Hvar Football League: Hvarska (Forska) Nogometna Liga

Total Croatia News

Hvar has a very competitive football league, with one team for less than 1,000 inhabitants. And the season will be starting soon. Learn more about the football tradition on Hvar, where the village of Brusje had five teams in 1921…

I never really took much interest in the local football league until I had a beer with Maja and Jura from Hvar TV, soon after we met for the first time. They handed me a DVD of a documentary they had made, following the exploits of the team from Velo Grablje, full time population of five, on their journey to be league champions in 2011. 

Maja’s film, Levanda mirisi s vrha (Lavender smells from the top) was a very well-produced one hour film, documenting the strong social bonds that the football league generates on the island in the winter time, bonds which have been passed down from generation to generation. You can see a trailer of the film below. 

Maja was very passionate about the project, and spoke with great knowledge about the Hvar league and its history. Of how an island with less than 11,000 inhabitants can support a league with 11 teams, making it a rare place indeed – how many other places have a football team for every 1,000 inhabitants?

The league is highly competitive and one of the teams, Mladost from Sucuraj, travels 2,000km a year to take part in the 20-game season. There are five pitches in the league, with some teams using the pitches of Hvar, Stari Grad and Jelsa as their ‘home’ pitch. 

The history of football on the island is interesting and something we will be looking at in more depth during the winter. It also gives an indication of the population changes over the last century. The first teams were formed in Stari Grad in 1913, just two years after one of Croatia’s oldest clubs, Hajduk Split, and the village of Brusje had five teams in 1921. 

This year’s defending champions are NK Južnjak from Sveta Nedjelja. The teams competing in 2012  are (with their home ground in brackets):

NK Vrisnik – Vrisnik (Pelinje, Jelsa)
HNK Vatra – Poljica (Pelinje, Jelsa)
NK Varbonj – Vrbanj (Gorica, Vrbanj)
NK SOŠK – Svirče (Pelinje, Jelsa)
NK Sloga – Dol (Dolci, Stari Grad)
NK Mladost – Sućuraj (Emil Lenko Slavić, Sućuraj)
NK Levanda – Velo Grablje (Hvar)
NK Južnjak – Sveta Nedilja (Hvar)
NK Jelsa – Jelsa (Pelinje, Jelsa)
HNK Jadran – Stari Grad (Dolci, Stari Grad)
NK Hvar – Hvar (Hvar)


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