PFC CSKA Sofia
|Full name||PFC CSKA Sofia
(ПФК ЦСКА София)
|Nickname(s)||The Reds (Червените)
The Armymen (Армейците)
|Founded||5 May 1948|
|Ground||"Bulgarian Army" Stadium, Sofia|
|Capacity||22,995 (18,495 seats)|
|2015–16||V Group, 1st|
|Website||Club home page|
PFC CSKA Sofia (Bulgarian: ПФК ЦСКА София, pronounced Tse-se-ka Sòfiya) is an association football club from Sofia, Bulgaria. CSKA stands for Central Sports Club of the Army (Bulgarian: Централен Спортен Клуб на Армията). The club was officially founded in 1948, although its roots date back to an army officers' team founded in 1923. At present the club is privately owned and does not have a formal relation to the Bulgarian military.
CSKA is the most successful Bulgarian football club. Since the reorganization and the union of several Sofia-based teams in 1948, CSKA has won 31 Bulgarian titles, 19 national cups and 4 national supercups. Internationally CSKA has reached two European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-finals, four European Champion Clubs' Cup quarter-finals and one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup semi-final, being the best performing Bulgarian club in the European club competitions as well.
In the decades, many of Bulgaria's greatest footballers like Petar Zhekov, Dimitar Yakimov, Dimitar Penev, Hristo Stoichkov, Emil Kostadinov, Lyuboslav Penev, Dimitar Berbatov, Stiliyan Petrov and Martin Petrov have been part of the team.
The club's home colours are red and white. CSKA's home ground is the "Bulgarian Army" stadium in Sofia. The club's biggest rivals are Levski Sofia and matches between the two sides are known as The Eternal Derby of Bulgaria.
- 1 History
- 1.1 1923 – 1948
- 1.2 1948–1962
- 1.3 1960s
- 1.4 1970s
- 1.5 1980s
- 1.6 1990s
- 1.7 2000s
- 1.8 2010s
- 1.9 League positions
- 2 Honours
- 3 European record
- 4 Names
- 5 Club crest
- 6 Club anthem
- 7 Players
- 8 Club officials
- 9 "Bulgarian Army" stadium
- 10 Supporters
- 11 Notable Bulgarian players
- 12 Foreign players
- 13 Managerial history
- 14 Club kits
- 15 Shirt sponsors and manufacturers
- 16 UEFA Current ranking
- 17 References
- 18 External links
1923 – 1948
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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
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 Aleksandar 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. Aleksandar 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 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 Vasil 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 Aleksandar 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
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. 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. The person widely blamed for the crisis was president Aleksandar Tomov, who resigned shortly after and was arrested and sued for embezzling millions of levs from CSKA and Kremikovtzi AD.
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. 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.
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. 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. Meanwhile, coach Dimitar Penev was replaced by his nephew, Lyuboslav Penev, who set aggressive goals for the club. After having led the league for most of the season, CSKA finished the championship in second place, one point behind arch rivals Levski.
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. 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. 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. 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. On 17 January, the club retained Romanian specialist Ioan Andone as coach. Andone brought two Romanian players with him and set out to overhaul the team. 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. Former CSKA defender Adalbert Zafirov was put in his place. At the same time, the club turned to Dimitar Penev again, naming him supervisor of the coaching staff. 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.
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. 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
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. 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. The leader of the group was Aleksandar Tomov, 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 the season CSKA smashed Levski three more times and won the silver medals, finishing 2nd behind Ludogorets Razgrad.
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.
Before the start of the new season a few key players were no more part of the club – Algeria's international goalkeeper Raïs M'Bolhi was transferred to Philadelphia Union after an impressive performance at the World Cup, young talent Ivaylo Chochev joined Palermo, club legends Martin Petrov and Todor Yanchev retired and the team's leading scorer Emil Gargorov left due to conflict with the managing board. CSKA were surprisingly eliminated by the Moldovan side Zimbru in Europa League's 2nd round, but performed well in the domestic league during the first half of the season, beating rivals Levski twice more and being on the top of the table ahead of Ludogorets before the winter break. However, after the season was renewed CSKA made 3 consecutive losses without scoring a single goal which lead to the resignation of coach Mladenov. Former team captain and youth team's coach Galin Ivanov was appointed as new head coach, but after 5 more goalless matches he was replaced by European football legend Lyuboslav Penev, widely praised by fans.
April 2015 Ownership change and relegation from professional football
On April 2 CSKA's president Aleksandar Tomov transferred his controlling block of shares to Milko Georgiev and Borislav Lazarov, club supporters intending to find new owner and major sponsors capable of paying off the numerous debts. On April 24 it was officially announced that the club's new controlling owner is Finance Marketing Company Ltd. CSKA finished the season 5th, but due to the unfunded debts the Bulgarian Football Union refused to give the club a license for A Group for the upcoming season and sent it to the South-Western V group (the 3rd level of Bulgarian football).
Grisha Ganchev era
On June 24 one of the most powerful Bulgarian entrepreneurs Grisha Ganchev announced that he will be the new owner of CSKA, intending to bring the club to its old glory. Club legends Plamen Markov and Hristo Yanev were appointed as sports director and head coach. Yanev claimed he wants to form a squad consisting entirely of Bulgarian players.
- Champions (1) : 2015–16
Bulgarian Cup – (unofficial tournament)
- Winners (1 time): 1981
- Winners (4 times): 1985, 1986, 1989, 1990
- Semi-finals (1): 1988–89
Biggest win in European tournaments:
- UEFA Cup Winners – 8–1 in 1956–57 vs FC Dinamo Bucureşti
- UEFA Cup – 8–0 in 2000–01 vs Constructorul
- UEFA Cup Winners' Cup – 9–0 in 1970–71 vs FC Haka
- Winners (1): 2003
- Winners (1): 2004
- Winners (1): 2012
Including 2014–15 season.
|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|
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.
The main element in the current club crest is the red five-pointed star – symbol of glory and power. Red was the colour of the uniform of the Roman legions, associated with love, freedom and aggression. The 6 oak leaves above the star symbolise strength, endurance and traditions. CSKA's name and year of foundation (1948) can be seen below the star, between two Bulgarian flags. The circle form of the crest symbolises infinity and eternity. After CSKA won its 30th national title in 2005, 3 golden stars were added to the logo.
The official anthem of CSKA Sofia is the song "Surtsa cherveni" ("Red hearts") by the famous Bulgarian singer Yordanka Hristova. The song is written in 1999 by composer Evgeni Dimitrov and lyricist Ivaylo Valchev, authors of many of the hits of Ku-Ku Band.
As of 15 January 2016[update]
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Board of directors
|Honorary President||Dimitar Penev|
|Executive director||Aleksandar Todorov|
Current technical body
|Sports Director||Plamen Markov|
|Head Coach||Hristo Yanev|
|Assistant Coach||Vladimir Manchev|
|Fitness Coach||Duško Tomas|
|Goalkeeper Coach||Ivaylo Petrov|
|Club Doctor||Andrey Miladinov|
"Bulgarian Army" stadium
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 Sofia's city center. The stadium has four sectors with a total of 22,995 places (18,495 seats), 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.
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". CSKA is also the favourite football club of the current head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church Patriarch Neophyte.
Notable Bulgarian players
The mentioned players are listed in the alley of fame of the club:
This is a list of the last 10 CSKA Sofia managers:
|Milen Radukanov||October 21, 2010||October 23, 2011||1 Bulgarian Cup
1 Bulgarian Super Cup
|Dimitar Penev||October 23, 2011||March 5, 2012||–|
|Stoycho Mladenov||March 5, 2012||January 4, 2013||–|
|Miodrag Ješić||January 7, 2013||March 11, 2013||–|
|Milen Radukanov||March 11, 2013||June 5, 2013||–|
|Hristo Stoichkov||June 5, 2013||July 8, 2013||–|
|Stoycho Mladenov||July 11, 2013||March 20, 2015||–|
|Galin Ivanov||March 24, 2015||April 28, 2015||–|
|Lyuboslav Penev||April 28, 2015||May 31, 2015||–|
|Hristo Yanev||June 26, 2015||incumbent||–|
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
- Only Domestic Cup matches
UEFA Current ranking
|201||PFC CSKA Sofia||7.850|
|204||Red Star Belgrade||7.775|
- A PFG All-Time Rankings
- Europe's Club of the Century International Federation of Football History and Statistics. Retrieved 5 April 2010.
- UEFA Champions League – History – CSKA Sofia UEFA.com Retrieved 22 December 2011.
- С Рогите Срещу Историята (in Bulgarian) Sport1.bg 12 February 2007. Retrieved 5 April 2010.
- UEFA Champions League 1956/57 – History – CSKA Sofia UEFA.com Retrieved 22 December 2011.
- UEFA Champions League 1966/67 – History – CSKA Sofia UEFA.com Retrieved 22 December 2011.
- Webb Forces a Chelsea Victory The Daily Mirror 5 November 1970. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
- What if the FIFA World Cup had been played in a different year Sports Illustrated 29 November 2011. Retrieved 22 December 2011.
- UEFA Champions League 1973/74 – History – CSKA Sofia UEFA.com Retrieved 22 December 2011.
- Liverpool v CSKA Sofia: Classic Match Liverpoolfc.tv 26 February 2004. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
- CSKA Sofia v Liverpool: Classic Match Liverpoolfc.tv 3 March 2004. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
- UEFA Champions League 1981/82 – History – CSKA Sofia UEFA.com Retrieved 22 December 2011.
- CSKA Claim Amazing 1–0 over Liverpool Novinite.com 23 August 2005. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
- Liverpool: CSKA Turned into Real Struggle Novinite.com 23 August 2005. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
- Bulgaria FC CSKA Without License, Out of Champions' League Novinite.com 3 June 2008. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
- CSKA Sofia excluded from Champions League Telegraph.co.uk 5 June 2008. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
- "Levski aim to ride their luck". Uefa.com. Retrieved 10 July 2008.
- Bulgaria Court Resumes Trial against CSKA Ex-President Tomov Novinite.com 20 October 2009. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
- "Съобщение на Лицензионната комисия при БФС". (in Bulgarian) BFUnion.bg. Retrieved 5 August 2008.
- "CSKA won the Supercup Final". Football24.bg. Retrieved 4 August 2008.
- Pramod Mittal sells CSKA Sofia Rediff.com 25 December 2008. Retrieved 8 April 2010
- Bulgaria gives green light to sale of CSKA Sofia Soccerway.com 26 March 2009. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
- "CSKA swap Penevs in Bulgaria". Uefa.com. Retrieved 5 March 2009.
- CSKA Sofia Reach Europa League Groups after Moscow Victory Novinite.com 28 August 2009. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
- Bulgaria Top Clubs Sit Last in Europa League Groups Novinite.com 23 October 2009. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
- CSKA Sofia sacks Penev Soccerway.com 13 January 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
- Jesic rejects CSKA Sofia speculation ESPN.com 15 January 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
- Bulgarian Club CSKA Sofia Appoint Romanian Coach Novinite.com 17 January 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
- Andone oversees CSKA overhaul UEFA.com 8 February 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
- CSKA Sofia Coach Andone Resigns New York Times 30 March 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
- Zafirov replaces Andone at CSKA Sofia Uefa.com 30 March 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
- Bulgaria Legend Penev Returns to CSKA Sofia Bench Novinite.com 8 April 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
- 2009–10 A PFG Retrieved 9 November 2010.
- Algerian National Goalie Moves from Bulgaria's Slavia to CSKA Novinite.com 30 August 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
- Celtic's Sheridan Will Transfer to Bulgarian CSKA Novinite.com 4 August 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
- CSKA Sofia Find New Owners as Stoichkov Quits Reuters 8 Jul 2013. Retrieved 29 Jul 2013.
- Troubled CSKA Sofia Seek to Raise $6.3 mln from IPO Reuters 5 March 2014. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
- Fans Rush for CSKA Sofia Shares as Club Makes Market Debut Inside World Football 21 March 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
- Галин Иванов е новият треньор на ЦСКА sportal.bg 24 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
- CSKA Sofia hire new coach who agrees to work for free eurosport.com 28 March 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- Томов прехвърли акциите си и се оттегли от ЦСКА news.bg 2 April 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
- Официално: ЦСКА с нов собственик blitz.bg 24 April 2015. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- "Съобщение на Лицензионната комисия" (in Bulgarian). 29 June 2015. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
- Пламен Марков: Много зложелатели искат ЦСКА да не съществува blitz.bg 30 June 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
- Христо Янев: Ръководството на Гриша Ганчев е на светлинни години от всяко друго gong.bg 05 July 2015. Retrieved 05 July 2015.
- "Bulgaria Cups Overview". Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- "Werder Bremen – ZSKA Sofia 5:7 n.E. (3:3, 2:3)". Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- "[ЦСКА взе купа в Испания". Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- "[CSKA Sofia Win First Feb 17 Tournament". Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- Емблемата redhearts.eu 10 July 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
- Данчето подари "Сърца червени" на ЦСКА prosport.bg 6 June 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- Патриарх Неофит е фен на ЦСКА inews.bg Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- "Големите легенди надвиха по-младите за идеалния отбор на ЦСКА" (in Bulgarian). Retrieved 29 September 2011.
- Чужденците в ЦСКА – от гарата, в приюта и до Англия trud.bg 6 June 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- Official websites
- Fan websites
- All for CSKA
- CSKA Sofia HOOLIGANS Army
- CSKA Sofia ultras group
- Armeici 1948
- CSKA Sofia Ultimate Internet Fan Club
- CSKA Sofia forum
- Statistics websites