Slovenian Prva Liga - History


For more details on this topic, see List of Slovenian football champions.

Slovenian PrvaLiga is the highest league of association football in Slovenia. Also known by the abbreviation 1. SNL, PrvaLiga is contested on a round robin basis and the championship awarded to the club that is top of the league at the end of the season. The league was established after the independence of Slovenia in 1991, originally containing 21 clubs. Before that, top Slovenian teams competed in Yugoslavia with only Ilirija, ASK Primorje and after a forced merger of the two teams in 1936, Ljubljana ever reaching the country's highest division, Yugoslav First League. Olimpija Ljubljana, Maribor and Nafta were the only Slovenian teams who participated in the top division between the end of World War II in 1945 and the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991. While being a part of the Yugoslav football system, most of the Slovenian clubs competed for the title of regional champions in the Slovenian Republic Football League. However, the republic league was officially the third tier of football most of the time and the competition was usually without the top Slovenian clubs, who played in the Yugoslav Second League or the country's top division.

Following the independence of Slovenia, the Football Association of Slovenia separated from the Football Association of Yugoslavia and created their own football competitions. For the first time in history, top Slovenian clubs competed in the newly formed Slovenian football league for the title of Slovenian champion. Of the founding clubs in the PrvaLiga, only Maribor, Gorica and Celje have not been relegated. The format and the number of clubs in the league has changed over time, ranging from 21 clubs in the first season to 10 clubs in its present form. The top clubs at the end of the season are awarded a qualifying spot in the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League, with the bottom one being relegated to the Slovenian Second League, 2. SNL.

Olimpija Ljubljana won the first title. They had a long tradition of playing in the Yugoslav first league and their squad was still composed of players from that era. Olimpija Ljubljana dominated the league and won a further three championships before Gorica won their first in the 1995–96 season. Following Gorica's success, Maribor won their first championship in 1997. This started a record-breaking streak of seven successive league championships which came to an end when Gorica won their second title in the 2003–04 season. The club from Nova Gorica went on to win an additional two titles, becoming the third club to win three consecutive championships. During the 2006–07 season Domžale, a club that played in the Slovenian second division three seasons earlier, won their first title, a feat they repeated the next season. Following the 2008–09 season, Maribor became the dominant force in Slovenian football for the second time, having won three out of four championships since then, with Koper winning their sole title in 2010.

Maribor is the most successful club; they have won the championship ten times. The majority of Maribor's titles came during the late 1990s and early 2000s when the club was led by managers Bojan Prašnikar, Ivo Šušak and Matjaž Kek. Since 2009, Darko Milanič has led the club to three championships. Olimpija Ljubljana has won four titles, all in successive years between 1992 and 1995. In addition, Olimpija Ljubljana is the only Slovenian football champion no longer in existence, having been dissolved by the end of the 2004–05 season when they filed for bankruptcy. Tied with four championships is Gorica who won their first title in 1996 and an additional three in successive years between 2004 and 2006. Domžale has won two titles between 2007 and 2008, followed by Koper who won their only championship in 2010. Maribor has won the Slovenian version of the double the most; they have won the league and cup three times in the same season. The current champions are Maribor, who won the 2012–13 edition.

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