The Bulgarian Cup tournament is divided in two phases - the Qualification phase and the Final phase.
In this phase are participating teams from the four groups of the amateur division V AFG and teams from Bulgarian A Regional Football Group .
In this phase are participating the teams that have won their matches in the Qualification phase, with the 20 teams from the two groups of B PFG and 16 teams from A PFG. The team from a lower league division is the home team. In matches between teams from same division the home team is determined by lot.
The Bulgarian Cup as a domestic cup knock-out tournament, has its roots in several tournaments held in Bulgaria through the early 20th century, simultaneously or successively starting in the 1910s with regional Sofia competitions.
The first Bulgarian national tournament was the Tsar's Cup. The trophy was decided over a series of direct knock-out matches in which the champions of the country's oblasts played in one-legged single-elimination rounds. In 1937 the first national league was created to determine the football champion of Bulgaria. The tournament for the Tsar's Cup, however, remained a prestigious competition in the country. The winners of the trophy between 1938 and 1942 are officially recognized as domestic cup holders by the BFU.
The competition was not held between 1942 and 1945 due to World War II and only returned in 1946. Bulgaria was now under Communist rule, and reformed their football league structure and competitions along the lines of other Soviet states. The new Central Football Committee created the Soviet Army Cup in time for the 1945-46 season. For the remainder of the communist period in Bulgaria, an annual two-legged knock-out tournament was held. The tournament had a national scope but initially included only top tier clubs. It served as the primary means of qualification to the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup between 1960 and 1982.
In 1981, in honour of the 1300th anniversary of the country, another national knock-out football tournament took place awarding the winner the Cup of Bulgaria. The tournament for the Cup of the Soviet Army gradually lost its importance due to the success of the Bulgarian Cup and in 1983 it ceded primacy to the new competition. The Bulgarian Football Union recognises the historic winners of the Soviet Army Cup as official domestic cup holders for the seasons between 1945–46 and 1981–82, while holders of the Bulgarian Cup are the official domestic cup holders from 1982-83 onwards. Levski Sofia, as the club to have won the Soviet Army Cup most times, were awarded the original trophy to keep in their collection.
The most successful club in the cup tournament is Levski Sofia, having won 25 titles. Levski Sofia also hold the record for the biggest win in a Bulgarian Cup final, winning 5–0 against Pirin Blagoevgrad in 1992 and 5–0 against CSKA Sofia in 1998. CSKA Sofia are the only team to have claimed the trophy, from outside the top level of Bulgarian football, doing so in 2016, while representing the third tier of the country's football pyramid. Furthermore, CSKA Sofia hold the record for winning the most consecutive Bulgarian Cups, achieving that on two occasions, between 1972-1974 and 1987-1989.
Performance by club
A summary of the performance of various clubs who have taken part in the competition is shown in the table below.
From 1982–83 onward the Bulgarian Cup was the major Cup tournament.
From 1981 until 1990 there were two Cup tournaments.
In 1981 the Cup of Bulgaria was not a serious tournament because only 4 teams took part: CSKA Sofia, Slavia Sofia, Levski Sofia and Botev Plovdiv. It was part of the commemorations for 1300 years of Bulgaria.
UEFA doesn't recognize as official the 1981 and 1982 tournaments of the Bulgarian Cup and also doesn't recognize as official the Cup of the Soviet Army. This fact has been acknowledged by of Lyubomir Serafimov, a football statistician. Its significant that the participants in the 1981–82 European Cup Winners' Cup and 1982–83 European Cup Winners' Cup are teams who won the last two Official Cups of the Soviet Army - Botev Plovdiv and Lokomotiv Sofia.
From 1997 to 2011 the Bulgarian Cup is sponsored by the American car manufacturer Ford and its official distributor in Bulgaria Moto-Pfohe. From season 2011–12 the Bulgarian Cup is sponsored by the Bulgarian Corporate Commercial Bank.