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Clubs

The history of Bulgarian football clubs is a reflexion of the social
and political reality in the country. After two state coups,one in 1923 and another one in 1944, the political elite of the day have used the sports establishments for their own propaganda and political goals as a way to control and indoctrinate the active youth masses.

The first organised clubs appeared in 1909 but it took another 15 to 20 years until the football game had reached sizable popularity and some kind of formal structure.

After WWII, fundamental changes in the organisation of the sports movements took place with the imposing of the Soviet model and principles. The old bourgeois clubs were subjected to mergers and closures. Not a single one was spared. This is why any attempt to present some of these clubs as “old” and “original” and others which shared the same destiny as formed after the mergers in 1945 is incorrect and biased. It is impossible to make any comparison between the history of Bulgarian and English clubs for various reasons, most important of which is decades of ownership of all Bulgarian clubs by
one-party central government which could do as it pleased with any club.
The football establishments underwent another full reorganisation in the 1950s with the creation of the Voluntary Sport Organisations (bulg. DSO) attached to certain government departments, the most important of which were the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of the Interior. These DSOs were new entities created separately from the already existing clubs. Only after the death of Stalin and the abolition of the cult towards his personality (1956) were the clubs allowed to seek their roots in the pre-WWII existing structures. In this way, dates of clubs founded at the beginning of the 20th century appeared in the late 1950s. After another wave of government induced mergers in the 1960s, the dates of foundation changed once again in accordance with the dates of the latest mergers but the clubs kept the history of their predecessors as their own.

Hereby we reflect on the history of all group “A” teams with their mergers, splits, closures and name changes as it was throughout the years.

From the authors.