|Number of teams||10|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||Druga HNL|
|Domestic cup(s)|| Croatian Cup |
Croatian Super Cup
|International cup(s)|| UEFA Champions League |
UEFA Europa Conference League
|Current champions|| Dinamo Zagreb (22nd title) |
|Most championships|| Dinamo Zagreb |
|Most appearances||Jakov Surać (453)|
|Top goalscorer||Davor Vugrinec (146)|
|TV partners|| T-Hrvatski Telekom |
|Current: 2020–21 season|
The Croatian First Football League (Croatian : Prva hrvatska nogometna liga, pronounced [pr̩̂ːʋaː xř̩ʋaːtskaː nôɡomeːtnaː lǐːɡa] ), also known as Prva HNL or 1. HNL or, for sponsorship reasons, the Hrvatski Telekom Prva liga, is the top Croatian professional football league competition, established in 1992. The winners and second placed enter the qualifying stages of the UEFA Champions League. Dinamo Zagreb are the most successful club with 21 titles overall. They are followed by Hajduk Split with six titles. Rijeka and NK Zagreb each have won one title.
Since 2003, the league has been named after its main sponsor, giving it the following names (Logos see below):
The league was formed in 1991, following the dissolution of the Yugoslav First League, and is operated by the Croatian Football Federation. Since its formation, the league went through many changes in its system and number of participating clubs. In the first three seasons two points were awarded for a win, from 1994–95 season this was changed to three points. Each season starts in late July or early August and ends in May, with a two-month hiatus between December and February. Currently, there are ten teams participating in the league.
The first season started in February 1992 and ended in June 1992. A total of twelve clubs contested the league and at the end of the season no teams were relegated as it was decided that the league would expand to 16 clubs for the following season. This was followed by another expansion to 18 teams in 1993–94 season, highest number of participating teams in Prva HNL history. The following season, number of teams was reduced again to 16. 1995–96 Prva HNL was the first season to feature separate A- and B- leagues, with a complicated two-stage format to the season. Twelve teams contested the A league, while the B league, formally the second level, consisted of ten teams. In March, the teams were split into three groups: Championship group (consisting of first five teams from A league and the first-placed team of the B league), A play-off group (remaining teams from A league and the second-placed team of the B league) and B play-off group (remaining teams from B league). The first two teams of the B play-off group were placed in the A league for the following season, which featured 16 teams in both A and B league. In the 1997–98 Prva HNL, the league consisted of 12 team and a new format was used. In March, teams were split into two groups of six, Championship and Relegation group, with 50% of their points taken to this phase of the competition. At the end of the season, the last team was directly relegated to the Druga HNL and the second-last team went in the relegation play-off, a two-legged tie against the second-placed team from the Druga HNL. This system was used for two seasons, followed by 1999–2000 Prva HNL where each club playing every other club three times for a total of 33 rounds. Next season featured a return of Championship and Relegation group system but without 50% points cutoff. This system was used until 2005–06 season, with a brief expansion to 16 teams in 2001–02 season. The 2006–07 season brought back a 33 rounds system previously used in 1999–2000 Prva HNL. In the 2009–10 season, the league was expanded to 16 teams. This lasted for three seasons, and in the 2012–13 Prva HNL season, the league was contested by 12 teams playing a total of 33 rounds. From the 2013–14 Prva HNL season, number of teams was reduced to ten.
The league's main sponsor is T-Hrvatski Telekom, owned by the German telecommunications firm Deutsche Telekom. At the end of the 2014–15 season, Croatian First Football League was ranked 17th in Europe. The champions of the 2015–16 Croatian First Football League will qualify for the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League, the runners-up will qualify for the second qualifying round of UEFA Europa League, while the third-placed team will qualify for the first qualifying round of UEFA Europa League. The winners of the 2015–16 Croatian Football Cup will qualify for the third qualifying round of UEFA Europa League.
The following ten clubs compete in the 2020–21 Croatian First Football League season, the 30th season since the league's establishment.
Five of the ten clubs currently competing in the Croatian top level also had spells in the Yugoslav First League played from 1945 to 1991 before Croatian clubs abandoned the competition (Dinamo Zagreb, Hajduk Split, Lokomotiva, Osijek, Rijeka). Four other Croatian clubs which had appeared in the top Yugoslav league (Cibalia, RNK Split, NK Zagreb and Trešnjevka) are currently playing in Croatian lower levels.
As of 2020, only four of the 12 founding members of the Croatian league have never been relegated: Dinamo Zagreb, Hajduk Split, Osijek and Rijeka.
|First season in|
|Number of seasons|
in top division
|Number of seasons|
in 1. HNL
|First season of|
current spell in
|Best top level|
|Dinamo Zagreb ‡||1st||1946–47||75||30||1946–47||1st||25 (2019–20)nb1|
|Hajduk Split ‡||5th||1923||92||30||1923||1st||15 (2004–05)nb2|
|Rijeka ‡||3rd||1946–47||59||30||1974–75||1st||1 (2016–17)|
|Šibenik †||2. HNL1st in||1992||19||19||2020–21||4th||N/A|
† – One of the 12 founding members of the league in the inaugural 1992 season.
‡ – Appeared in all 30 seasons up to and including the current 2020–21 season.
nb1 – Dinamo Zagreb tally includes four Yugoslav and 21 Croatian league titles.
nb2 – Hajduk Split tally includes nine Yugoslav and six Croatian league titles.
The breakup of Yugoslavia saw top flight league split into several smaller ones. This meant separation of Croatian football association from the Football Association of Yugoslavia and launch of their own football league. Prva HNL saw its first edition in 1992. Hajduk Split and HAŠK Građanski took part in European competitions on account of qualification secured at the end of the 1990–91 Yugoslav football season: HAŠK Građanski were runners-up in the 1990–91 Yugoslav First League and qualified for 1991–92 UEFA Cup while Hajduk Split won the 1990–91 Yugoslav Cup and entered 1991–92 European Cup Winners' Cup. Due to war both clubs had to host their European matches abroad, in Austria.
Affected by the ongoing war in Croatia, the first Prva HNL season was held over the course of a single calendar year, from February to June 1992. Neither Hajduk Split (1992 Croatian champions) nor Inker Zaprešić (1992 Croatian Cup winners) could enter European competitions the following 1992–93 season as the Croatian Football Federation, the league's governing body, wasn't yet recognized by UEFA and officially became its affiliate as late as June 1993.
Eight times in history have HNL teams entered the group stages of UEFA Champions League. In the 1994–95 season, Hajduk Split eliminated Legia Warsaw in the qualifying round and entered the group stage. They advanced to quarterfinals as group runners-up behind Benfica but were eliminated by eventual winners Ajax. In the 1998–99 season, Croatia Zagreb qualified over Celtic and finished in second place behind Olympiacos, but failed to advance as only first place teams and two best runners-up went through. The following season, Croatia also entered the group stage after eliminating MTK Budapest in the third qualifying round. Drawn in the group with Manchester United, Olympique Marseille and Sturm Graz, they finished last, winning only against Sturm and drawing away at Manchester and Marseille. In the 2011–12 season, Dinamo Zagreb advanced through three qualifying rounds and were drawn in the group with Real Madrid, Lyon and Ajax. The following season, Dinamo Zagreb also advanced to the group stages and was drawn in the group with Dynamo Kyiv, Paris Saint-Germain and Porto. They lost five group matches, drawing with Dynamo Kyiv in the last round. In the 2015-16 season, Dinamo Zagreb entered the group stage and recorded notable win 2-1 over Arsenal. Next season, 2016-17, another qualification followed. Latest entry to the group stage was in 2019-20 where Dinamo Zagreb finished 4th behind Manchester City, Atalanta and Shakhtar with 2 draws vs Shakhtar and 4-0 win over Atalanta.
Europe's top football body, the UEFA, ranks national leagues every year according to coefficients calculated based on each nation's clubs results in international competitions. The ranking takes into account results over the previous five seasons to determine the nation's European quota for the following season, i.e. how many berths in European competitions is assigned to clubs from each of UEFA's 55 member associations.
As of 2020, Croatia's First Football League is ranked 20th in Europe with a coefficient score of 24.875, meaning four Croatian clubs could qualify for European competitions in the 2020–21 season.
UEFA also maintains a separate club ranking, based on each club's international results, used to determine seeds in draws for the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. This is calculated through a combination of each club's results as well as the ranking of its national league. As of 2020 Dinamo Zagreb is the top rated Croatian club, ranked 48th in Europe.
Source: Bert Kassies' website (country rankings; team rankings); last updated 17 January 2021
In past, only one match in each round (derby match) was broadcast on television. In the 2008–09 season there were some changes. Croatian national TV Network (HRT) started the new TV show Volim Nogomet (I Love Football), made in association with league's main sponsor T-Com. In the show, five matches were broadcast combined on Sunday afternoons, while the derby match was on program at 20.15 CET, so viewers could watch all the matches. There were also experts in the studio, commenting on matches and other things non-related to football. Main initiator of the project was famous Croatian football player and then president of T-Com 1. HNL organisation Igor Štimac.Most of the clubs weren't satisfied with the scheduling of fixtures and demanded a move from Sunday afternoon to Saturday evening. This was done at the start of the following season and the only match played on Sunday was the derby match. However, during the mid-season project was cancelled and the old system with one broadcast per round was returned.
In November 2010, broadcasting rights were sold to marketing agency Digitel Komunikacije for a period of five years, beginning with 2011–12 season. After the negotiations fell through with public broadcasting television HRT, which covered Prva HNL for the past twenty seasons, Digitel signed a deal with T-Hrvatski Telekom. The matches are currently broadcast on Arenasport, a cable television network with five channels, available to subscribers of MAXtv, IPTV solution from T-HT subsidiary T-Com. All matches are broadcast live every week on Arenasport. All highlights are displayed on Sunday evening on RTL 2 and HRT 2.
|Season||Total attendance||Number of |
|†||League champions also won the Croatian Football Cup, i.e. they completed the domestic Double.|
|a||Player received award for top league scorer|
|Season||Champions (titles)||Runners-up||Third place||Top league scorer|
|1992||Hajduk Split (1)||NK Zagreb||Osijek||Ardian Kozniku (Hajduk Split)||CRO||12|
|1992–93||Croatia Zagreb (1)||Hajduk Split||NK Zagreb||Goran Vlaović (Croatia Zagreb)||CRO||23|
|1993–94||Hajduk Split (2)||NK Zagreb||Croatia Zagreb||Goran Vlaović (Croatia Zagreb)||CRO||29|
|1994–95||Hajduk Split (3) †||Croatia Zagreb||Osijek||Robert Špehar (Osijek)||CRO||23|
|1995–96||Croatia Zagreb (2) †||Hajduk Split||Varteks||Igor Cvitanović (Croatia Zagreb)||CRO||19|
|1996–97||Croatia Zagreb (3) †||Hajduk Split||Hrvatski Dragovoljac||Igor Cvitanović (Croatia Zagreb)||CRO||20|
|1997–98||Croatia Zagreb (4) †||Hajduk Split||Osijek||Mate Baturina (NK Zagreb)||CRO||18|
|1998–99||Croatia Zagreb (5)||Rijeka||Hajduk Split||Joško Popović (Šibenik)||CRO||21|
|1999–2000||Dinamo Zagreb (6)||Hajduk Split||Osijek||Tomo Šokota (Dinamo Zagreb)||CRO||21|
|2000–01||Hajduk Split (4)||Dinamo Zagreb||Osijek||Tomo Šokota (Dinamo Zagreb)||CRO||20|
|2001–02||NK Zagreb (1)||Hajduk Split||Dinamo Zagreb||Ivica Olić (NK Zagreb)||CRO||21|
|2002–03||Dinamo Zagreb (7)||Hajduk Split||Varteks||Ivica Olić (Dinamo Zagreb)||CRO||16|
|2003–04||Hajduk Split (5)||Dinamo Zagreb||Rijeka||Robert Špehar (Osijek)||CRO||18|
|2004–05||Hajduk Split (6)||Inter Zaprešić||NK Zagreb||Tomislav Erceg (Rijeka)||CRO||17|
|2005–06||Dinamo Zagreb (8)||Rijeka||Varteks||Ivan Bošnjak (Dinamo Zagreb)||CRO||22|
|2006–07||Dinamo Zagreb (9) †||Hajduk Split||NK Zagreb||Eduardo (Dinamo Zagreb)||CRO||34|
|2007–08||Dinamo Zagreb (10) †||Slaven Belupo||Osijek||Želimir Terkeš (Zadar)||BIH||21|
|2008–09||Dinamo Zagreb (11) †||Hajduk Split||Rijeka||Mario Mandžukić (Dinamo Zagreb)||CRO||16|
|2009–10||Dinamo Zagreb (12)||Hajduk Split||Cibalia||Davor Vugrinec (NK Zagreb)||CRO||18|
|2010–11||Dinamo Zagreb (13) †||Hajduk Split||RNK Split||Ivan Krstanović (NK Zagreb)||BIH||19|
|2011–12||Dinamo Zagreb (14) †||Hajduk Split||Slaven Belupo||Fatos Bećiraj (Dinamo Zagreb)||MNE||15|
|2012–13||Dinamo Zagreb (15)||Lokomotiva||Rijeka||Leon Benko (Rijeka)||CRO||19|
|2013–14||Dinamo Zagreb (16)||Rijeka||Hajduk Split||Duje Čop (Dinamo Zagreb)||CRO||22|
|2014–15||Dinamo Zagreb (17) †||Rijeka||Hajduk Split||Andrej Kramarić (Rijeka)||CRO||21|
|2015–16||Dinamo Zagreb (18) †||Rijeka||Hajduk Split||Ilija Nestorovski (Inter Zaprešić)||MKD||25|
|2016–17||Rijeka (1) †||Dinamo Zagreb||Hajduk Split||Márkó Futács (Hajduk Split)||HUN||18|
|2017–18||Dinamo Zagreb (19) †||Rijeka||Hajduk Split||El Arabi Hillel Soudani (Dinamo Zagreb)||ALG||17|
|2018–19||Dinamo Zagreb (20)||Rijeka||Osijek||Mijo Caktaš (Hajduk Split)||CRO||19|
|2019–20||Dinamo Zagreb (21)||Lokomotiva||Rijeka||Mijo Caktaš (Hajduk Split)||CRO||20|
|Antonio Čolak a(Rijeka)||CRO|
|Mirko Marić (Osijek)||CRO|
|2020–21||Dinamo Zagreb (22) †||Osijek||Rijeka||Ramón Miérez (Osijek)||ARG||22|
Notes on name changes:
|1||GNK Dinamo Zagreb||30||2215||975||679||178||118||2401||840||22||4||2||28||1992||1992||1||69,64%||2,27|
|2||HNK Hajduk Split||30||1825||975||535||223||217||1924||1024||6||12||6||24||1992||1992||1||54,87%||1,87|
|6||NK Slaven Belupo||24||1021||797||262||231||304||1058||1170||0||1||1||2||1997–98||1997–98||2||32,87%||1,28|
|7||NK Varaždin (Varteks)||21||870||654||243||142||269||1047||1076||0||0||3||3||1992||2011–12||3||37,15%||1,33|
|9||NK Inter Zaprešić||20||739||647||193||160||294||783||1045||0||1||0||1||1992||2015–16||2||29,82%||1,14|
|13||NK Istra 1961||15||509||508||123||149||245||525||770||0||0||0||0||2004–05||2009–10||6||24,21%|
|15||NK Hrvatski Dragovoljac||7||312||237||81||69||87||327||455||0||0||1||1||1995–96||2013–14||3||34,17%|
|17||NK Kamen Ingrad||6||217||191||59||40||92||314||386||0||0||0||0||2001–02||2006–07||4||30,89%|
|25||HNK Dubrovnik 1919||3||77||86||18||23||45||54||133||0||0||0||0||1992||1993–94||11||20,93%|
|26||NK Pomorac Kostrena||2||72||62||19||15||28||78||93||0||0||0||0||2001-02||2002–03||7||30,64%|
|29||NK Varaždin (2012)||2||64||72||15||19||38||59||80||0||0||0||0||2019-20||2019–20||8||20,87%|
|30||NK Primorac 1929||2||60||64||18||17||29||69||103||0||0||0||0||1993–94||1994–95||14||28,12%|
|32||NK Croatia Sesvete||2||39||63||9||13||41||61||147||0||0||0||0||2008–09||2009–10||12||14,28%|
|33||NK Radnik Velika Gorica||2||33||64||12||9||43||47||161||0||0||0||0||1992–93||1993–94||13||18,75%|
|36||HNK Vukovar '91||1||30||33||7||9||17||32||56||0||0||0||0||1999–2000||1999–2000||12||21,21%|
|38||HNK Orijent 1919||1||26||30||5||11||14||28||53||0||0||0||0||1996–97||1996–97||14||16,67%|
|40||NK TŠK Topolovac||1||14||30||4||2||24||31||95||0||0||0||0||2001–02||2001–02||16||13,33%|
|2020–21 Prva HNL|
|2020–21 Druga HNL|
|2020–21 Treća HNL|
|No longer exists|
|Updated 9 May 2021|
(Bold denotes players still playing in the Prva HNL,
italics denotes players still playing professional football).
Players in the Prva HNL compete for the Prva HNL Top scorer trophy, awarded to the top scorer at the end of each season. Former Dinamo Zagreb striker Igor Cvitanović held the record for most Prva HNL goals with 126 until April 2012. Cvitanović finished among the top ten goal scorers in 7 out of his 11 seasons in the Prva HNL and won the top scorer title two times. During the 1997–98 season, he became the first player to score 100 Prva HNL goals. On 14 April 2012, Davor Vugrinec scored his 127th goal and surpassed Cvitanović's record.Vugrinec retired in May 2015 with 146 goals on his tally. Only two other players have reached the 100-goal mark, Joško Popović and Miljenko Mumlek.
Since the first Prva HNL season in 1992, 19 different players have won the top scorers title. Goran Vlaović, Robert Špehar, Igor Cvitanović, Tomislav Šokota and Ivica Olić have won two titles each. Dinamo Zagreb provided most top scorers in Prva HNL with 12. Eduardo holds the record for most goals in a season with 34, done with Dinamo Zagreb in the 2006–07 season.Six goals is the record individual scoring total for a player in a single Prva HNL match, held by Marijo Dodik.
Dinamo Zagreb became the first team to have scored 1,000 goals in the league after Etto scored in a 4–0 victory over NK Zagreb in the 2005–06 season.The highest-scoring match to date in the Prva HNL occurred on 12 December 1993 when Dinamo Zagreb defeated minnows NK Pazinka 10–1.
|Updated 23 February 2020|
(Bold denotes players still playing in the Prva HNL,
italics denotes players still playing professional football).
There are three awards for best players in the Croatian First League:
Hrvatski nogometni klub Cibalia, commonly known as Cibalia Vinkovci or simply Cibalia, is a Croatian football club from the town of Vinkovci in eastern Croatia. Cibalia currently play in the Druga HNL, Croatia's second tier league. Their stadium is located in the south part of their home town and can hold 12,000 spectators. The name Cibalia comes from the Roman settlement called Colonia Aurelia Cibalae which was the precursor of the present-day town of Vinkovci. In the period from 1945 to 1990 the club was called NK Dinamo Vinkovci.
The Croatian Football Cup, also colloquially known as Rabuzinovo sunce, is an annually held football tournament for Croatian football clubs and is the second most important competition in Croatian football after the Prva HNL championship. It is governed by the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) and usually runs from late August to late May. Cup winners automatically qualify for next season's UEFA Europa Conference League, except when cup winners are also Prva HNL champions, in which case their berth in the Europa Conference League goes to the best placed team in the Prva HNL who haven't qualified for the UEFA competitions through their league performance.
The 1992 Croatian First Football League was the first season of the top Croatian football league. It was the inaugural season of the league established following Croatia's independence from Yugoslavia. Affected by the political and social upheavals stemming from the breakup of Yugoslavia and the early stages of the 1991–95 war, the season was drastically shortened and played over the course of less than four months, from 29 February to 13 June.
The 2007–08 Croatian First Football League was the seventeenth season of the Croatian First Football League, the national championship for men's association football teams in Croatia, since its establishment in 1992. The season started on 20 July 2007 and ended on 10 May 2008. Dinamo Zagreb were the defending champions, having won their eleventh championship title the previous season, and they defended the title again, after a win against Međimurje on 12 April 2008.
Nogometni klub Lokomotiva Zagreb, commonly known as Lokomotiva Zagreb or simply Lokomotiva, is a Croatian professional football club based in Zagreb. It competes in the Croatian First Football League, the country's top division. Founded in 1914, the club's only period of success came in the late 1940s and early 1950s before spending most of the following five decades in lower-level leagues.
The 2010–11 Croatian First Football League was the 20th season of the Croatian First Football League, the national championship for men's association football teams in Croatia, since its establishment in 1992. It began on 23 July 2010 and ended on 21 May 2011. Dinamo Zagreb were the defending champions, having won their 12th championship title the previous season, and they defended the title again.
Franko Andrijašević is a Croatian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for HNK Rijeka, on loan from K.A.A. Gent.
GNK Dinamo Zagreb are an association football club from Zagreb, Croatia. Home matches were played at the club's ground, Maksimir Stadium. Dinamo's season officially began 1 June 2010 and concluded on 30 May 2011, although competitive matches were played between 13 July and 25 May. During the season they competed in the Prva HNL, the highest division in Croatian football, and the Croatian Cup. They also played a total of twelve European games, first in the preliminary stages of the 2010–11 UEFA Champions League and later in the 2010–11 UEFA Europa League.
The 2010–11 season was the 100th season in Hajduk Split's history and their twentieth in the Prva HNL. Their second-place finish in the 2009–10 season meant it was their 20th successive season playing in the Prva HNL. It was the third tenure for manager Stanko Poklepović at Hajduk, after he was appointed following Edoardo Reja's departure to Lazio in February 2010. Poklepović won the Croatian Cup's previous season, his third silverware. The season covers a period from 1 June 2010 to 31 May 2011.
The 2011–12 Croatian First Football League was the 21st season of the Croatian First Football League, the national championship for men's association football teams in Croatia, since its establishment in 1992. The season started on 23 July 2011 and ended on 12 May 2012.
The 2012–13 Croatian First Football League was the 22nd season of the Croatian First Football League, the national championship for men's association football teams in Croatia, since its establishment in 1992. The season started on 21 July 2012 and ended on 26 May 2013.
Mislav Oršić is a Croatian professional footballer who plays as a left winger or attacking midfielder for Prva HNL club Dinamo Zagreb and the Croatia national team.
The 2013–14 season was the 103rd season in Hajduk Split’s history and their twenty-third in the Prva HNL. Their 4th place finish in the 2012–13 season means it is their 23rd successive season playing in the Prva HNL.
The 2015–16 Croatian First Football League was the 25th season of the Croatian First Football League, the national championship for men's association football teams in Croatia, since its establishment in 1992. The season began on 10 July 2015 and ended on 14 May 2016.
The 2017–18 Croatian First Football League was the 27th season of the Croatian First Football League, the national championship for men's association football teams in Croatia, since its establishment in 1992. The season started on 14 July 2017 and ended on 19 May 2018.
The 2017–18 season was the 107th season in Hajduk Split's history and their twenty-seventh in the Prva HNL. Their 3rd-place finish in the 2016–17 season means it was their 27th successive season playing in the Prva HNL.
The 2018–19 Croatian First Football League was the 28th season of the Croatian First Football League, the national championship for men's association football teams in Croatia, since its establishment in 1992. The season started on 27 July 2018 and finished on 26 May 2019.
The 2019–20 Croatian First Football League was the 29th season of the Croatian First Football League, the national championship for men's association football teams in Croatia, since its establishment in 1992. The season started on 19 July 2019. It was temporarily postponed from 12 March to 5 June 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020–21 Croatian First Football League was the 30th season of the Croatian First Football League, the national championship for men's association football teams in Croatia, since its establishment in 1992. The season started on 14 August 2020 and finished on 22 May 2021.
The 2021–22 Croatian First Football League will be the 31st season of the Croatian First Football League, the national championship for men's association football teams in Croatia, since its establishment in 1992.