When Were the Main Soccer Leagues Formed?

The main soccer leagues formed in an amateur way at the end of the 19th century. They became professional leagues in the first half of the 20th century.
When Were the Main Soccer Leagues Formed?

Last update: 30 September, 2020

For the most part, the main soccer leagues have played since the beginning of the last century. They’ve made lots of changes in terms of the game system and participants. In this article, we’ll tell you how they’ve developed throughout their history.

Formation of the main soccer leagues

They’re currently the most important leagues in the world, and all soccer players hope to be a part of one. However, in their early days, they had more modest formations. Here, we’ll tell you when the main soccer leagues formed:

1. Premier League (England)

It wasn’t founded under the name we know it today. In 1888, the official year of its inauguration, it was called the Football League First Division. Then, they changed it to the Premier League in 1992.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The First Division was born under the rules of the FA (Football Association), issued in 1863, which later replicated throughout Europe. The one in charge of shaping the tournament- the oldest in the world- was Aston Villa director William McGregor.

The first champion was Preston North End, and Liverpool was the top winner under the previous name. With the new name, Manchester United became the most successful team, mainly during the time when Sir Alex Ferguson was the coach.

2. Main soccer leagues: Serie A (Italy)

It’s also changed its name since it was originally formed. Formerly, between 1898 and 1929, it was known as the First Division of Italy. The first champion was Genoa, who repeated the feat two more times in a row. Then, Milan went on to be crowned in the already Italian Football Campionato.

Ronaldo playing for Juventus.

Serie A dates back to 1929 when soccer was professionalized in Italy. Juventus was one of the top winners, along with AC Milan and Inter.

3. La Liga (Spain)

At the beginning of the 20th century, soccer was becoming more popular in Spain, which is why different regional cups or championships formed. In 1903, the Spanish Championship was organized to include teams from all over the country.

After an assembly of the Spanish Federation in Madrid, they decided to create a regular tournament in 1929, known as the National First Division League Championship. The first champion was Barcelona, and in the following years, Athletic and Real Madrid also won. In fact, they are the three teams with an absolute presence in the first division.

In 1984, it changed its name to the National Professional Football League of the First DivisionAgain, the first champion was Barcelona. However, the top Spanish winner is Real Madrid, with 33 titles to their name, against 26 for the Catalan team.

4. Main soccer leagues: Bundesliga (Germany)

The first German championship took place between 1903 and 1933, after the creation of the German Football Federation. Then, this system was abolished by the Nazis and replaced by the Gauliga.

During the third Reich, between 1933 and 1945, the tournament was divided into regions and groups. From 1946 to 1948, the tournament was grouped according to the country’s division zone: American, French, British, Soviet, and Berlin.

Then, two tournaments took place at the same time in Germany: the Oberliga- of the Federal Republic of Germany, between 1946 and 1963- and of the German Democratic Republic- between 1949 and 1991.

What we know as the Bundesliga today dates from 1963. In fact, the first winner was Cologne, and it took place in West Germany. Then, in 1991, the rest of the country joined and was called FuBball-Bundesliga. The top champion is Bayern Munich with 28 titles.

5. Ligue 1 (France)

The first French championship was organized in 1894 and only five teams from Paris participated. Two years later, there were already 18 regional leagues, and the northern one stood out. It was only in 1932 when professional soccer settled in Gallic territory, with the implementation of the national championship and the French Cup.

Two soccer players on the field.

The first edition was organized in two groups, and the winner of each one played in the final; Cannes and Olympique Lillois were the ones in the final, and the latter won. The following season, they adopted the single 14-team format.

In fact, Division 1 had this name until 2002 when they changed it to Ligue 1. Saint Etienne is the top winner in history, with 10 titles.

The birth of the South American soccer leagues

Finally, other important soccer leagues that are worth highlighting are Argentina and Brazil. The first was an amateur team in 1891, and then they made it professional in 1931. Meanwhile, the Brasileirao was organized professionally since 1959 and changed its name to Taca Brasil in 1971.

As you can see, these leagues stand out not just for the players that show up every weekend, but also for their great history. It’s been a long time for many of them!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.