🇽🇰 KOSOVO 🇽🇰
The Kosovo Championship was established in 1945 as a sub-division of the Yugoslav Football Championship. In 1990, the championship became independent of the Yugoslav championship, but it was abandoned because of the war in 1997. It resumed in 1999 and Kosovo declared independence in 2007. The UEFA recognises the Kosovan federation in May 2016. The Kosovo championship is dominated by FC Pristina.
The twelve best teams meet 3 times in the Kosovo championship. At the end of the 30 matches, the 1st is crowned champion and qualifies for the Champions League. The winner of the Kosovo Cup qualifies for the Europa League. The bottom of the Kosovo championship is relegated to the second division. At the end, the 11th and 12th are directly relegated to the second division. The 9th and 10th play a play-off match against the 3rd and 4th in the second division respectively.
Football has been played in Kosovo since the early 20th century. It is said that the first ball was brought by a student from Grenoble, France, and that Austro-Hungarians serving in Kosovo started playing football as early as 1914.
The first clubs were established in 1922 in Gjakova and Pristina, soon followed by others.
Following the Second World War, between 1945 and 1991, football developed rapidly in Kosovo. The Kosovo Football Federation was formed in 1946 and helped found the Yugoslav Football Association (YFA) in 1948.
FK Priština was a well-known club in the Yugoslav elite, FK Trepça also played at the highest level, while the Second Division regularly had three or four Kosovar clubs. Kosovo had its own league, the winner of which joined the Yugoslav Second Division. Kosovar officials held many positions in the YSF and referees were in charge of matches in the federal championship.
By 1991, when the Yugoslav bloc broke up, Kosovar football was at its peak, but political and security concerns put a damper on the sport. Fortunately, a Kosovar Football Federation (KFF) was formed in August 1991.
The first match was played at the Flamurtari Stadium in Pristina on 13 September 1991, marking the start of the first independent league in Kosovo. The First Division consisted of 20 clubs.
Almost 18 months later, a Kosovo national team played its first international match against Albania (losing 3-1). Ten years later, the rematch in Pristina saw Albania win again.
As soon as the war in Kosovo ended in 1999, the Federation was reorganised: the Association’s assembly was constituted, the statutes came into force, the clubs were confirmed and several committees were established.
The Kosovo First Division currently has 12 clubs. KF Feronikeli have two league titles and two national cups to their name.
In 2014, FIFA allowed Kosovo to play international friendlies, with the team holding Albania to a 2-2 draw in Pristina in November 2015, shortly after Albania qualified for UEFA EURO 2016.
FFK became UEFA’s 55th member association at the UEFA Congress in Budapest in May 2016.
A historic moment for football in Kosovo took place on 5 September 2016, when the national team started the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in Finland (1-1).
Bersant Celina, and Milot Rashica Donis Avdijaj are considered young talents of Kosovo. They all play for top European clubs, and have played for other national teams before at youth level.