Football in Albania

Last updated
Football in Albania
CountryAlbania
Governing body Albanian Football Association
National team(s) men's national team
National competitions
Club competitions
International competitions

Football is the most popular sport in Albania, both at a participatory and spectator level. [1] [2] [ citation needed ] The Sport is governed by the Football Association of Albania (FSHF) (Albanian : Federata Shqiptare e Futbollit).

Contents

History of football in Albania

Football arrived in Albania at the beginning of the 20th century. The first recorded match was between students at a Christian mission in Shkodër. The game increased in popularity and by 1919 the first club, KS Vllaznia Shkodër had been founded. In 1920 SK Tirana was founded. Other towns and cities followed suit and on 6 June 1930 the Football Association of Albania (FSF) was established. The association became a member of football's governing body FIFA in 1932, and joined the European governing body UEFA in 1954 as a founding member.

A domestic championship began in 1930 with 6 teams. KF Tirana were the inaugural winners. They, together with such sides are KS Dinamo Tirana, Vllaznia Shkodër and FK Partizani, have continued to dominate the Albanian scene until the present day. The years following World War II saw a new political order, with the introduction of a communist system which had a positive impact as far as the game's appeal was concerned. Football was used as popular entertainment. Its infrastructure grew stronger as the game was organized and developed in state enterprises, schools, villages and towns. New institutional clubs were founded such as Partizani Tirana (1946) and Dinamo Tirana (1950) (governed respectively by the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Internal Affairs). [3] Until 1990 they were privileged in relation to the other clubs as they were able to get players from other teams.

From 1991, there were crucial political and economic changes that had a tremendous effect on the nation, as the centralized economy and political system came to an end. The result for the country's footballers was an opportunity to play their trade on foreign fields. Neighbouring Greece and the Balkan states were popular destinations for players who were good enough to go abroad.

League system

The Albanian league is split into 4 divisions. The Albanian Superliga (Albanian : Kategoria superiore) was formed in 1930. In 1998 it took its current name and is the highest level of Albanian Football. It currently comprises 10 teams. The Superliga displaced the First Division (Albanian : Kategoria e Parë) as the top division, and this is now Albanian Football's second tier. Below this is Second Division (Albanian : Kategoria e dyte), which is divided geographically into A & B.

The winners of the league are entitled to compete in the UEFA Champions League at the First qualifying round stage. The runners-up are entitled to compete in the UEFA Europa League, also at the First qualifying round stage. KF Tirana hold the record for Albanian league titles, with 24.

Level

League(s)/Division(s)

1

Kategoria superiore
10 clubs

↓↑ 2-3 clubs

2

Kategoria e parë
20 clubs divided in 2 series of 10 clubs

↓↑ 2-4 clubs

3

Kategoria e dytë
23 clubs + 3 Reserve teams divided in 2 series of 13 clubs

↓ 2-3 clubs ↑ 2-3 clubs

4

Kategoria e tretë
8clubs

Cup competitions

The Albanian Football Cup (Albanian : Kupa e Shqipërisë), which is the country's main knockout cup competition, was established in 1939. The winners are entitled to compete in the UEFA Europa League, at the First qualifying round stage. The most successful team in this competition, KF Partizani Tirana, has won the cup 15 times.

The Albanian Supercup , which started in 1989, is a single match played at the beginning of the season between the winners of the Superliga and the Albanian Cup. The most successful team in this competition, KF Tirana, has won 9 times.

Albania national team

Founded on 6 June 1930, Albania had to wait 16 years to play its first international match, which was against Yugoslavia in 1946. In 1932, Albania had already joined FIFA (during the congress 12 June - 16 June) and in 1954 it was one of the founding members of UEFA. Albania was invited to play in the 1934 World Cup, but did not take part due to logistical problems.

In addition to the senior football team, the national association places great importance on youth development work. There are championships at various age levels, including U-18, U-16, U-14, U-12 and U-10, while each club in the top 2 divisions is obliged to have a structured youth development programme in place. Moreover, there are regional select teams for all age levels. Albanian Football celebrated its greatest day on 29 March 2003, when the national team defeated Russia 3-1 in a EURO 2004 qualifying match in Tirana. Albanian teams have also recorded impressive results in the past, but major success has not yet come Albania's way. Albanian footballers are in great demand abroad. Some 200 Albanian players play their trade in a number of top leagues in Europe.

The most famous player at the moment is Thomas Strakosha, goalkeeper for Lazio in the Serie A.

Albania qualified for the first time UEFA Euro 1964 in Spain, in its first ever major men's national football Tournament. Albania did impress in their first ever Campaign! and reached the Round of 16 were they lost against the third best Team in this Tournament Denmark, despite their win in the Second leg in Tirana with 1-0 ! They finished this Tournament as the 9th best Team in Europe.

Albania lately Qualified for the UEFA Euro 2016 in France were they were Drawn in a Strong Group with the Host France , Switzerland and Romania. In their Second ever Campaign Albania started his first Groupstage Match against Switzerland. Despite being 0-1 down after an unlucky conceded goal from F.Schär in the 5th Minut. Albania did play an strong Match even tho with 10 men because Lorik Cana got an Red car for holding the Ball with his Hand in the 36 minute. Albania did everything in the second half and had 6 Minutes before the end an Amazing chance to Equalize in the closing stage of the Match, to get an deserved draw but Shkelzen Gashi missed an sitter in front off the Goali but despite that the Albanian Team was praised by the Football community for their stong performance.

In 2020, Albania won for the first time a group by finishing first in group 4 of UEFA Nations League C. Albania also won a spot for the play-offs of 2022 World Cup and was promoted in UEFA Nations League B.

See also

Related Research Articles

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The 2007–08 Kategoria Superiore was the 72nd season of top-tier football in Albania and the tenth season under the name Kategoria Superiore. The season began on 25 August 2007 and ended on 17 May 2008. KF Tirana were the defending champions, having won their twenty-third title the previous season.

The 2008–09 Kategoria Superiore was the 73rd season of top-tier football in Albania and the eleventh season under the name Kategoria Superiore. The season began on 24 August 2008 and ended on 23 May 2009. The defending champions were Dinamo Tirana.

2004–05 Albanian Cup was the fifty-third season of Albania's annual cup competition. It began on 28 August 2004 with the First Preliminary Round and ended on 11 May 2005 with the Final match. The winners of the competition qualified for the 2005-06 first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League. KF Partizani were the defending champions, having won their fifteenth Albanian Cup last season. The cup was won by KS Teuta.

In the 2014–15 season, Partizani Tirana competed in the Kategoria Superiore for the second consecutive season.

The 2015–16 Kategoria Superiore was the 77th season of the top Albanian professional league for association football clubs, since its establishment in 1930. It was organised by the Albanian Football Association and it was the 13th season under the name Kategoria Superiore, which took over from the Albanian National Championship in 2003. The season began on 21 August 2015 and concluded on 18 May 2016.

The 2015–16 season was Skënderbeu Korçë's sixth season competing in the Kategoria Superiore, having won five consecutive titles in the last five years. It covered a period from 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016.

The 2016–17 Kategoria Superiore was the 78th official season, or 81st season of top-tier football in Albania and the 17th season under the name Kategoria Superiore. Skënderbeu were the defending champions. The season began on 7 September 2016 and concluded on 27 May 2017.

In the 2016–17 season, Partizani Tirana competed in the Kategoria Superiore for the fourth consecutive season. The club also participated in the UEFA Champions League after Skënderbeu Korçë's exclusion from the European competitions during the season due to the match-fixing. That was the first participation in the Champions League after 23 seasons as well. In the league, Partizani finished in second place again after losing a title race with Kukësi.

The 2017–18 Albanian Superliga was the 79th official season, or 82nd season of top-tier football in Albania and the 18th season under the name Kategoria Superiore. The season began on 9 September 2017 and ended on 18 May 2018. Title record-holders KF Tirana did not participate in the top flight for the first time since competition's foundation. Kukësi are the defending champions. Skënderbeu, won the league title on 9 May 2018 with 3 matches to spare.

The 2018–19 Kategoria Superiore was the 80th official season, or 83rd season of top-tier football in Albania and the 19th season under the name Kategoria Superiore. The season began on 17 August 2018 and ended on 30 May 2019. Partizani, won the league title on 12 May 2019 with 3 matches to spare.

The 2019–20 Kategoria Superiore was the 81st official season, or 84th season of top-tier football in Albania and the 20th season under the name Kategoria Superiore. The season began on 23 August 2019 and ended on 29 July 2020. Tirana, won the league title on 19 July 2020 with 2 matches to spare.

The 2019–20 season is Tirana's's 3rd consecutive season in the Kategoria Superiore. The club is participating in the Kategoria Superiore and the Albanian Cup.

References

  1. Wilson, Jonathan (2011-05-03). "Albania loves football - just not the version played in its stadiums | Jonathan Wilson | Football". theguardian.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  2. "Albania cast their net wide and reap the dividends « World Soccer World Soccer". Worldsoccer.com. 2013-06-01. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  3. Eric Bourne. "How soccer could kick off better ties for Albania and Britain: World Cup match seen as boost to Tirana's bid to resolve old disputes". CSMonitor.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.