Yugoslav First League
|Yugoslav First League|
|• Kingdom of Yugoslavia
• SFR Yugoslavia
|Yugoslav Second League|
|Number of Seasons|
|Level on Pyramid|
|Last Champions 1991-92|
|• Prva liga BiH
(since 1996 as FIFA, 1998 as UEFA member)[b]
since 2000 Premijer Liga BiH
• Prva liga SR Jugoslavije
since 2006 Superliga Srbije and Prva crnogorska fudbalska liga
• Prva HNL
• 1. MFL
• 1. SNL
The Yugoslav First League (Serbian: Prva savezna liga u fudbalu, Serbian Cyrillic: Пpвa Лигa; pronounced [pr̂ːvaː lǐːɡa], Croatian: Prva savezna liga u nogometu) was the premier football league in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1918–1941) and socialist Yugoslavia (1945–1991).
The First League Championship was one of two national competitions held annually in Yugoslavia, the Yugoslav Cup being the other.
The league became fully professional in 1967.
The UEFA recognised successor league of the Yugoslav First League, the First League of FR Yugoslavia, despite the succession and same name "Prva savezna liga", it is covered in a separate article.
- 1 Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1923–1940)
- 2 SFR Yugoslavia (1945–1992)
- 3 Successor leagues
- 4 See also
- 5 References
Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1923–1940)
This was the first club competition on a national level for clubs from Kingdom of Yugoslavia (named the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes until 1930). The league was started in 1923 and the first four seasons had a cup tournament format, while the first round-robin league competition was held in 1927. In the period from 1927 to 1940 seventeen seasons were completed, with all the titles won by clubs from Croatia (Građanski Zagreb, Concordia Zagreb, HAŠK Zagreb and Hajduk Split) or Serbia (BSK Belgrade and Jugoslavija Belgrade).
It was governed at first by the Croatian-named Nogometni Savez Jugoslavije (Football Association of Yugoslavia), founded in April 1919 in Zagreb, until in late 1929 disagreements arose between the Zagreb and Belgrade branches of the association. This resulted in the association headquarters being moved to Belgrade in May 1930 where it adopted the Serbian name Fudbalski Savez Jugoslavije and continued operating the league until it was suspended due to the outbreak of World War II. Consequently with the moving of headquarters, Croatian players and coaches boycotted Yugoslav national team. With the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia, separate Croatian and Serbian leagues were established, which operated during the World War II.
Champions and top scorers
Performance by clubs
SFR Yugoslavia (1945–1992)
Champions and top scorers
- A special format tournament was held to re-affirm the newly found Yugoslav unity. The tournament consisted of eight teams: six representing Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia respectively, one representing Vojvodina, an autonomous region within Serbia and finally the Jugoslovenska Narodna Armija team, a selection of Yugoslav People's Army football players.
- The last championship started without clubs from newly independent Slovenia and Croatia, while clubs from Bosnia, with exception of FK Borac Banja Luka, too abandoned competition on a winter break with imminent country's independence, leaving only Serbian, Montenegrin and Macedonian clubs competing in the second half of the season. (See subsection on 1991-92)
Titles by club
|Red Star||19||1951, 1952–53, 1955–56, 1956–57, 1958–59, 1959–60, 1963–64, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1969–70, 1972–73, 1976–77, 1979–80, 1980–81, 1983–84, 1987–88, 1989–90, 1990–91, 1991–92|
|Partizan||11||1946–47, 1948–49, 1960–61, 1961–62, 1962–63, 1964–65, 1975–76, 1977–78, 1982–83, 1985–86, 1986–87|
|Hajduk Split||7||1950, 1952, 1954–55, 1970–71, 1973–74, 1974–75, 1978–79|
|Dinamo Zagreb||4||1947–48, 1953–54, 1957–58, 1981–82|
Titles by republic
|SR Serbia||32||Red Star, Partizan, Vojvodina|
|SR Croatia||11||Hajduk Split, Dinamo Zagreb|
|SR Bosnia and Herzegovina||3||Sarajevo, Željezničar Sarajevo|
Performance by club
- *Known as BSK Belgrade before 1957
All-Time First Yugoslav League Table
Top 11 only: 
|1||Red Star Belgrade||1335||719||328||288||2560||1415||+1145||1766|
Best finish in Europe by club
Table only shows best-finish achievements in major European/Intercontinental competitions during the SFR Yugoslavia period (1945–1992).
No minor European tournaments (like Mitropa Cup) included.
Table sorted by success at European Cup / UEFA Champions League first and foremost.
|Club||European Cup / UEFA Champions League||UEFA Cup / Europa League||UEFA Cup Winners' Cup||UEFA Super Cup & Intercontinental Cup||Inter-Cities Fairs Cup||UEFA Intertoto Cup|
|Red Star Belgrade||Winner 1990–91||Runners-up 1978–79||Semi-finals 1974–75||Runners-up 1991||Winner 1991||Semi-finals 1961–62||–|
|Partizan||Runners-up 1965–66||3. round (3)
1974–75; 1984–85; 1990–91
|Quarter-finals 1989–90||–||–||2. round 1967–68||–|
|Hajduk Split||Quarter-finals (2)
|Semi finals 1983–84||Semi-finals 1972–73||–||–||2. round 1970–71||–|
|Vojvodina||Quarter-finals 1966–67||–||–||–||–||Quarter-finals 1961–62 as Novi Sad XI||Group Winner 1976|
|Sarajevo||2. round 1967–68||3. round 1982–83||–||–||–||–||Group Stage (2)
|Dinamo Zagreb||1. round 1982–83||2. round (3)
1971–72; 1976–77; 1988–89
|Semi-finals 1960–61||–||–||Winner 1966–67||–|
|Željezničar||1. round 1972–73||Semi-finals 1984–85||–||–||–||–||Group Stage 1965–66|
|OFK Beograd||–||Quarter-finals 1972–73||Semi-finals 1962–63||–||–||Semi-finals 1958–60 as Belgrade XI||–|
|Radnički Niš||–||Semi-finals 1981–82||–||–||–||–||Group Stage (2)
|Velež Mostar||–||Quarter-finals 1974–75||2. round (2)
|Rijeka||–||2. round 1984–85||Quarter-finals 1979–80||–||–||–||Quarter-finals 1962–63|
|Vardar||1. round 1987-88||2. round 1985–86||1. round 1961–62||–||–||–||–|
|Sloboda Tuzla||–||1. round 1977–78||N/A||–||–||–||Group Winner 1983|
|Rad Belgrade||–||1. round 1989–90||–||–||–||–||Group Runners-Up 1988|
|Olimpija Ljubljana||–||-||1. round 1970–71||–||–||1. round (2)
|Group Runners-Up 1990|
|Budućnost||–||–||–||–||–||–||Group Winner 1981|
|Čelik Zenica||–||–||–||–||–||–||Group Winner 1975|
|Borac Banja Luka||–||N/A||2. round 1975–76||–||–||–||–|
|Bor||–||N/A||1. round 1968–69||–||–||–||–|
While the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup is recognised as the predecessor to the UEFA Cup, it was not organised by UEFA. Consequently, UEFA do not consider clubs' records in the Fairs Cup to be part of their European record. However, FIFA do view the competition as a major honour.
All time top goalscorers
||This table possibly contains original research. (October 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
|#||Name||First League goals||First League matches||Goals per match ratio||Clubs||First League career|
|1||Slobodan Santrač||218||365||0.60||OFK Beograd, Partizan, Galenika||1965–1974, 1976–1980, 1982–1983|
|2||Darko Pančev||168||243||0.69||Vardar, Crvena Zvezda||1982–1992|
|3||Dušan Bajević||166||322||0.51||Velež Mostar||1966–1977, 1981–1983|
|4||Bora Kostić||158||257||0.61||Crvena Zvezda||1951–1961, 1962–1966|
|5||Frane Matošić||149||Hajduk Split||1946–1953|
|6||Toza Veselinović||145||227||0.64||Vojvodina, Partizan, Proleter Zrenjanin||1948–1949, 1951–1961, 1967–1968|
|=7||Zoran Prljinčević||129||Radnički Beograd, Crvena Zvezda|
|9||Dušan Savić||120||202||0.59||Crvena Zvezda||1973–1982|
|10||Dragan Džajić||113||330||0.34||Crvena Zvezda||1963–1973, 1974–1975, 1977–1978|
|11||Vojin Lazarević||112||188||0.60||Sutjeska, Crvena Zvezda||1964–1965, 1966–1970, 1972–1974|
|12||Josip Bukal||111||258||0.43||Željezničar||1963–1973, 1977–1978|
|13||Petar Nadoveza||108||217||0.50||Hajduk Split||1963–1973|
|14||Kosta Tomašević||104||156||0.67||Crvena Zvezda, Spartak Subotica||1946–1956|
|15||Vahid Halilhodžić||103||207||0.50||Velež Mostar||1972–1981|
|16||Snješko Cerin||103||Dinamo Zagreb|
|17||Petar Nikezić||102||301||0.34||Vojvodina, Osijek||1967–1978, 1979–1982|
|18||Zlatko Vujović||101||240||0.42||Hajduk Split||1977–1986|
Notable clubs (at least 10 top-flight seasons or at least one title)
Over the years the Yugoslav First League featured many different teams, but there were always a number of teams that stood out, typically from the bigger cities. Among these were:
The 1990-91 season was the last season held in its usual format, with clubs from all federative units participating in the championship. The breakup of the country also broke up its top-flight league into several smaller ones.
Slovenia and Croatia depart
In June 1991 Slovenia declared independence and Croatia followed suit in October of the same year. This meant that their football associations separated from the Football Association of Yugoslavia so they both started their own football leagues. The Slovenian PrvaLiga was launched in late 1991, while the Croatian Prva HNL saw its first edition in 1992. Affected by the ongoing war in Croatia, the season was held over the course of a single calendar year, from February to June 1992. Both leagues have been going on ever since.
The 1991-92 season was the last season held officially under the name of SFR Yugoslavia, even though Slovenian and Croatian clubs have already abandoned the competition to play in their own leagues. Clubs from the remaining four federative units all took part in the competition, but since the Bosnian War broke out towards the end of the season, Bosnian clubs never finished it. (Željezničar of Sarajevo only managed to play 17 out of 33 scheduled fixtures, while Sloboda Tuzla and Velež Mostar ended the season with a few games short of completing the season.) Still, since most of the games were played as planned, Crvena Zvezda of Belgrade is credited with winning the last Yugoslav First League championship.
Macedonia and FR Yugoslavia
Macedonian clubs abandoned the competition after the 1991-92 season because the new Macedonian First League was launched the following season. For the 1992-93 season Bosnian clubs were all on hiatus due to full blown fighting that developed there, with the sole exception of Borac of Banja Luka (the strongest Bosnian Serb side at the time) which temporarily moved to Belgrade and joined the newly formed league featuring clubs from Serbia and Montenegro, this time restyled as the First League of FR Yugoslavia. (Serbia and Montenegro, the only ones left after other four member republics declared independence, renamed their country Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.) The league lasted under that name until the 2002-03 season, when the country changed its name so the league was renamed First League of Serbia and Montenegro. Finally, in June 2006 Montenegro declared independence and peacefully departed the union, so from the 2006-07 season onwards Montenegro started operating separate top-flight football league supervised by its football association. On the other hand, as the legal successor of Serbia-Montenegro state union, Serbia also got the continuity of the country's league that was formed as Prva liga (First League) in 1992, and renamed and rebranded as Superliga in summer 2005.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina proclaimed independence in late winter 1992, and already in April same year N/FSBiH applied for membership with FIFA and UEFA. Meanwhile, due to the outbreak of Bosnian War in April 1992 no games were played in the 1992–93 season. In late 1993 some parts of the country re-launched football competitions with reduced scope. But just as the country was divided along ethnic lines, so was football.
In 1993 Bosnian Croats launched the First League of Herzeg-Bosnia in which only Croatian clubs competed on parochial scale within the limits of West Herzegovina and few other enclaves. In the same year Bosnian Serbs also organized their own First League of the Republika Srpska, on a territory held by Republika Srpska regime at the time. Only football on a territory under the control of then Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina institutions and auspices of N/FSBiH, at the time consequently with Bosniak majority, apart from a brief competition for the season 1994–95 (won by Čelik Zenica), came to a standstill. Competition under auspices of N/FSBiH did not resume until 1995–96 season when the First League of Bosnia and Herzegovina was launched.
These three separate football leagues were operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina until 1998, and 2000. Since FIFA and UEFA showed support only for the association operating under patronage of the official and internationally recognized state institutions, during the war and prior to Dayton Peace Agreement as well as after its signage, they endorsed unification of all three organizations as N/FSBiH. This also came as a consequence of FIFA decision to recognize N/FSBiH already in July 1996, while in the same year UEFA admitted N/FSBiH as an adjecent member until 1998 when they recognized its full membership. This meant that only N/FSBiH clubs and its national team could compete at the international and official level.
Final unification has been preceeded by several stages. At first was created a playoff where clubs were playing for the champion under N/FSBiH auspices. Idea was that playoff under unified N/FSBiH auspices should bring together clubs competing under three separate organizations for the first time but was rejected by Serb association, leaving clubs from Croat football association and N/FSBiH participating playoff for the seasons 1997–98 and 1999–00, while 1998–99 playoff was canceled due to Croat's association hesitation on the decision on which stadiums games should be played. Next season playoff was resumed for the last time prior to full and final agreement on unified N/FSBiH and its competition, Premier League BiH (Premijer Liga), in the fall 2000. However, the first 2000–01 season seen clubs from Federation of BiH only, while clubs from Republic of Srpska entity continue to compete in their own separate league as their entity association still refused to join agreed unified N/FSBiH and its new competition. However, UEFA and FIFA never intended to recognize this separate organization nor its competition, which meant clubs couldn't compete outside territory of the entity and wouldn't see any international football. This situation forced clubs to insist that their organization also join N/FSBiH, and two years later they became part of the competition for the season 2002–03. Ever since the year 2000 Premier League is the top tier of Bosnia and Herzegovina football, with two entity-based leagues, First League of Republika Srpska and First League of the Federation of BiH, being pushed to the second tier of the football pyramid and serve as feeder leagues to Premier League.
Today's top flight successors
- Bosnia and Herzegovina → Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina (2000–present; from 1994–2000 had a First League of Bosnia and Herzegovina)
- Croatia → Prva HNL (1992–present)
- Kosovo → Vala Superliga e Kosovës (2016–present)
- Macedonia → First Macedonian Football League (1992–present)
- Montenegro → Montenegrin First League (2006–present; from 1992–2006 had a joint league with Serbia)
- Serbia → Serbian SuperLiga (2006–present, from 1992–2006 had a joint league with Montenegro)
- Slovenia → Slovenian PrvaLiga (1991–present)
UEFA recognised FR Yugoslavia and subsequently Serbia as the only official successor of Yugoslavia and consequently the clubs from FR Yugoslavia kept the ranking and ponctuation within UEFA.
- "Hstory". www.nfsbih.ba. N/FS BiH. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
- Moving with the ball: the migration of professional footballers by Pierre Lanfranchi and Matthew Taylor, pag. 119
- "Povijest - počeci" (in Croatian). Croatian Football Federation. Retrieved 2008-06-28.
- "Fudbalski savez Srbije - History". Football Association of Serbia. Archived from the original on 2 April 2009. Retrieved 2008-06-28.
- "Yugoslavia - list of topscorers". RSSSF. 14 December 2007. Retrieved 2008-06-26.
- The league had a contracted season. In 1939, Croatian and Slovenian clubs began leaving the Yugoslav Football Association and joining the newly found Croatian Football Federation, in protest of the alleged centralization of sport around Belgrade. A new Croatian-Slovenian Football League was started, while the Yugoslavian First League continued on, soon to be renamed the Serbian First League. The split was eventually rectified with the promise of an increase in the number of Croatian and Slovenian clubs in the league. In the end, a short ten-round season was held.
- The Yugoslav FA decided that the last round of fixtures had to be replayed, after accusations that certain results had been fixed. Partizan, who had won the title with a 4-0 over Zeljeznicar Sarajevo, refused, after which the game was awarded 3-0 to Zeljeznicar, which gave Crvena zvezda the title. Crvena zvezda played in the 1986/87 European Champions Cup. However, after a sequence of legal processes, the original final table, with Partizan as champions, was officially recognized, in 1987.
"Yugoslavia list of champions". RSSSF. 28 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-26.
- Ten clubs had started the 1986/87 season with a deduction of 6 points, among them Partizan and Crvena zvezda, because of the events in the previous season. Vardar Skopje, who had not been deducted 6 points, won the title, and participated in the 1987/88 Champions Cup, but the points deduction was later annulled after more legal proceedings, and the title was given to Partizan, who headed the table with the deduction.
"Yugoslavia list of champions". RSSSF. 28 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-26.
- All-Time Yugoslav First League Standings
- "UEFA Cup: All-time finals". UEFA. 30 June 2005. Retrieved 30 September 2010.
- "UEFA Europa League: History: New format provides fresh impetus". UEFA. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
- "Classic Football: Clubs: FC Barcelona". FIFA. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
"Classic Football: Clubs: AS Roma". FIFA. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
- "N/FSBiH History". www.nfsbih.ba. N/FSBiH. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
- History at FSS official website, Retrieved 4 October 2012 (Serbian)
- Serbia at FIFA official website
- News: Serbia at UEFA official website, published 1 January 2011, Retrieved 4 October 2012