Football in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Football in Bosnia and Herzegovina
CountryBosnia and Herzegovina
Governing body Football Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina
National team(s) men's national team
National competitions
Club competitions
International competitions

Association football is the most popular sport in Bosnia and Herzegovina since after gaining independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, in 1995 they played their first international game against Albania, but they made the debut at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, their first ever appearance in the tournament. The popular team that is supported is FK Sarajevo.


It is governed by the Football Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina governing body in country, the national team has never qualified for the UEFA European Championship after failing at the play-offs by three teams. The football governing body has the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina and also the Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Cup. The teams also make the European international competitions like UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and also the new UEFA Europa Conference League tournament.

National team of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Vedad Ibisevic scored Bosnia's first ever FIFA World Cup goal in a 2-1 loss to Argentina. 20150331 2202 AUT BIH 2609 Vedad Ibisevic.jpg
Vedad Ibišević scored Bosnia's first ever FIFA World Cup goal in a 2–1 loss to Argentina.

The team has only qualified for a major international tournament once as an independent nation, reaching the 2014 FIFA World Cup. [2] [3] It is yet to qualify for a UEFA European Championship, coming closest by losing to Portugal in the play-offs for UEFA Euro 2012. [4] [5] [6] [7]

Bosnia's home ground is Bilino Polje Stadium in the city of Zenica. The national team's first international victory as a FIFA member came against 1994 FIFA World Cup runners-up Italy on 6 November 1996. [8] [9] [10] The national team's highest FIFA World Ranking was 13th in August 2013. [11] [12] October 2013 FIFA World Rankings, used to seed qualified teams in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final Draw, placed Bosnia and Herzegovina as the highest ranked team of all former Yugoslav republics for the first time in history. In the past years, the national side finished twice among the top three best movers in FIFA World Ranking of the year. In their first game at their first World Cup, centre-forward Vedad Ibišević scored Bosnia's first ever goal at a major tournament in the country's history in a 1–2 loss to two-time World Cup winning opposition Argentina.

Bilino Polje the stadium of the Bosnian national football team Bilino Polje Stadium (wide angle).jpeg
Bilino Polje the stadium of the Bosnian national football team

History of club competitions

The game reached Bosnia and Herzegovina at the start of the 20th century, with Sarajevo (in 1903) [13] and Mostar (in 1905) [14] being the first cities to embrace it. Banja Luka, Tuzla, Zenica and Bihać were next along with numerous smaller towns as the sport spread. The country was under Austro-Hungarian rule when official competition began in 1908, though these activities were on a small scale within each territory. [15] At the outbreak of World War I, there were four clubs in Sarajevo; SAŠK, Slavija, Đerzelez (also known as Sarajevski), [16] and Makabi Sarajevo (also known as Barkohba) [17] and approximately 20 outside the capital. The creation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia post 1918 brought an increase in the number of leagues, and soon a domestic national championship was organised. The Yugoslav football league system was based in numerous subassociations which served as competitions which determined the local representants of the subassociations in the national final stage, the Yugoslav championship. In 1920, the Sarajevo football subassociation was founded which included besides Sarajevo and its outskirts, also most of eastern Bosnia and western Serbia. The Banja Luka football subassociation included most of the western Bosnia and an area usually known as Krajina, while the Podrinje region souranding city of Bijeljina was part of the provincial leagues of the Belgrade football subassociation. The unified Yugoslav championship ran until the start of Secomd World War with 1939/40 season having been the last to have been completed. In this period 3 clubs from modern-day territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina managed to qualify for the final stages of the Yugoslav championships, SAŠK and Slavija, both from Sarajevo, and Krajišnik from Banja Luka. Many local players became targets of dominating teams and had successful careers such as Florijan Matekalo, Petar Manola, Milan Rajlić, Stanko Zagorac, Aleksandar Mastela or Branko Stanković.

The Football Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was founded after the Second World War, as the subdivision of the Yugoslav Football Association. The new communist authorities abolished the former league sistem and disbanded numerous clubs while created others. The era from 1945 till 1992 can be marked by the emergence of a highly competitive and quality lague, characterized by the appearance of a chronical "Big 4" contenders for the title (Red Star, Patizan, Hajduk and Dinamo Zagreb) but with a particularity that highlights Bosnian football which is that their clubs were always present in the First Legaue and FK Sarajevo, and Željezničar even won championships and created one of the most intense outsiders derbies at time, the Sarajevo derby.

Club football

Bosnia and Herzegovina's best sides at the time of former Yugoslavia were Sarajevo, Željezničar (Sarajevo) and Velež (Mostar) which played in the Yugoslavian first league, second league and cup competitions with moderate success, while its best players with the likes of Vahid Halilhodžić, Safet Sušić, Josip Katalinski, Faruk Hadžibegić, Ivica Osim, Asim Ferhatović, Blaž Slišković, Mehmed Baždarević, Dušan Bajević and many others were chosen to represent SFR Yugoslavia national football team. [18]

Other notable clubs that participate in Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina are HŠK Zrinjski Mostar, NK Čelik Zenica, NK Široki Brijeg, FK Sloboda Tuzla, as well as FK Borac Banja Luka.


Ultras are common there with the biggest names as Manijaci the supporter group of Željeznicar, Horde zla The supporter group of FK Sarajevo and the BHFanaticos the supporter group of the national side.

Related Research Articles

FK Borac Banja Luka Association football club in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Fudbalski klub Borac Banja Luka is a professional association football club, based in the city of Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it is the major part of the Borac Banja Luka Sports Society. Borac Banja Luka is the most successful club in Republika Srpska, and one of the most popular football club in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The name Borac means "Fighter".

Football Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Football Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina, based in Sarajevo, is the chief officiating body of football in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Bosnian football association was founded as the Sarajevo football sub-association of Yugoslavia in 1920. In 1992 the association was re-founded as the football association of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

FK Željezničar Sarajevo

Fudbalski klub Željezničar Sarajevo, commonly referred to as Željo, is a professional football club, based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The name Željezničar means “railway worker", originating from their establishment by a group of railway workers in 1921. Throughout its history, the club has cultivated a reputation for producing talented home-grown players through its academy.

1991–92 Yugoslav First League

The First League of Yugoslavia's 1991/1992 season was the 64th edition of the Yugoslav First League, the premier football club competition of SFR Yugoslavia. It was the last edition in which professional football teams from SR Bosnia and Herzegovina and SR Macedonia participated, as well as the last of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in general as the First League of FR Yugoslavia was established the following season. Red Star Belgrade won the competition.

Milomir Odović "Oda" was a Bosnian professional football manager and player, best known for his playing and managing days at Bosnian Premier League club Željezničar, where he is a club legend.

FK Radnik Bijeljina

Fudbalski klub Radnik Bijeljina is a professional association football club based in the city of Bijeljina that is situated in northeast Bosnia and Herzegovina. The club plays its home matches on the Bijeljina City Stadium, which has a capacity of 6,000 seats. The name Radnik means worker.

The 2009–10 Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina was the tenth season since its establishment and the eighth as a unified country-wide league. It began on 1 August 2009 and will end in May 2010. Zrinjski Mostar were the defending champions.

Vinko Marinović is a Bosnian professional football manager and former player who is the manager of Bosnian Premier League club Sarajevo.

The Bosnian Footballer of the Year, since 2008 renamed to Idol Nacije, is an annual award given to the best Bosnian football player of the year, as well as recognising and awarding other sports men and women, coaches and game officials in the country. The event was held in 2001 under the Bosnian banner for the first time, with Sergej Barbarez winning the most prestigious award for best player of the year, and again in 2003.

HŠK Zrinjski Mostar

HŠK Zrinjski Mostar is a professional football club, based in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The club plays in the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and has been one of the top teams in the country over the last few years.

FK Željezničar's 2011–12 season was their 14th successive season in the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina which saw Željezničar win the league title for the 5th time.

The 2013–14 Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Cup was the nineteenth season of Bosnia and Herzegovina's annual football cup, and a fourteenth season of the unified competition. The winner would have qualified to the second qualifying round of the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League.

2013–14 FK Sarajevo season FK Sarajevo 2013-2014 football season

The 2013–2014 season was FK Sarajevo's 14th (20th) in Bosnian Premier League, 54th consecutive season in the top flight and 66th season in existence of the club.

2012–13 FK Sarajevo season SD FK Sarajevo 2012–2013 football season

The 2012–2013 season was FK Sarajevo's 13th (19th) in Bosnian Premier League, 53rd consecutive season in the top flight and 65th season in existence of the club.

Clubs from Bosnia and Herzegovina have played in European competitions since the 1967–68 season, when Yugoslav champions Sarajevo took part in the European Cup. They defeated Cypriot team Olympiakos Nicosia in the first round and then lost to Manchester United in the second round.

2014–15 FK Sarajevo season SD FK Sarajevo 2014-2015 football season

In 2014-2015 season, FK Sarajevo played in the Bosnian Premier League and became the champion for the fifth time in the history of the club.

The history of football in Bosnia and Herzegovina dates back to the early 1900s during the Austro-Hungarian rule.

Football is the most popular sport, both in terms of participants and spectators, in Sarajevo. Sarajevo has several of Bosnia and Herzegovina's significant football clubs.

The 2017-2018 season was FK Sarajevo's 18th (24th) in Bosnian Premier League, 58th consecutive season in the top flight and 70th season in existence of the club.


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