Turkish National Division

The National Division or National League (Turkish: Millî Küme) was a top-level football competition organised by the Turkish Football Federation, including the most successful teams from Istanbul, Ankara, and İzmir in Turkey.[1] It was the first national league in Turkish football history.[2] The league was played from 1937 to 1950.

Millî Küme
Number of teams8
Level on pyramid1
Relegation toNone
Domestic cup(s)Prime Minister's Cup
Last championsFenerbahçe (6th title)
Most championshipsFenerbahçe (6 titles)
Most appearancesTurkey Cihat Arman (122)
Top goalscorerTurkey Hakkı Yeten (95 goals)

The top four clubs from Istanbul and the top two clubs from the Ankara and İzmir regional leagues made up the league roster, since the leagues of these three major cities were the strongest in those decades. The matches in Ankara were played at 19 Mayıs Stadium, the matches in İzmir at Alsancak Stadium, and the matches in Istanbul at Taksim Stadium. The league was the most important and popular football competition in its era.[3]

Fenerbahçe are the most successful club, having won six titles.[4][5]


The Turkish championship title of Fenerbahçe was announced in a Turkish newspaper one day after the conclusion of the 1950 edition.

Before the introduction of the National Division, the former Turkish Football Championship was held as a national championship in Turkey. Its tournament system was based on a knockout tournament, contested between the winners of each of the country's top regional leagues. In the late 1920s, the demand for a national football league was growing in the general Turkish public, which showed in the country's newspapers and magazines, where the European counterparts were given as examples. In 1937 that demand was fulfilled, as the Millî Küme was founded and began in March that year. Eligible for the league competition where the top placed teams of the Istanbul, Ankara, and İzmir regional leagues, which were the strongest leagues in those decades. An exception was made in 1941, when 1940 Turkish Football Championship winners Eskişehir Demirspor (the only club from outside the three major cities) and a third club from Ankara were included.[6]

In 1940 the Turkish Football Federation decided to resume the Turkish Football Championship. As a result both national championships were held at the same time from 1940 to 1950. The main differences between both tournaments were the competition systems and the qualification criteria. The National Division became the most popular and most important football competition in Turkey, overshadowing the Turkish Football Championship, since it was played in a league format with away matches.[4] In 1944 a special super cup, the Prime Minister's Cup, was introduced by the TFF. It was competed by the winners of both championships. The Prime Minister's Cup was one of the earliest football super cups in the world.[7] The cup was held in that format until 1950, when the National Division concluded.

Competition formatEdit

There were eight clubs in the National Division. The four highest-placed teams in the Istanbul Football League and the top two teams from the Ankara League and İzmir League at the end of the season qualified for the National Division. The competition was played within a year, it started just after the conclusion of the aforementioned regional leagues.[2] The competition format was based on a double round-robin system, that means each club played the others twice, once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents', for 14 games. Teams received three points for a win, two points for a draw, and one point for a loss. No points were awarded for a forfeit/regulation loss. Teams were ranked by total points, then goal average (the number of goals scored divided by the number of goals conceded).[2] There was no system of promotion and relegation, since the National Division was the only national league and there was no lower division.


Name Year Winners Runners-up
Millî Küme 1937 Fenerbahçe (1) Galatasaray
Millî Küme 1938 Güneş (1) Beşiktaş
Millî Küme 1939 Galatasaray (1) Ankara Demirspor
Millî Küme 1940 Fenerbahçe (2) Galatasaray
Millî Küme 1941 Beşiktaş (1) Galatasaray
Millî Küme 1942 Not held as a result of the weather conditions and the delayed conclusion of the Istanbul League.
Maarif Mükâfâtı 1943 Fenerbahçe (3) Galatasaray
Maarif Mükâfâtı 1944 Beşiktaş (2) Fenerbahçe
Millî Eğitim Kupası 1945 Fenerbahçe (4) Beşiktaş
Millî Eğitim Kupası 1946 Fenerbahçe (5) Beşiktaş
Millî Eğitim Kupası 1947 Beşiktaş (3) Fenerbahçe
Millî Eğitim Kupası 1948
Not held due to the 1948 Summer Olympics in London.
Millî Eğitim Kupası 1949
Not held due to the Mediterranean Cup.
Millî Eğitim Kupası 1950 Fenerbahçe (6) Galatasaray

Source: [4]

Performance by clubEdit

Club Titles Runners-up Winning years
1937, 1940, 1943, 1945, 1946, 1950
1941, 1944, 1947
Ankara Demirspor

Player recordsEdit

  • All players are Turkish unless otherwise indicated.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit


  1. ^ "Türkiye Futbol Federasyonu Kuruluyor". tff.org (in Turkish). Turkish Football Federation. Retrieved 26 October 2017. ...ilk deplasmanlı lig kapsamındaki Milli Küme maçları da yine bu dönemde tertip edilmiştir.
  2. ^ a b c "Milli Küme". Erdinç Sivritepe. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  3. ^ Yüce 2015, p. 346
  4. ^ a b c "Turkey – List of Champions". RSSSF. RSSSF. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Futbolda Türkiye Şampiyonluklarımız". fenerbahce.org (in Turkish). Fenerbahçe SK Official Website. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  6. ^ "Turkey 1941". RSSSF. RSSSF. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  7. ^ "First National League and Cup Competitions and a Super Cup". Erdinç Sivritepe. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Türkiye Milli Eğitim Kupası". mackolik.com (in Turkish). Retrieved 24 March 2018.