FC Arda Kardzhali

FC Arda 1924 Kardzhali (Bulgarian: ПФК Арда Кърджали) is a Bulgarian association football club based in Kardzhali, which currently competes in the First League, the top tier of the Bulgarian football league system.

Arda Kardzhali
FC Arda logo 2018.png
Full nameProfessional Football Club Arda 1924 Kardzhali
Nickname(s)Сините вълци (The Blue Wolves)
FoundedAugust 10, 1924; 95 years ago (1924-08-10) as Rodopski Sokol
GroundArena Arda
OwnerPSI Group
ChairmanPetar Peshev
Head coachNikolay Kirov
LeagueFirst League
2019–20First League, 9th
WebsiteClub website

It was founded on 13 October 1924, as an association football branch of a larger sports society in the town. The club was reestablished in 2015, after its former entity was dissolved.

Named after the Arda river, a tributary of the Maritsa, Arda's home ground is the Arena Arda in Kardzhali, which has a capacity of 15,000 spectators. For the majority of its existence, the club regularly participated in the Second League, with its highest-ever ranking a second-place finish during the 1955–56 Bulgarian Second League. Arda have also reached the quarter-finals of the Bulgarian Cup once, it happened during the 1959–60 season of the competition.

In 2018–19, Arda won the Second League promotion play-off against Septemvri Sofia, resulting in the club's first-ever appearance in the Bulgarian top division.


First Arda team (1924–2013)Edit

Arda was established on August 10, 1924 under the name Rodopski Sokol, but later took the name Arda, derived from the nearby Arda River.[1] From 1945 to 1957 the team was named Minyor until a year later when the previous name was put in use again. In 1956, the club finished as a runner-up in the B Group. They also reached the quarter-finals of the Bulgarian Cup during the 1959–60 campaign of the competition. In 1988 they secured the third place in the B Group. The Kardzhali club spend most of its time in the second and third levels of Bulgarian football, before getting dissolved in 2013 due to financial troubles.

Refounding (2015–2017)Edit

The team suffered relegation from the V Group in 2013 and didn't compete in any league division until 2015 when they returned to the A Regional Group after reestablishment. In 2016, Arda achieved promotion to the Bulgarian Third League after a successful season and a 3-0 win in the play-off match against Lyubimets.[2]

PSI Group ownership and promotion to the elite (2017–present)Edit

In early June 2017, the club was purchased by Bulgarian road construction company PSI Group, in an attempt to develop a football project, inspired by the domestic and international success of Ludogorets.[3] Two weeks later, former Levski Sofia player Elin Topuzakov was appointed as head coach and Emil Kremenliev was hired as sporting director.[4] Subsequently, Petar Peshev was elected chairman of the club and was revealed that the new ownership would invest around €1 million in new signings, salaries and infrastructure around the stadium during the following South-East Third League season.[5] All of this led to an amateur double during the 2017-18 season, as Arda won both its group and the Cup of Bulgarian Amateur Football League, resulting in a promotion to the Bulgarian Second League.[6]

After the unsatisfactory results in the first 5 rounds, Elin Topuzakov was released as a manager and Stoycho Stoev was appointed,[7] but on 6 March 2019 Stamen Belchev was appointed as the new manager, after Stoev reached an agreement with the Bulgarian champions Ludogorets Razgrad. The team improved greatly, eventually managing a 3rd place finish, enabling them to participate in the play-offs against relegation-avoider PFC Septemvri Sofia to enter the top level of Bulgarian football. Arda eventually managed to win 0-1 over Septemvri at the Lokomotiv Stadium in Plovdiv, thus resulting in the club's first-time ever participation in the Bulgarian First League.[8]

Arda's first ever match in the Bulgarian top tier resulted in a 0-0 home draw against Botev Plovdiv. This was followed by an away 0-0 draw to FC Tsarsko Selo Sofia. Arda's first win came in the third round, when the team managed to beat Beroe Stara Zagora 3-1 at home. The game remained 1-1 up until the 90th minute, when Elisha Sam scored two goals in three minutes to give Arda the win. Arda then won their first away game in the top league, by beating FC Vitosha Bistritsa 1-3, extending their unbeaten run to four games. At the end of the first half of the season in December, Arda was in seventh place in the league, with seven wins, seven draws, and six losses. At the end of the regular season in June, Arda was in the relegation group. Despite this, on June 20th, Arda mathematically secured their place in the First League for the upcoming season, after Botev Plovdiv beat Botev Vratsa 3-2.


Second League:

  •   Runners-up (1): 1955–56
  •   Third place (2): 1987–88, 2018–19

Third League:

A Regional Group:

  •   Winners (1): 2015–16

Bulgarian Cup:

Cup of Bulgarian Amateur Football League

  •   Winners (1): 2017–18


First-team squadEdit

As of 15 July 2020[9]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1   GK Ivan Karadzhov
4   DF Milen Stoev
7   FW Spas Delev
8   DF Milen Zhelev
11   MF Aleksandar Georgiev
17   MF Ivan Kokonov
19   MF Rumen Rumenov
20   DF Stoycho Atanasov
21   DF Martin Kostadinov
23   GK Mesut Yusuf
25   DF Matheus Leoni
27   MF Emil Martinov
No. Position Player
71   DF Plamen Krumov (captain)
73   MF Lachezar Kotev
77   MF Mihail Aleksandrov
98   MF Svetoslav Kovachev (on loan from Ludogorets)
99   FW Radoslav Vasilev
  GK Vasil Simeonov
  DF Petko Ganev
  DF Deyan Lozev
  MF Ivan Tilev
  MF Lovre Knežević
  MF Andrija Bubnjar

For recent transfers, see Transfers summer 2020.

Out on loanEdit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
  FW Eray Karadayi (at Dobrudzha until 31 December 2020)
No. Position Player

Foreign playersEdit

Up to five non-EU nationals can be registered and given a squad number for the first team in the Bulgarian First League; however, only three can be used in 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

EU Nationals (Dual citizenship)

Non-EU Nationals

Notable PlayersEdit

The footballers enlisted below have international caps for their respective countries or more than 100 caps for Arda. Players whose name is listed in bold represented their countries.

Goalscoring and appearance recordsEdit

As of 18 January 2020

Most appearances for the club in First League

Rank Name Career Appearances
1   Ivan Karadzhov 2018– 20
  Emil Martinov 2019– 20
  Radoslav Vasilev 2019– 20
4   Zoran Gajić 2019– 19
  Ivan Kokonov 2019– 19
6   Rumyan Hovsepyan 2019– 17
7   Elisha Sam 2019– 16
8   João Amorim 2019–2020 14
9   Darren Sidoel 2019– 13
10   Atanas Krastev 2019– 12

Most goals for the club in First League

Rank Name Career Goals
1   Radoslav Vasilev 2019– 8
2   Ivan Kokonov 2019– 4
3   Elisha Sam 2019– 3
4   Rumyan Hovsepyan 2019– 1
  Veselin Marchev 2018–2019 1
  Deyan Lozev 2018–2020 1
  Spas Delev 2019– 1
  João Amorim 2019–2020 1
  Ilias Hassani 2019– 1
  Emil Martinov 2019– 1
  • Players in bold are still playing for Arda.

Records and notable statsEdit

Club RecordsEdit

  • Biggest home win in First League: Arda Kardzhali 3–1 Beroe Stara Zagora (27 July 2019)
  • Biggest away win in First League: Vitosha Bistritsa 1–3 Arda Kardzhali (2 August 2019)
  • Biggest home loss in First League: Arda Kardzhali 2–5 Lokomotiv Plovdiv (11 August 2019)
  • Biggest away loss in First League: Ludogorets Razgrad 2–0 Arda Kardzhali (22 September 2019)
  • Unbeaten streak in First League (single season): 4 (2019–20)
  • Most consecutive wins in First League (single season): 2 (2019–20)


Board of directorsEdit

Position Name Nationality
President Eng. Petar Peshev  
Director of Football Galabin Vasilev


Director of Sports Administration Stanimir Nikolov  
Administrator Eray Salif  

Current technical bodyEdit

Position Name Nationality
Head Coach Nikolay Kirov  
Assistant Coach Georgi Kamenov  
Assistant Coach Ivan Kochev  
Assistant Coach Tsvetomir Valeriev  
Goalkeeper coach Stoyan Kolev  
Conditioning Coach Nikolay Tsvetkov  
Conditioning Coach Goran Goranov  
Conditioning Coach Radoslav Borislavov  


League positionsEdit

First Professional Football League (Bulgaria)Second Professional Football League (Bulgaria)Third Amateur Football League (Bulgaria)Regional Amateur Football Groups (Bulgaria)Bulgarian V AFG

Past seasonsEdit

Season League Place W D L GF GA Pts Bulgarian Cup
2015–16 A RFG (IV) 1 7 0 1 45 7 21 not qualified
2016–17 Third League (III) 16 11 6 17 49 69 39 not qualified
2017–18 Third League (III) 1 30 4 0 142 7 94 not qualified
2018–19 Second League (II) 3 19 5 6 44 18 62 Round of 32
2019–20 First League (I) 9 8 11 11 28 36 35 Round of 16
2020–21 First League (I) qualified
Green marks a season followed by promotion, red a season followed by relegation.


  1. ^ История на клуба
  2. ^ Арда (Кърджали) се върна в Трета лига
  3. ^ Готви се грандиозен проект в Кърджали, Топузаков и легенда от САЩ '94 поемат клуба
  4. ^ Топузаков потвърди за треньорския пост в Арда Кърджали
  5. ^ Силният човек на новия хит в БГ футбол за плановете на клуба и защо е избрал Топузаков
  6. ^ Драма във Велико Търново! Арда направи дубъл в аматьорския футбол
  7. ^ Арда освободи Топузаков, сериозно име пое отбора
  8. ^ Стамен Белчев пое Арда
  9. ^ "Играчи : Арда". fcarda.bg. Retrieved 3 May 2017.

External linksEdit