UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Developing football in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Football in Bosnia and Herzegovina can face the future with optimism.

Bosnia and Herzegovina at their first Futsal EURO in 2022
Bosnia and Herzegovina at their first Futsal EURO in 2022 ©AFP/Getty Images

Overview

With its new strategy document, the Football Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina (NSBiH) will look to address some issues with football in the former Yugoslav republic, while the association continues its drive to create better infrastructure for future generations, with 12 new hybrid pitches currently planned. The NSBiH is eager to improve the quality of its work in all areas, and improve the public image of the game, while there are some more specific targets:

  • The introduction of VAR technology for domestic competitions.
  • Improving the financing system in local football.
  • Establishing constructive talks on legal regulations regarding the status of some clubs.

Women’s football is also a key area for growth, with the NSBiH signing up to the UEFA Playmakers initiative in the hope of bringing more girls into the game. There us also a desire to bring more women into the game as coaches, referees and administrators, and more generally, a desire to ensure that former players remain in the game, attending seminars and receiving training to become the next generation of coaches and support professionals in the game.

Everyone should get the opportunity to develop a love for football and we are here to prepare guidelines and provide funds.

Vico Zeljković, NSBiH president

 

UEFA support

UEFA HatTrick funding is helping to improve the facilities for footballers across Bosnia and Herzegovina, with mini-pitches in schools (including one specifically for children with special needs) and full-sized artificial grass fields for a number of communities. UEFA also helped to fund work on the NSBiH House of Football and facilities at the national training centre.

UEFA Foundation for Children in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Set up in 2015, the UEFA Foundation uses football as a vehicle to help improve children’s lives by supporting hundreds of campaigns and projects across Europe and around the world.

Football for Peace Academy

By working with teachers, students and parents in ethnically-divided schools in the Central Bosnia canton, the Genesis Project, supported by the UEFA Foundation for Children, hopes to break down barriers to mutual comprehension and overcome ethnic separation between the ethnic groups present.

Timeline

Association history

1914 Football arrives in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s main cities in the early 20th century; at the outbreak of World War One, when Bosnia and Herzegovina is part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, there are four clubs in Sarajevo and approximately 20 outside the capital. 1923 SAŠK Sarajevo represent the Bosnia and Herzegovina in the newly-founded title competition in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, which Bosnia and Herzegovina joins in 1918. 1945 The Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Federation is founded, coming under the control of the newly-formed Yugoslav Football Association. The nation’s top clubs play in the Yugoslav leagues. 1967 FK Sarajevo win the first of two Yugoslav championships (the second comes in 1985); local rivals Željezničar win the crown in 1972, while Velež (1981 and 1986) and Borac Banja Luka (1988) win the Yugoslavian Cup. 1985 Željezničar reach the 1984/85 UEFA Cup semi-finals, losing out narrowly to Hungary’s Videoton; at this time, over 900 clubs are associated with the NFSBiH. 1992 Following independence, the NFSBiH seeks membership of football's governing bodies, but progress is interrupted by war. 1998 Two years after joining FIFA, the NSBiH becomes a UEFA member nation. 2002 The Football Association of Republika Srpska (FA RS) – the Serbian entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina – agrees to adopt the FA RS statutes in accordance with the NFSBiH and FIFA, as well as UEFA statutory provisions, thus agreeing to the start of a common domestic championship for the whole territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2002/03. Leotar are the inaugural champions. 2012 SFK 2000 Sarajevo qualified for the UEFA Women's Champions League knockout phase, in 2012/13 and 2016/17. 2013 A new training centre opens in Zenica in September 2013 for use by all national teams. 2016 The U17 national men's team qualify for their first-ever European finals in Azerbaijan in 2016; they make it to the final tournament in Croatia the following year too. Present day

National team history

1995 Bosnia and Herzegovina lose 2-0 to Albania in Tirana on 30 November – it is their first senior game as an independent nation. 2003 The national team draws 1-1 against Denmark in its final UEFA EURO 2004 qualifier; had they won, Bosnia and Herzegovina would have made it to the finals in Portugal. 2010 Bosnia and Herzegovina finish second in their qualification section for the 2010 World Cup behind Spain to earn a place in the play-offs for the finals; they narrowly lose out to Portugal. 2012 The national team loses out to Portugal in another play-off, this time for a place at UEFA EURO 2012, after Safet Sušić's men had run France close for an automatic qualifying berth. 2014 Bosnia and Herzegovina finally make it to their first major finals, competing in the World Cup in Brazil They achieved a first-ever finals victory, defeating Iran 3-1 following narrow losses to Argentina and Nigeria. 2016 Mehmed Baždarević’s side miss out on a place at UEFA EURO 2016 following defeat by the Republic of Ireland in the play-offs. 2022 Bosnia and Herzegovina compete at their first Futsal EURO in the Netherlands. Present day

Vico Zeljković
Vico Zeljković©Fedja Krvavac

President

Vico Zeljković

Nationality: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Date of birth: 12 November 1988
Association general secretary since: 2021

Adnan Džemidžić
Adnan Džemidžić©Fedja Krvavac

General secretary

Adnan Džemidžić

Nationality: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Date of birth: 20 February 1969
Association general secretary since: 2019

Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Federation website