The first edition featured Romania, Greece, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria and was played over three years from 1929 to 1931. All teams played each other twice, home and away, and were awarded 2 points for a win and 1 point for a draw, with final ranking table determining the winner. Romania won the first title with a game in hand after beating Yugoslavia 4–2.
In the following tournaments the system saw significant changes, with teams playing each other only once, and instead of taking three years to complete it was shortened to just a single week. From 1932 to 1936 the competition was played every year with the same four teams until the outbreak of World War II.
After a seven-year hiatus due to World War II, the competition was revived in 1946. Greece dropped out of the tournament the same year, and was replaced by Albania, who went on to win the 1946 edition by defeating Romania 1–0 in the final game. In 1947 Hungary entered the tournament and won it in its first attempt. Hungary were a world footballing power at the time and proved this with a 9–0 thrashing against Bulgaria. In 1948 the Balkan Cup was expanded to seven teams with Poland and Czechoslovakia joining the tournament. However, the 1948 edition was never completed due to unknown reasons. Hungary were topping the group at the time of its cancellation. Because of the expansions, the 1947 and 1948 tournaments were officially renamed Balkan and Central European Championship.
The tournament was not played again until 1973 when a round robin group system was replaced by a knockout system with semi-finals and finals, played over three years. This time only four countries took part – Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece. Bulgaria won the final on away goals against Romania in 1976. In 1977 the second edition of the revived tournament was launched, this time consisting of five teams with Yugoslavia returning to take part. Romania went on to win the last edition in 1980 by beating Yugoslavia 4–1 at home in the final.
List of winners