This article is about "The Double" in football. For other uses, see Double.
The Double, in association football, is the achievement of winning a country's top tier division and its primary cup competition in the same season. It can also mean beating a team both home and away in the same league season, a feat often noted as doing the double over a particular side.
Due to the sporadic nature of football competitions in the country, with a league not in place until the 21st century, and only the United Football League (UFL) to last more than a season, and a national cup competition not being consistently held annually, achieving a double has been mostly impossible until recently. The establishment of the UFL in 2009 led to annual league and cup tournaments. The institution of the PFF National Men's Club Championship (the national cup) in 2011 (next held in 2013) after years of dormancy meant that a domestic treble could now be contested. In 2013, a super cup is expected to be played, paving the way for a UFL treble.
Since the establishment of the UFL in 2009, a league double has been achieved twice. A domestic double (a title each from the UFL and the PFF) or a domestic treble (a UFL double and a PFF title) has yet to be won.
Currently in the United States, the Double may mean either the MLS Double, which is achieved by winning both the MLS Supporters Shield and the MLS Cup, or a league/cup Double of either the MLS Cup or Supporters Shield, in addition to the US Open Cup or Canadian Championship for United States and Canadian clubs, respectively. The Double may also be a combination of any of the domestic cups mentioned above and the CONCACAF Champions League. As of 2013, neither team has achieved the Double of either an MLS honour or a domestic cup and the CONCACAF Champions League in the same season, or a Treble of any combination mentioned.
The following is a list of doubles in the United States in the MLS era:
Due to the large size of the country and the late development of the transportion and communication infrastructure needed to support it, a nationwide first division football competition did not emerge until 1971 with the founding of Campeonato Brasileiro Série A. The Copa do Brasil is even more recent, beginning in 1989. Since then, there has been only one domestic double at national level. Cruzeiro won the honours in 2003 (as part of The Treble), after also taking the title in their state league, the Campeonato Mineiro and the Brazilian Cup, the Copa do Brasil
Prior to this, there were several instances of clubs winning their state league and either a local cup competition, or the now defunct nationwide Taça Brasil.
Prior to the break up of the Soviet Union, Armenian clubs were part of Soviet competition. Ararat Yerevan was one of just two non-Russian clubs to win the Soviet double, in 1973, with Nikita Simonyan at the helm. They also won the post-independence Armenian Double in 1993.
A national cup competition was introduced in Germany in 1935, and was known as the Tschammer-Pokal for the country's then minister of sport. Between 1935 and the suspension of cup play in 1944 because of World War II, the Double was won only once.
Play for what had become the DFB-Pokal was resumed following the war in 1953 and up until well after the formation of the Bundesliga in 1963, no club was able to complete the double. A new cup trophy was introduced as it was felt the previous one was associated with the Nazi period.
In the modern-day Bundesliga era, the double has been won by several clubs.
Bayern Munich (9) 1969, 1986, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2013 ( As part of treble)
Following World War II, a separate football competition emerged in the Russian-occupied eastern area of Germany. The first division DDR-Oberliga was active from 1947–48 to 1990–91 (not held 1960–61) and saw the introduction of the FDGB-Pokal in 1949. The cup competition was not staged in 1950–51, 1952–53 and 1960–61. Five doubles were won in East German competition:
In Luxembourgian football, the Double is made up of the National Division title and the Luxembourg Cup. As there are no other senior football competitions in the country, and no club have never come close to winning any European tournament, the Double is the ultimate achievement for a Luxembourgian club in one season.
By far the most successful club has been Jeunesse Esch, who have completed eight Doubles.
Sheriff Tiraspol were only founded in 1997, but have come to dominate the Moldovan game, winning every title from 2001 to 2010 inclusive. Six of these were double wins (Moldovan National Division and Moldovan Cup). However Sheriff have never won the Moldovan Super Cup in any of their Double-winning years, though one reason for this was the Super Cup was not played in 2009 and 2010. One other club has won the double, Zimbru Chişinău in 1998.
In Portugal, the Double is called "Dobradinha" and is achieved by winning the Portuguese Liga and the Portuguese Cup. Without surprise, only the Big Three have done it since the nationwide round-robin league competition was introduced in 1934.
On account of the League Cup having been introduced in 2007 only, a Treble has been considered since the Portuguese Supercup was introduced in 1979. Winning it after achieving the Double (contested between the League champion and the Cup runner-up when Doubles happen) was attained only by Sporting (1982 and 2002) and F.C. Porto (1998, 2003, 2006 and 2009).
Sporting was the first side to achieve the Double (1941) as well as the first domestic Treble (1982). Benfica never achieved any type of Treble, but holds the record for Doubles (9). Benfica also became the only side to complete the double of League and League Cup in 2009–10.
1Benfica also Doubled F.C. Porto in 1981 and 1983, and could have made it Treble, since the Supercup was already existent (since 1979): Porto not only saved a triple horror by winning the 1981 and 1983 Supercups, but filling the slot for European Cup Winners' Cup 1983–84 as 1983 Portuguese Cup runners-up, they even managed to reach the final, failing their first Quadruple in 1984 by a close margin.
2In 1974, Sporting was the first team to win the Double over the same team, making Benfica running up in both League and Cup. Almost winning a European Treble, Sporting saw 1. FC Magdeburg win 1974 Cup Winners' Cup after being eliminated by them in the semi-finals by one goal and after a series of misfortunes (two injuries, an own-goal at home, a missed penalty and a shot on the post). That year, Hector Yazalde established a record of goals scored in one Portuguese football season which still lasts to this day.
Six teams achieved the Double of the Soviet Top League and the USSR Cup in the former in the Soviet Union. The final Soviet championship was contested in 1991 and, following the break-up of the USSR, newly independent states organised their own national competitions, with UEFA holding the Russian Premier League / Russian Cup as successor to the old Soviet league / USSR Cup.
In Sweden, six teams have won the double when counting winning the highest league tier, Allsvenskan, and the national cup tournament, Svenska Cupen, during the same season. It should however be noted that Svenska Cupen wasn't introduced until the 1941 season while Allsvenskan started for the 1923–24 season. Svenska Cupen was also not played between 1954 and 1966. It should also be considered that winning Allsvenskan did not grant the title of Swedish champions until 1931 and between 1982 and 1992 when the title was given to the winner of other cup tournaments that were organized at the end of the league season. The number of doubles for IFK Göteborg and Malmö FF are affected by this. IFK Göteborg won the Swedish Championship together with Svenska Cupen in one additional season to the table below, they won the two titles in 1983, a year when they did not win Allsvenskan. Additionally while Malmö won Allsvenskan in 1989, they were not Swedish Championships for that season as they did not win the play-off following the ordinary league play. All other teams in the table below won the Swedish Championship in their double-winning seasons. The latest club to win a double is AIK who completed the feat in 2009. In 1982, IFK Göteborg also managed to combine it's double with winning the UEFA Cup.
Prior to the break up of the Soviet Union, Ukrainian clubs were part of Soviet competition. Since 1992, the country has had its own domestic competition. Dynamo Kyiv has 4 Soviet and 7 Ukrainian Doubles among its honours.
Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro and Serbia
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia included clubs which are today part of competitions in Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia. By the mid-1990s, as the Yugoslav state broke up, the league was reduced to clubs from only Serbia and Montenegro. In 2006, Montenegro seceded, and ran its own league from 2006–07 onwards.
A rarer, and less coveted, domestic double is that of winning the league championship and the League Cup. In many leagues this can not be done as there is no second domestic cup competition (as in Italy and the Netherlands) or it has been disbanded (such as in Spain and Denmark). The format of league cups and the number of participating teams can vary enormously from one country to another. In the case of Germany, it should be noted that the DFB-Ligapokal was played in the summer months prior to the Bundesliga and therefore was won in the preceding calendar year to the title win.
A very rare event. A Trans-State double occurs when a club wins a league and a cup which technically belong to two different countries and different associations. This happens as a result of a change in the political situation in the club's home country. There are two useful examples:
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In the same spirit as the European Treble, the European Double consists of winning the top tier European tournament (currently the UEFA Champions League) and domestic league title in a single season or calendar year. This has been achieved on 23 occasions by 15 clubs from 56 European competitions. FC Barcelona has achieved this on the most number of occasions (4). Ajax Amsterdam and Real Madrid are the only teams that have successfully defended a European Double. Jose Mourinho has the unique distinction of being the only manager to achieve this double with two different clubs, having done so with F.C. Porto (2004) and Internazionale (2010).
The UEFA Europa League (formerly the UEFA Cup), with a domestic league title win, offers the chance for a club to win a lesser European double; but arguably a more prestigious achievement than a domestic double. This has been completed on fourteen occasions.
Simlarly, there were six occasions of clubs winning their League and the now defunct UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (CWC). No club ever won the CWC as part of a recognised treble. In the case of FC Mageburg and Dynamo Kiev, it is also worth noting that the domestic Championships they won are also now disbanded, due to German reunification and the disintegration of the Soviet Union respectively.
A Domestic Cup Double consists of winning both domestic cup competitions in a single season or calendar year (for seasons when this double was won in conjunction with the league title see Domestic Treble). Examples include:
There have been several occasions when a club has won its Association's cup or League Cup and a UEFA trophy but not its League title. For European cup doubles won in conjunction with the League title, see The Treble.
Espanyol won the Copa del Rey and Copa Catalunya in 2006. This would not normally be counted as a domestic cup double comparable to those mentioned above, as the latter competition is not nationwide or league-wide.
A national team cannot usually win a FIFA World Cup and their continental championship in the same year because they are usually not held in the same year (except for the Africa Cup of Nations), but one which wins both titles consecutively could be said to have "done the double".
Sven-Göran Eriksson is the only manager to win a domestic double in three different countries, having done so in Sweden, Portugal and Italy with Göteborg (1981–82), Benfica (1982–83) and Lazio (1999–00) respectively. Note that this included back-to-back double wins in separate countries.