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Post by Scottish » Tue Jan 20, 2015 5:37 pm

Bulgarian football is in a bad, bad way if its crowds are anything to go by. Just look at the attendances drawn by the once-mighty Sofia clubs CSKA and Slavia. Even though they are at opposite ends of the attendances table the best that can be said for one is that gates are awful and for the other humiliating.

The average of 1,777 for the top division is equivalent to that of Scotland’s second level and no team averaged as high as 5,000. Highest all season was 13,950 and even best supported CSKA’s crowds frequently fell below 1,000 and on one occasion sub-500. Bulgaria are 67th in the world and 32nd in Europe.

The top flight comprises fourteen clubs and is confusingly called the A Group in distinction to the second level B Group but which makes it sound as if it’s one division split into two. It isn’t. The A Group split into championship and relegation groups of seven comes after the teams have played each other twice. They play each other twice further. One team in each section has a blank weekend. All teams play 38 games for a total of 266 matches.

4309 CSKA Sofia
3686 Botev Plovdiv
3091 Ludogorets
2917 Levski Sofia
2240 Beroe Stara Zagora
2187 Cherno More Varna
1624 Lokomotiv Plovdiv
1429 Litex Lovech
764 Chernomorets Burgas
725 Pirin Gotse Delchev
647 Lyubimitz 2007
583 Neftochimik Burgas
469 Lokomotiv Sofia
205 Slavia Sofia

Instead of a more normal two-up, two-down, four teams were automatically relegated and two promoted to cater for league reconstruction. There were fourteen teams in the B Group playing each other twice.

In this division crowds dropped to as low as sixty and there were no attendances higher than 2,600. The average of 494 is 46th in the rankings and comparable with Scotland’s fourth level .

1102 Marek Dupnitsa
822 Dunav Ruse
786 Haskovo
640 Pirin Razlog
608 Dobrudzha Dobrich
592 Botev Vratsa
546 Botev Galabovo
410 Akademik Svishtov
316 Bansko
281 Spartak Varna
250 Montana
244 Kaliakra Kavarna
203 Rakovski 2011
118 Vitosha Bistritsa

There is promotion and relegation to and from the regional levels below this but I have no attendance information for these divisions prior to 2014-15.

Information in English, covering results, fixtures, tables, scorers, minutes of goals (to fourth level) and attendances (to third level) can be found at this excellent site http://en.bulgarian-football.com

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