Informal successor of DNV (est. 1949), DNA, SKNA, General Zaimov, Mlada Gvardia, AFD Sliven, FK Sliven (1985), OFK Sliven 2000
Nickname: The Voivodes
Colours: Orange and blue, red and blue
Stadium: Hadzhi Dimitar
Most appearances (league games): Nikolay Arabov (310), Vasil Tinchev (280), Tenko Dobrev (261)
Topscorers (league games): Tenko Dobrev (59), Yordan Lechkov (55), Ivan Valchev (53)



The football tradition in Sliven dates back to 1914 when a group of highschool students established the first local team Sportist. Two years later Sportist had its first official game against Chernomorets Burgas (1-2). Prior to WWII a number of other football teams emerged in the city, the most prominent of all being Asenovets which reached the national championship finals in 1925.

The football scenery in Sliven changed after WWII with the appearance of numerous new clubs tagged to various departments. The army's DNV was founded in 1949 and soon turned into one of the leading football teams in the region settling firm on the 2nd level of Bulgarian football. The club changed its name several times until 1957 into DNA, SKNA and General Zaimov. In 1963 General Zaimov won the title in the Southern B Grupa earning the first ever season for Sliven in A Grupa (nowadays known as First League) which went under the next name of the team, Mlada Gvardia. A year later Mlada Gvardia merged with another local club Hadzhi Dimitar (playing in B Grupa at that time) to continue as Sliven from then on. After two seasons in the top flight Sliven relegated in 1965 to return for a short spell again in 1967.

The best period for Sliven happened after the team promoted back to A Grupa in 1974, this time staying on the top level for 19 seasons in row until 1993. Sliven had its best placement in the league in 1983/1984, finishing 3rd behind Levski and CSKA Sofia and so earning its first international appearance. In the opening UEFA Cup round in 1984 the Voivodes faced Željezničar Sarajevo, stepping back after 1-0 at home and losing the return leg by 1-5. The biggest success for FK Sliven came in 1990, winning the Bulgarian Cup after beating CSKA Sofia (feat. Hristo Stoichkov, Trifon Ivanov and Emil Kostadinov) in the final game by 2-0. Few months later Sliven matched Juventus for the Cup Winners' Cup losing both games, 0-2 at home and 1-6 in Turin.

Since 1990 the new economic and social environment caused a slow but steady decline of FK Sliven. The team relegated from A Grupa in 1993, from B Grupa in 1995 and from the 3rd tier (V Grupa) in 1998 to finally face bankruptcy and deletion.

A new beginning was set in 2000 with the establishment of OFK Sliven 2000 by Yordan Lechkov. Formally a new entity, OFK Sliven 2000 was de facto a successor of the history, traditions and facilities of FK Sliven remaining the one and only high-profile football club in the city. Starting from scratch, the team made its way back to A Grupa earning a promotion to the top flight in 2008 and keeping there for 3 seasons. A severe financial crisis hit in 2011 pushing Sliven back down in the next few years, ultimately relegated from V Grupa in 2016. Over a span of 5 years the club did not have a senior selection maintaining just its academy teams participating in various local competitions. The senior team got back as FK Sliven on the map taking a spot in the regional championship of Sliven in 2021 eventually promoting to the southeastern group of the Third League for the 2022/23 season.


Hadzhi Dimitar is the home stadium of Sliven for the last 70 years. Its current capacity is 10,000 seats but back in time Hadzhi Dimitar has taken close to 30,000 people for the most important games of the team.


Born in 1953, central defender. Arabov made his senior debut for Sliven in 1971 and stayed with the club for 16 years reaching an all-time record of 310 league appearances. He was also a key part of the Bulgarian national team in the 80s with 42 caps including 3 World Cup starts in 1986. Known for his efficient but ultimately clean style, Arabov got booked untypically for a centre back just a few times in his long-spanning professional career.


Born in 1967, attacking midfielder. Raised in the academy of Sliven, Lechkov played for the senior team between 1985 and 1991 scoring over 170 appearances and 70 goals, including the Bulgarian Cup final against CSKA (won 2-0) in 1990. Next his path went through CSKA Sofia, Hamburger SV, Olympique de Marseille and Besiktas. Capped 45 times, Lechkov was part of the best generation of the Bulgarian national team in the 90s, his famous diving header against Germany securing bronze medals at the World Cup in 1994. Following his retirement Lechkov returned to Sliven, re-establishing the local club as OFK Sliven 2000 and serving as a mayor of the city between 2003 and 2011.



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