The Turks Start Playing Football
The modern football was played in Selanik (now Thessaloníki) in the Ottoman
Empire in 1875 by the English people living there. It is also known that the
game was played at the meadows of Bornova, İzmir in 1877. The first club was
established in İzmir with a name "Football Club Smyrna" - Smyrna was the English
name for İzmir. Some of the English man brought the football with them to İstanbul
when they moved from İzmir, in 1895. They played the game at Kadıköy and Moda.
The first inter-city games were being played by İzmir and İstanbul select teams
in 1897, 1898, 1899, and 1904, İzmir select teams winning them all.
It is believed that the first Turkish man playing football was Selim Sırrı Tarcan who was
in İzmir on an assignment in 1898.
The game was prohibited in the Ottoman Empire at the beginning and it
was played by mostly the English families, Greek, Armenian, and Jewish
The first Turkish team played football in 1901 with an English name
"Black Stockings" (Siyah Çoraplılar). However, the police interrupted
the team's first game when they were losing 5-1 and arrested the players
they could catch.
The first club established was Cadi-keu FC (Kadıköy FK) in 1902. Later on
Moda FC, Elpis and Imogene FC followed.
The first league games in Turkey was held in İstanbul in 1904. This
league was called "The Constantinople Football League" originally. The
teams participating were called Kadıköy FC, Moda FC, Elpis, İmojen.
These teams were made up of the English, Greek, and Armenian minorities
living in Turkey. Later on the teams like Galatasaray SK, Fenerbahçe SK,
Rumblers, Progres(Altınordu), Telefoncular SK with Turkish players
joined the league. The league games were played on Sundays that’s why
the league was called also as the Sunday league.
In 1906, the football was a demonstration sport at the special Olympic Games
in Áthina. Two teams from the Ottoman Empire participated.
A team from Izmir as "Smyrna" and another from Selanik as "Selanik Music Club".
Izmir team was made up of mostly the English players and Selanik team was
made up of Greek players.
In the four team tournament, Áthina withdrew from the play-off game for the
second place. Denmark won the gold, Smyrna the silver, and Selanik the bronze.
The Smyrna team: Edwin Charnaud, Zarek Kuyumcuyan, Edouard Giraud, Jacques Giraud,
Henri Joly, Percy de la Fontaine, Donald Whittal, Albert Whittal, Godfrey Whittal,
Herbert Whittal, Edward Whittal
The Selanik team: Georgios Vaporis, Nicolaos Pindos, A.Tegon, Nicolaos Pentzikis,
Ioannis Kyrou, Georgis Sotiriadis, V.Zarkadis, Dimitrios Michitsopoulos,
A.Karangonidis, Ioannis - Saridakis, Ioannis Abbot
A second league had started in 1912 in İstanbul. The games for this
league was played on Fridays and the league was called the Friday
league. The teams playing in this league were Darülfünun SK, İstanbul
Jimnastik K (later on known as (Türk İdman Ocağı), Anadolu SK,
Sanayii FK, Şehremini SK, and Fenerbahçe SK (II). The Pazar league was
still the main league and they refused the promotion requests of the
Friday league until 1915-1916 season. In 1915-1916 they combined under
the name of the Friday League and played until 1923.
A third league in İstanbul had started in 1919-1920 by Beşiktaş JK,
which were denied the to join the Friday league. This league was called
"İstanbul Türk İdman Birliği".
Turkish Football Association is Established
The Türkiye İdman Cemiyetleri İttifakı (The Turkish Gymnastics Clubs
Union) was established for the Turkey in April 1922 combining the clubs in
other cities as well. TICI has setup a temporary committee to set up the
Turkish Football Federation under the name of "Futbol Encümeni". The committee
completed its work and the Football Federation was established in the
meeting of 23 April 1923 under the name of "Futbol Hey'et-i Müttehidesi".
Then the league games became more official. The federation started
soccer leagues in several cities like İstanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Adana, Eskişehir
More on Some of the Regional Leagues -------
Amateur National League and Cup Competitions
National Cup competition started much earlier than the National league - in 1923.
The competition is called as Türkiye Birinciliği.
This competition was the longest lasting competition.
After the professionalism, the competition accepted only the amateur clubs and was renames as
Türkiye Amatör Şampiyonluğu.
after the establishment of Turkish 3rd League, the competition continued as the Promotion Games to
Turkish 3rd League. When the promotions were decided the yearly competition was discontinued without
having one national champion. The competition was discontinued with the establishment of BAL - Regional
The federation held an inter-cities league called the Milli Küme games
between 1937 and 1950 this league is played between the teams from
İstanbul, Ankara, and İzmir. Only in 1941 a team from Eskişehir joined
Inter-city games by İstanbul, Ankara, and İzmir teams.
1941 games were played with 10 teams, adding an Eskişehir team and one other not
known for the time being.
1946 games were played with 6 teams only. 2 from İstanbul, Ankara, and İzmir each.
The rest of the games were played with 4 teams from İstanbul, 2 from Ankara and İzmir each.
1941 games were called Maarif Kupası.
1943 games were called Milli Eğitim Mukafatı.
The Winners ------------
1937 Fenerbahçe SK
1938 Güneş SK
1939 Galatasaray SK
1940 Fenerbahçe SK
1941 Beşiktaş JK
1942 not held
1943 Fenerbahçe SK
1944 Beşiktaş JK
1945 Fenerbahçe SK
1946 Fenerbahçe SK
1947 Beşiktaş JK
1948 not held
1949 not held
1950 Fenerbahçe SK
The Standings Year-by-Year -------------
Milli Küme Standings
Professionalism Starts at Turkish Football
In 1952 the professionalism in soccer was accepted and the pro-soccer
leagues started in İstanbul, Ankara, and İzmir. The amateur leagues were
also being held in these cities.
TFF had to organize two national cup tournaments to select the team to represent Turkey
at the European Champions' Cup, since there were no national league competition then in Turkey.
56-57 Federasyon Kupası
57-58 Federasyon Kupası
National League Starts
In 1959 the first Turkish League started. This weakened the pro-leagues
in the cities and after the initiation of the 2. and 3. Turkish Leagues
these regional pro-leagues stop playing and the cities leagues became
amateur leagues only.
The sources for the page:
1 - Milliyet Spor Ansiklopedisi
2 - Şener Yelkenci's input.
3 - M.İlter's unfinished work at utfp site.
4 - The Complete Book of Olympics by David Wallechinsky
5 - Internet site of Zaman Gazetesi
(C) Copyright Erdinç Sivritepe and Turkish Soccer
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