OFC Pirin Blagoevgrad
|Full name||Футболен клуб „Пирин“ АД |
Futbolen klub Pirin AD
(Pirin Football Club)
|Nickname(s)||Орлетата (The Eagles)|
|Founded||1922; 100 years ago (1922)|
|Ground||Stadion Hristo Botev|
|Owner||Emirates Wealth EAD (75%) |
OFK Pirin EOOD (25%)
|Head coach||Krasimir Petrov|
|2021–22||First League, 12th of 14|
Futbolen klub Pirin (Bulgarian: Футболен клуб „Пирин“), also known as Pirin Blagoevgrad is a Bulgarian football club based in Blagoevgrad, which currently competes in the First League, the top division of Bulgarian football.
The club was founded in 2008, after a merger between two clubs from Blagoevgrad, Pirin 1922 and PFC Pirin Blagoevgrad. By an official court decision later that year, the club was announced as a historical successor of the club records of the former FC Pirin, founded in 1922. In 2011, following the bankruptcy of the entity, which represented the football club, Pirin's football department was merged once again with Perun Kresna, to eventually become OFC Pirin.
The club's name is adopted from Pirin, a mountain range in southwestern Bulgaria. Their home ground is the Stadion Hristo Botev in Blagoevgrad with a capacity of 7,500 spectators. Pirin's nickname is Orletata (The Eaglets) and their kit colours are green and white.
To date, the club has four domestic cup finals and most notably, enjoys high praise for its development of football players, as several noted Bulgarian footballers were produced by Pirin's youth academy. Among them are the 1994 FIFA World Cup bronze medallists Petar Mihtarski and Ivaylo Andonov, as well as former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov, who won two Premier League titles and was the 2010-11 Premier League top goalscorer.
Pirin share a regional rivalry with Marek Dupnitsa, as the two clubs are among the most successful ones from Southwestern Bulgaria.
One of FC Pirin Blagoevgrad's predecessors, FC Pirin, was founded in 1922. FC Pirin has played more than 20 seasons in the top flight and has competed twice in the European football competitions with one participation in the UEFA Cup and one participation in the Cup Winners' Cup respectively. The club's first participation in the UEFA tournaments was not promising. In 1985, Pirin faced the then reigning Swedish champion Hammarby IF. The first game in Blagoevgrad, ended with a 1–3 loss. The second game in Sweden was also a defeat – 0–4 and Pirin were out of the European competitions. Pirin's best season in the Bulgarian top division was in the 1984–85 season, where they finished at 5th place at the end of the season. The club was also three times runner-up of the Bulgarian Cup. Also, Pirin's youth academy is attributed as being one of the best developers of young and unknown players in Bulgaria. Among the club's famous players are Dimitar Berbatov, Spas Delev, Petar Mihtarski, Ivaylo Andonov, Ivan Tsvetkov, Vladislav Zlatinov and Petar Zlatinov.
On August 18, 2006, after failing to arrange some debts and signals of corruption, Pirin was expelled from the A PFG, the team's results for the season were annulled, and the club was relegated to the Bulgarian South-West V AFG. However, after two years, Pirin won the South-West V AFG and the club returned for the upcoming season of the Western B PFG.
In December 2008, Pirin, which competed in the Western B PFG, was merged with PFC Pirin Blagoevgrad, (former FC Makedonska Slava), which played in the A PFG after a significant pressure from the supporters in the town. The new club was named FC Pirin Blagoevgrad and was soon proclaimed as a holder of the club records of the former FC Pirin, which competed for more than 20 seasons in the top flight. FC Pirin's West B PFG place was taken by FC Bansko. Then, Nikolay Galchev appointed Petar Mihtarski as a manager of the club. A few months later, under Naci Şensoy's management, the successes followed-up and Pirin qualified for the final of the Bulgarian Cup, eliminating subsequently on their way CSKA Sofia and Levski Sofia. In the final match played at the Georgi Asparuhov Stadium in Sofia, Pirin were eliminated after a 3–0 defeat against Litex Lovech.
In the foremath of the 2011–12 season, Pirin Blagoevgrad failed to receive a professional license for the A Group. However, due to their financial struggles they were also rejected to participate in the South-West V AFG. Later that year, they acquired the license of Perun Kresna. The team finished 2011-12 season as Perun, but for 2012-13 the team was renamed to Obshtinski futbolen klub Pirin (Bulgarian: Общиснки футболен клуб „Пирин“), meaning Pirin Minicipal Football Club, as the club was owned by Blagoevgrad Municipality.
In 2015, the club achieved promotion to the A Group after a four-year absence from top-flight football. The 2015-16 season ended in a 8th place finish out of 10 teams in a modified season format. The next season (2016–17), Pirin again managed to avoid relegation. However the team was relegated from the A Group after the 2017-18 season.
On 11 June 2019, OFK Pirin secured a one-year sponsorship agreement and advertising partnership with the investment company Emirates Wealth EAD. In July, Blagoevgrad Municipality approved a business plan by the company discussing the future development of the club, in particular the partnership between the two sides, phases in acquiring participatory management, investment schemes, club finances and aims. The plan saw Emirates Wealth EAD become a majority owner, as it acquired 75% of the OFK Pirin's shares, with 25% remaining in Blagoevgrad Municipality's ownership. Part of obtaining participatory management saw the creation of a new association, a joint-stock company named Futbolen klub Pirin AD (Bulgarian: Футболен клуб „Пирин“ АД), meaning Pirin Football Club, where OFK Pirin, owned by the municipality, was merged into.
In 2021, Pirin managed to return to the First League after three years of absence.
Colours and badge
Currently, the team's home kit is green and the away kit is white. Various combinations of green and white have been used throughout the club's history.
|1994–95||Cup Winners' Cup||QR||Schaan||3–0||1–0||4–0|
- As of 25 September 2022
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
For recent transfers, see Transfers summer 2022.
Up to twenty foreign nationals can be registered and given a squad number for the first team in the Bulgarian First League, however only five non-EU nationals can be used during a match day. Those non-EU nationals with European ancestry can claim citizenship from the nation their ancestors came from. If a player does not have European ancestry he can claim Bulgarian citizenship after playing in Bulgaria for 5 years.
EU Nationals (Dual citizenship)
|2012–13||V Group (III)||3||19||5||6||69||26||62||not qualified|
|2013–14||V Group||1||25||4||1||87||6||79||not qualified|
|2014–15||B Group (II)||2||17||10||3||52||15||61||First round|
|2015–16||A Group (I)||8||5||11||16||27||45||26||First round|
|2016–17||First League (I)||10||12||7||13||41||44||43||Quarterfinals|
|2017–18||First League||14||7||9||16||29||42||30||First round|
|2018–19||Second League (II)||13||9||4||17||29||49||31||First round|
|2019–20||Second League||11||6||7||7||24||29||25||Preliminary round|
|2020–21||Second League||1||20||5||5||66||26||65||Round of 32|
|2021–22||First League (I)||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Qualified|
|Green marks a season followed by promotion, red a season followed by relegation.|
|2011–2014||Kostadin Gerganchev||99991 V AFG title|
|2014–2015||Yordan Samokovliyski||9999 promotion to A Group|
|2015||Ivo Trenchev (interim)|
|2017−2018||Milen Radukanov||Relegation to Second Professional League|
|2019–2021||Warren Feeney||1st place promotion to First Professional League|
- ^ "История". pirinfc.com. Archived from the original on 16 September 2011. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
- ^ "ОФК Пирин ЕООД Благоевград влиза в рекламно партньорство с Емирейтс". fcpirin.com (in Bulgarian). 11 June 2019. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
- ^ "Планът за развитие на ФК Пирин Благоевград". fcpirin.com (in Bulgarian). 1 August 2019. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
- ^ "От днес ОФК „Пирин" – Благоевград официално е с нов собственик" (in Bulgarian). Radio Blagoevgrad. 26 July 2019. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
- ^ "Players". fcpirin.com (in Bulgarian). Pirin Blagoevgrad. Retrieved 4 August 2021.
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