Football in Slovenia
CountrySlovenia
Governing bodyFootball Association of Slovenia
National team(s)men's national team
First played1991; 31 years ago (1991)
National competitions
Club competitions
International competitions

Football in Slovenia is governed by the Football Association of Slovenia (Slovene: Nogometna zveza Slovenije). Slovenia has participated in international football as an independent nation since 1991, when the country gained independence from SFR Yugoslavia. The Slovenia national football team has qualified for three major tournaments (UEFA Euro 2000, 2002 FIFA World Cup and 2010 FIFA World Cup).[1][2]

The three biggest clubs in Slovenia are Maribor, Mura and Olimpija.[3]

History

Since being part of Austria-Hungary, football came to the territories that are today part of Slovenia in the late 19th century from Vienna. The first football club was founded in 1900 by the German minority in Ljubljana, the Laibacher Sportverein.[4] They were soon followed by the Hungarian minority in Lendava (Nafta in 1903) and the German minority in Celje (Athletik SK in 1906).[5] The game soon spread among Slovenian high school students, who formed their own teams in most of Slovenia's major cities, most notable being Hermes in Ljubljana and Jugoslavija in Gorizia. In 1911, the first Slovenian citizens football club, Ilirija, was founded in Ljubljana, followed by Slovan two years later.[5]

After the end of World War I and the creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later renamed to Yugoslavia, the Yugoslav Football Association was formed, which was divided in regional subassociations. Football clubs Ilirija, Slovan and German teams from Maribor founded the Ljubljana Football Subassociation in 1920, which is the forerunner of today's Football Association of Slovenia. Ljubljana Subassociation covered the territory of Slovenia and was responsible for organizing the football activities within its territory. They formed the Slovenian national team, which played its first game against France in 1921.[6] At club level they formed a league system with several levels which started being played in 1920. The Ljubljana Subssociation first league champions played along the champions of the other Yugoslav subassociations in the Yugoslav Championship. The most successful teams were Ilirija with twelve subassociation titles, followed by I. SSK Maribor with three titles, and Primorje, SK Ljubljana and Železničar Maribor with two each. Stanko Tavčar was the first Slovenian footballer to play for the Yugoslav national team.[7] Most of the competitions were suspended in 1941 due to outbreak of World War II.

SK Ilirija squad, which won the first Slovenian regional championship in 1920.
SK Ilirija squad, which won the first Slovenian regional championship in 1920.

In SFR Yugoslavia, the majority of Slovenian clubs played in the Yugoslav football league system, while the Slovenian national team continued playing as a regional amateur selection. The first post-war champions, Nafta, competed in the Yugoslav top division in the 1946–47 season, an achievement that was later repeated only by Olimpija and Maribor. Olimpija was the most successful Slovenian team in the period; they played 22 seasons in the Yugoslav top flight, reached the Yugoslav Cup final in 1970, and also competed in European competitions on three occasions. Most Slovenian clubs usually played in the third-tier Slovenian Republic League, where the most successful teams were Maribor and Ljubljana with five titles each. During the 1945–1990 period, only a handful of Slovenian players managed to get into the Yugoslav national team, with Branko Oblak, Srečko Katanec and Danilo Popivoda being the famous three.

After Slovenia's independence in 1991, national league and cup competitions were formed on the basis of the old republic structures, with the first Slovenian PrvaLiga season therefore including 21 teams. In the same year, SR Slovenia regional selection reformed as the Slovenian national football team and played their first official match in 1992 against Estonia.[8]

League system

Level Division
1 Slovenian PrvaLiga
10 clubs – 1 or 2 relegations
2 Slovenian Second League
16 clubs – 1 or 2 promotions, 2 relegations
3 Slovenian Third League
West
14 clubs – 1 promotion
East
14 clubs – 1 promotion
Slovenian Intercommunal Leagues
4 MNZ Koper MNZ Nova Gorica MNZG-Kranj MNZ Ljubljana MNZ Celje MNZ Maribor MNZ Ptuj MNZ Lendava MNZ Murska Sobota
Littoral League Upper Carniola League Ljubljana Regional League Golgeter Intercommunal League 1. MNZ League Super League Pomurska League
5 N/A MNZ League N/A 2. MNZ League 1. Class MNL Lendava 1. MNL
6 N/A N/A 2. Class N/A N/A

References

  1. ^ "The Mouse That Roars: Slovenia (Not Slovakia)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  2. ^ Cain, Phil (22 June 2010). "Slovenia on brink of historic World Cup moment". BBC. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  3. ^ Uredništvo (30 March 2021). "Trije največji nogometni klubi v državi enotno proti zaprtju: Vlada ne pozna razmer v športu" (in Slovenian). Nogomania. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  4. ^ Zupan, Miha (30 June 2021). "Prvi nogometni klub v Sloveniji ni bil ustanovljen v Lendavi, ampak v Ljubljani" (in Slovenian). Nogomania. Retrieved 19 October 2021.
  5. ^ a b "Slovenia – List of Foundation Dates". RSSSF. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  6. ^ Jerič, Slavko (6 September 2013). "Prva tekma slovenske nogometne reprezentance že leta 1921" (in Slovenian). RTV Slovenija. Retrieved 22 July 2021.
  7. ^ "Tavčar Stanko". reprezentacija.rs (in Serbian). Archived from the original on 3 July 2015. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  8. ^ Plestenjak, Rok; Viškovič, Rok (11 October 2010). "Estonija zgodovinska za Slovenijo in tudi Keka" (in Slovenian). Siol. Retrieved 23 July 2021.