The football came to Serbia in spring of 1896. After his return from studies in Germany, Jewish Hugo Buli brought the first football to Belgrade. He had not kept his souvenir among other treasures from Berlin, but he brought the ball to his friends from the Belgrade gymnastics society “Soko”, and, persistent in his pursue to get the young people interested in the new game, founded the football section on 12th May 1896.

Serbia proved itself to be a fruitful ground for the new game, and already on 19th May, the Belgrade people have seen the first football match. Near the “Nebojša” tower, in the foothills of the Kalemegdan fortress, the football section of the Gymnastics Society “Soko” showed their fellow-citizens the new game. The newspapers reported on this event, pointing out that this game was beneficial for young men because it helped development of muscles.

The date of the first football match was recorded and well-remembered, however, the major historic developments led to the change of historical data. This important date for the Serbian football and sports in general was recorded according to the Julian calendar. Today we use the Gregorian calendar, and due to the 13-day difference the celebration is moved to the end of the month.

The first football and the first match led to the formation of organizations and football clubs. The inaugural meeting of the First Serbian Society for the Game with the Ball took place on 1st May 1899, at the restaurant “Trgovačka kafana”, at initiative of Mr. Hugo Buli, and with support of Mr. Andra Nikolić, Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time. Mr. Feti Bey, the Turkish consul in Belgrade was elected as President, and the lawyer Mr. Mihailo Živadinović as the Vice-President. On that day the corner stone of the Serbian “house of football” was laid.

In spring of 1899 the first football pitch was built in the Topčider hill, where the first match between the two teams of the members of the society of the games with the ball took place on 23 May 1899.

In these years of enthusiasm, nobody knew the exact laws of the game to the detail. This problem was resolved when in 1905 Anastas Sr. Hristodulo published the brochure “Foot – ball”, the translation of the football rules from German language.

fc backaThe biggest impact on the development of football in Serbia had the players who were returning home from their studies abroad. They were bringing academic knowledge with them, but also the sporting habits, so there was an increasing need for creating the real football clubs.

The first football club was founded in the beginning of the 20th century, but there still were doubts in the priority. On 3rd May 1901 in Subotica the Sports Athletic Club “Bačka” was founded. More than two years later, notably on 14th September 1903, football club “Šumadija” was founded in Kragujevac. It was obvious that the Subotica club was older, however, at the time of the foundation of “Bačka”, the city of Subotica was part of Austro-Hungary. Kragujevac, however, was on the territory of Serbia. In the end, we could only use the “word dribbling”: “Bačka” is the oldest club in Serbia, and “Šumadija” the oldest Serbian club.