Summary:

Domestic football in Iraq has been going on for almost a century. The earliest recorded tournament was the Casuals Cup that started in the 1923/24 season;[1] that tournament ran up until the end of the 1935/36 season and for a short period it ran alongside another tournament called the Prince Ghazi Cup that started in the 1931/32 season and ran up until the 1934/35 season.[2] However, it wasn’t until the 1948/49 season that a national league championship was held. Its name was the “Iraq FA Championship”, appropriately named following the foundation of the Iraq FA that same year.[3]


The logo of the Central League competition between 1963 and 1974

In 1956, the Iraq FA decided to hold regional championships in Baghdad, Basra, Kirkuk and later in Mosul. The league in Baghdad was called the Central League, and its winners were considered by fans and the media to be the Iraqi champions, with the Iraq FA selecting them to participate in continental competitions rather than teams from the other regional leagues. At first, the Central League was not played in a normal league format; instead it was played in a double-elimination format with multiple knockout rounds leading to a final match to decide the winner.[4] In the 1961/62 season, the format of the Central League changed and for the first time in Iraqi football, a round-robin league was held where each team played each of the other teams in the league once, rather than having knockout rounds or group stages. The 1965/66 season saw another change as it became a double round-robin competition meaning each team played each other twice instead of once, and in 1973, some teams from outside central Iraq were allowed to compete.[5][6][7]

In 1974, the Iraq FA decided to form a new clubs-only league, called the Iraqi National League, which brought an end to the Central League and the other three regional leagues. Prior to 1974, most teams were ‘institutions teams’ rather than actual clubs, so the foundation of this new league led to the formation or reformation of a number of clubs.[8] Meanwhile, the first edition of the Iraqi FA Cup was held in the 1975/76 season.[9] Two other national tournaments have been held since the foundation of the Iraqi Premier League. They are the Iraqi Elite Cup (also known as Umm Al-Ma’arik Cup (meaning Mother Of All Battles Cup) or Baghdad Championship) which was founded in 1991 and dissolved in 2003, and the Iraqi Super Cup which was played between 1997 and 2002 and was resurrected in 2016. In terms of continental titles, only three Iraqi clubs have managed to win a major one. Those are Al-Shorta (one Arab Club Championship), Al-Rasheed (three Arab Club Championships) and Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya (two AFC Cups). Al-Shorta also reached the final of the 1971 AFC Champions League but refused to play against their Israeli opponents in protest at the occupation of Palestine; with Israel’s subsequent expulsion from AFC, Al-Shorta are considered by the Arab media to be the winners of that tournament.

Central League History (1956-1974):

Season Central League Champions Central Cup Winners
1956/57
Maslahat Naqil Al-Rukab
(now known as Amanat Baghdad)
Not played
1957/58
Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya Al-Malikiya
(now known as Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya)
Not played
1958/59
Amanat Al-Asima
(now known as Amanat Baghdad)
Not played
1959/60
Al-Athori
Not played
1960/61
Maslahat Naqil Al-Rukab
(now known as Amanat Baghdad)
Not played
1961/62
Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
Not played
1962/63
Madrasa Al-Shorta
(now known as Al-Shorta)
Not played
1963/64
Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
Not played
1964/65
Maslahat Naqil Al-Rukab
(now known as Amanat Baghdad)
Not played
1965/66
Al-Firqa Al-Thalatha
(now known as Al-Jaish)
Not played
1966/67 Not finished Not played
1967/68
Aliyat Al-Shorta
(now known as Al-Shorta)
Not played
1968/69
Aliyat Al-Shorta
(now known as Al-Shorta)
Not played
1969/70
Aliyat Al-Shorta
(now known as Al-Shorta)
Not played
1970/71
Maslahat Naqil Al-Rukab
(now known as Amanat Baghdad)
Not played
1971/72
Aliyat Al-Shorta
(now known as Al-Shorta)
Not played
1972/73
Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
Not played
1973/74
Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya

List of Winners:

Team Central League Titles Central Cup Titles OVERALL TITLES
Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
5 1 6
Al-Shorta
5 0 5
Amanat Baghdad
5 0 5
Al-Jaish
1 0 1
Al-Athori
1 0 1

National League History (1974-present):

Season League Champions Cup Winners Elite Cup Winners Super Cup Winners
1974/75
Al-Tayaran
(now known as Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya)
Not played Not played Not played
1975/76
Al-Zawraa
Al-Zawraa
Not played Not played
1976/77
Al-Zawraa
Not played Not played Not played
1977/78
Al-Minaa
Al-Tayaran
(now known as Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya)
Not played Not played
1978/79
Al-Zawraa
Al-Zawraa
Not played Not played
1979/80
Al-Shorta
Al-Jaish
Not played Not played
1980/81
Al-Talaba
Al-Zawraa
Not played Not played
1981/82
Al-Talaba
Al-Zawraa
Not played Not played
1982/83
Salahaddin
Al-Jaish
Not played Not played
1983/84
Al-Jaish
Al-Sinaa
Not played Not played
1984/85 Not finished Not finished Not played Not played
1985/86
Al-Talaba
Not played Not played Not played
1986/87
Al-Rasheed
Al-Rasheed
Not played Not played
1987/88
Al-Rasheed
Al-Rasheed
Not played Not played
1988/89
Al-Rasheed
Al-Zawraa
Not played Not played
1989/90
Al-Tayaran
(now known as Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya)
Al-Zawraa
Not played Not played
1990/91
Al-Zawraa
Al-Zawraa
Not played Not played
1991/92
Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
Al-Zawraa
Not played
1992/93
Al-Talaba
Al-Zawraa
Al-Talaba
Not played
1993/94
Al-Zawraa
Al-Zawraa
Al-Talaba
Not played
1994/95
Al-Zawraa
Al-Zawraa
Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
Not played
1995/96
Al-Zawraa
Al-Zawraa
Al-Talaba
Not played
1996/97
Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
1997/98
Al-Shorta
Al-Zawraa
Al-Najaf
Al-Zawraa
1998/99
Al-Zawraa
Al-Zawraa
Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
Not played
1999/00
Al-Zawraa
Al-Zawraa
Al-Zawraa
Al-Zawraa
2000/01
Al-Zawraa
Not played
Al-Shorta
Al-Zawraa
2001/02
Al-Talaba
Al-Talaba
Al-Shorta
Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
2002/03
Al-Shorta
Al-Talaba
Al-Shorta
Al-Talaba
2003/04 Not finished Not played
Al-Zawraa
Not played
2004/05
Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
Not played Not played Not played
2005/06
Al-Zawraa
Not played Not played Not played
2006/07
Erbil
Not played Not played Not played
2007/08
Erbil
Not played Not played Not played
2008/09
Erbil
Not played Not played Not played
2009/10
Duhok
Not played Not played Not played
2010/11
Al-Zawraa
Not played Not played Not played
2011/12
Erbil
Not played Not played Not played
2012/13
Al-Shorta
Not finished Not played Not played
2013/14
Al-Shorta
Not played Not played Not played
2014/15
Naft Al-Wasat
Not played Not played Not played
2015/16
Al-Zawraa
Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
Not played Not played
2016/17
Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
Al-Zawraa
Not played Not played
2017/18 To be determined Not played Not played
Al-Zawraa

List of Winners:

Team League Titles Cup Titles Elite Cup Titles Super Cup Titles OVERALL TITLES
Al-Zawraa
13 15 3 4 35
Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
6 4 3 2 15
Al-Talaba
5 2 3 1 11
Al-Shorta
5 0 3 0 8
Al-Rasheed
3 2 0 0 5
Erbil
4 0 0 0 4
Al-Jaish
1 2 0 0 3
Naft Al-Wasat
1 0 0 0 1
Duhok
1 0 0 0 1
Salahaddin
1 0 0 0 1
Al-Minaa
1 0 0 0 1
Al-Sinaa
0 1 0 0 1
Al-Najaf
0 0 1 0 1

Iraqi Women’s Premier League:

The Iraqi Women’s Premier League was founded in 2015 and its first ever season was the 2015/16 season. It was played in a group stage format culminating in a third place playoff and the final. The third place playoff saw Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya Ladies thrash Beladi Ladies 7-0, before Ghaz Al-Shamal Ladies defeated Zeravani Ladies 1-0 in the all-important final to claim the first ever Iraqi women’s title. The foundation of this league has provided a great boost for women’s football in Iraq and has brought the women’s game to another level.

Season Champions Score Runners-up
2015/16
Ghaz Al-Shamal
1-0
Zeravani
2016/17 Not played