The Bulgarian Cup is a Bulgarian annual football competition. It is the country’s main cup competition and all officially registered Bulgarian football teams take part in it. It is sponsored by the Bulgarian Corporate Commercial Bank.
The tournament’s format is single-elimination, with all matches being one-legged. The Bulgarian Cup final is usually held at the Vasil Levski National Stadium in Sofia. Only twice in the last five years the final was played in the province – the 2010 final between Beroe (Stara Zagora) and Chernomorets (Pomorie) (1:0) and the last year final between Lokomotiv (Plovdiv) and Ludogorets Razgrad (1:2). The competition’s winner achieves the right to take part in the UEFA Europa League. If the winner has already secured a place through the Bulgarian A Professional Football Group, the team that has come fourth in the championship substitutes it.
The competition has been dominated by Sofia-based teams. The Sofia teams have won together a total number of 61 titles. The two most successful teams are Levski Sofia (25 championships) and CSKA Sofia (19 championships). The most recent winners of the Bulgarian Cup are Ludogorets Razgrad, who beat Lokomotiv Plovdiv with 2:1 in the last season final – 2011/2012.
The Bulgarian Cup has its roots in several cup tournaments held in Bulgaria through the 20th century, simultaneously or successively. The first one is the Tsar’s Cup or “Cup of the King” that existed between 1938 and 1942, in which the champions of the country’s oblasts played in a one-legged single-elimination tournament, the host being determined by lot.
During the Communist rule in Bulgaria, the National Cup was superseded by the two-legged Cup of the Soviet Army tournament, which was held between 1945 and 1990. After 1981, it lost its importance due to the revival of the Bulgarian Cup tournament in honour of the 1300th anniversary of the country, but continued to exist until disbanded in 1990. Levski Sofia, as the club to have won the trophy most times, were awarded the original Soviet Army Cup to keep in their collection.