Football in Montenegro

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Montenegro was independent from the late middle ages until 1918, where the country became a part of various incarnations of Yugoslavia and the state union of Serbia and Montenegro. During this time, football in Montenegro was part of the wider Yugoslavian structures. As a result of the Montenegrin independence referendum held on May 21, 2006, Montenegro declared independence two weeks later, on June 3, and formed its own football association.[1][2]

Domestic competitions[edit]

The top-tier football competition in Montenegro is the Montenegrin First League. This had previously existed as a lower-level league in Yugoslavia and in Serbia and Montenegro. It is at the top of a pyramid of three leagues, of which the lowest, the Montenegrin Third League, is split into two regional competitions, one covering the north of the country and one for the south. Though no teams entered in the 2006/07 season, UEFA has confirmed that since 2007, the champions of the Montenegrin First League will enter the qualification tournament for the UEFA Champions League; the runners-up will enter the UEFA Cup and a third team will enter the Intertoto Cup.

Montenegro was always one of the junior members, footballing-wise, of the Yugoslav federation. The most successful Montenegrin football team of all time is FK Budućnost Podgorica (previously Buducnost Titograd). Prior to the accession of Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Macedonia from Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, they had been the only Montenegrin team to appear in the Yugoslavian First League. Their best finish in the league had been sixth place on three occasions, as well as appearances in the final of the Yugoslav Cup (later Serbia-Montenegro Cup) in 1965, 1977 and 2004. In 2005 they became the only Montenegrin team to compete in European football, appearing in the Intertoto Cup. After the reduction in the size of Yugoslavia (later Serbia and Montenegro), teams such as FK Mogren and FK Zeta also appeared in the national top league.

The premier cup competition in Montenegro is the Montenegro Cup, first contested in 2006/07. The winners enter the UEFA Cup.

League system[edit]

Level

League(s)/Division(s)

1

Telekom 1.CFL
12 clubs

↓↑ 1-3 clubs

2

Druga Liga
12 clubs

↓↑ 2 clubs

3

Montenegrin Third League
29 clubs

National team[edit]

The Montenegro national team played its first match in Podgorica on March 24, 2007, when they beat Hungary 2-1.[3] Its home stadium is Podgorica city stadium and its coach is legendary Montenegrin footballer Zoran Filipović. Montenegro are members of UEFA and play in a red kit with yellow trim. After independence in June 2006, Montenegro was still represented by the Serbia and Montenegro team which had qualified for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Serbia and Montenegro’s final game in this tournament, a 3-2 defeat against Côte d'Ivoire was the final game for the unified side.

History[edit]

Pre-2006[edit]

Football in Montenegro, as part of Yugoslavia, was organised first by the Football Association of Yugoslavia, founded in 1919 and renamed the Football Association of Serbia and Montenegro in 2003. Yugoslavia, later Serbia and Montenegro, was one of the leading countries in European football. They twice reached the semi-finals of the World Cup (in 1930 and 1962) and twice finished runners-up in the European Championships (in 1960 and 1968). Famous Montenegrins who played for the Yugoslav and Serbia and Montenegro team included Dragoljub Brnović, Dejan Savićević Milos Zaravic and Predrag Mijatović.

Domestically, the highest league in the area was the Yugoslav League Championship, which was awarded to the winner of the Yugoslav First League. The Montenegrin First League, during this time, was the highest league played on a Montenegrin level. It formed part of the third tier of football in Yugoslavia.

2006 FIFA World Cup[edit]

Following Montenegro's independence in June 2006, the Serbia team was seen as the successors to the Serbia and Montenegro team. However, at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, held in the latter half of June and in July 2006, Serbia and Montenegro continued to play, representing the two independent states of Serbia and Montenegro. Despite an impressive record in qualification for the tournament, the team struggled in a tough first round group and were eliminated having won no games, conceded ten goals and scored just two. After the tournament, the team disbanded and was replaced by Serbia.

Post-independence[edit]

The Football Association of Montenegro had been in existent as a sub-federation since 1931, but applied for independent membership of FIFA and UEFA on June 30, 2006. Full membership of UEFA was given in January 2007. Meanwhile, the association had continued to run the Montenegrin First League as the new country’s premier football competition. The winners of this will enter European competition in 2007. The new national team was organised and its first fixture was against Hungary in Podgorica on March 24, 2007. The Montenegrin side won the match 2-1.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.wsc.co.uk/the-archive/18-letter-from/1228-montenegro
  2. ^ http://goal.blogs.nytimes.com/author/david-gendelman/
  3. ^ http://goal.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/09/hey-mirko-vucinic-show-us-your-underalls/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

See also[edit]