините от България и света". novinite.bg. Retrieved 3 May 2017. 
  22. ^ "БФС - "Нова броудкастинг груп" ще излъчва "А" група". www.bfunion.bg. Retrieved 3 May 2017. 
  23. ^ "Ти Би Ай България – генерален спонсор на националното първенство по футбол". www.bulstrad.bg. Retrieved 3 May 2017. 
  24. ^ New Season in Victoria A Football Championship
  25. ^ Schedule for News7 football championship
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  27. ^ "UEFA Country Ranking 2017". Bert Kassies. Retrieved 22 June 2017. 
  28. ^ "ЦСКА вече е трети в срамна класация, "червените" задминаха две Торпеда". topsport.bg. 11 May 2015. Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  29. ^ "Топ 100 за Голмайстори". www.bgfootball.eu. Retrieved 3 May 2017. 
  30. ^ "Всички голмайстори в България през годините". (in Bulgarian) blitz.bg. Retrieved 16 May 2017. 

External links[edit]