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Football in Yugoslavia

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Football in Yugoslavia
Governing bodyFootball Association of Yugoslavia[1]
National team(s)Yugoslavia national football team
First played1873; 150 years ago (1873)
National competitions
Club competitions
International competitions

Football in Yugoslavia had different levels of historical development depending on the geographical regions.[2][3] Following the extreme popularity of the sport in Central Europe, it soon became the most popular sport in the territories of Yugoslavia as well.[4]


Football came to the region in the time of Austria-Hungary in the late 19th century, mostly with influences from Vienna, Budapest and Prague, but also England, and the region's first football match was played in Rijeka in 1873, between English and local railway engineers. Before the end of the century occasional matches were also played in Županja, Zadar, Zrenjanin, Subotica, Maribor, Zagreb and Belgrade. Football was first introduced in several multi-sport gymnastic societies, and the first club was established in Belgrade in 1899. In 1901, Bačka, the oldest still-existing football club in Yugoslavia, was founded in Subotica, where the first league competition started in 1908. Before World War I, organized competitions were also played in the territories of today's Croatia and Slovenia. On 13 June 1912, the football section of the Croatian Sports Federation was established as a forerunner of the Yugoslav Football Federation.

After World War I, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929, was formed, and territories with mixed sports development were united. The Yugoslav Football Federation was formed in Zagreb in 1919, while the first sub-associations were formed in Belgrade, Ljubljana, Split, Subotica and Sarajevo in 1920. The Yugoslav Football Championship was played beginning in 1923, when Građanski Zagreb became first champions. The first four seasons had a cup tournament format, while the first round-robin league competition was held in 1927. In the period from 1923 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). The Yugoslavia national football team was formed in 1920, when it participated at the Summer Olympics in Belgium. It soon became a force in European football and finished third in the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay.

Domestic Football

The monarchy was replaced by a socialist country after the Second World War. Many new clubs were formed and a new federal league was established to replace the old championship. The first season was played in 1946/47, and Partizan became the first postwar champions. The Yugoslav league soon became the most popular sport league in the country with average attendances usually over 10,000 spectators. The most successful clubs were known as the big four, Dinamo Zagreb, Hajduk Split, Red Star Belgrade, and Partizan Belgrade. Red Star won a record 19 championships and the European Cup in 1991; Partizan were runners-up of the same competition in 1966, while Dinamo won the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1967.[5][6][7] Other notable Yugoslav clubs were Olimpija Ljubljana, Željezničar Sarajevo, Velež Mostar, OFK Beograd, Vardar Skopje, Vojvodina, Rijeka and Sarajevo. Apart from the league, the Yugoslav Cup was also very popular, with the winner getting the Marshal Tito Trophy. The finals were first played on Republic Day (29 November), but the competition was then altered to correspond to the league season. The most successful team was Red Star with 12 titles. The Yugoslavia national football team continued with good results on the international scene, being participants in many European Championships and World Cups.[8]

National football team

Stjepan Bobek scored the most goals for the national team, while Dragan Džajić earned the most caps. The national team's best results were reaching the semi-finals in the 1962 World Cup and the finals in UEFA Euro 1960 and UEFA Euro 1968. Yugoslavia also hosted the UEFA Euro 1976 in the cities of Belgrade and Zagreb.[9]

In 1992, all the competitions were dissolved or altered following the Breakup of Yugoslavia and the consequent creation of independent states.[10][11]


# Stadium Capacity Opened Location Home Team
1 Stadion Crvena Zvezda 105,000 1963 Beograd FK Crvena Zvezda
2 Stadion Maksimir 65,000 1912 Zagreb NK Dinamo Zagreb
3 Stadion JNA 55,000 1949 Beograd FK Partizan
3 Stadion Poljud 55,000 1979 Split NK Hajduk Split
3 Stadion Koševo 55,000 1947 Sarajevo FK Sarajevo
6 Stadion Karađorđev park 33,000 1953 Zrenjanin FK Proleter Zrenjanin
7 Gradski stadion Banja Luka 30,000 1937 Banja Luka FK Borac Banja Luka
7 Stadion Gradski vrt 30,000 1958 Osijek NK Osijek
7 Stadion Grbavica 30,000 1953 Sarajevo FK Željezničar Sarajevo
10 Gradski stadion Subotica 28,000 1936 Subotica FK Spartak Subotica
11 Omladinski stadion 26,000 1957 Beograd OFK Beograd
12 Gradski stadion Priština 25,000 1953 Priština FK Priština
13 Stadion Čair 25,000 1963 Niš FK Radnički Niš
14 Stadion Mladost 25,000 1976 Kruševac FK Napredak Kruševac
15 Stadion Šumarice 24,000 1957 Kragujevac FK Radnički Kragujevac
16 Stadion Bilino Polje 23,000 1972 Zenica NK Čelik
17 Stadion Gradski park 23,000 1947 Skopje FK Vardar
18 Gradski stadion Novi Sad 22,000 1924 Novi Sad FK Vojvodina
19 Stadion Bijeli Brijeg 22,000 1971 Mostar FK Velež
20 Stadion Kantrida 22,000 1912 Rijeka NK Rijeka
21 Stadion Bežigrad 20,000 1935 Ljubljana NK Olimpija Ljubljana
22 Stadion Pod Goricom 20,000 1945 Titograd FK Budućnost Podgorica
23 Stadion Ljudski vrt 20,000 1952 Maribor NK Maribor
24 Stadion Jaklić 20,000 1984 Bugojno NK Iskra Bugojno
25 Stadion Mladost 18,000 1966 Vinkovci NK Dinamo Vinkovci
26 Stadion kraj Bistrice 15,000 1946 Nikšić FK Sutjeska Nikšić
27 Stadion kraj Ibra 15,000 1979 Titova Mitrovica FK Trepča
28 Stadion Kranjčevićeva 15,000 1921 Zagreb NK Zagreb
29 Gradski stadion Tetovo 15,000 1981 Tetovo FK Teteks
30 Stadion Tušanj 14,000 1957 Tuzla FK Sloboda Tuzla
31 Stadion Banjica 13,000 1977 Beograd FK Rad

See also


  1. ^ "Serbia finding their feet | Inside UEFA". July 9, 2018.
  2. ^ "Zvonimir Boban and the kick that started a war". 28 September 2015. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  3. ^ "Jonathan Wilson: Osim recalls what might have been for a brilliant Yugoslavia in 1990". Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  4. ^ Kajtezović, Adnan (2015). The disintegration of Yugoslavia and football (MA thesis). University of Iowa. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  5. ^ hermesauto (24 May 2016). "Football: Red Star's European Cup triumph 25 years ago - Yugoslav glory and requiem". Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  6. ^ "The Team Dismantled by War: Red Star Belgrade's Final European Triumph". 5 June 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  7. ^ Dunmore, Tom (16 September 2011). Historical Dictionary of Soccer. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810871885. Retrieved 22 November 2017 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ "90: 'The team was far better than the country' - The lost brilliance of Yugoslavia". 4 June 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  9. ^ "European Championships retrospective: Yugoslavia 1976 - World Soccer". 22 May 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  10. ^ "Yugoslavia and the breakup of its soccer team". Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  11. ^ Merrill, Austin (2 June 2010). "The Splintering of Yugoslavia and Its Soccer Team". The Hive. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
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Football in Yugoslavia
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