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The Albanian Super League (Albanian: Kategoria Superiore) is a professional league for football clubs of the men's associations. At the top of the Albanian football league system, it is the country's premier football competition. It is contested by 10 clubs and maintains a promotion and descent system with the Albanian First Division. The seasons last from August to May, with each team playing 36 games (with each team in the league playing four times, twice at home and twice away).
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The competition was founded in 1930 as the Albanian National Championship under King Zog, shortly after the founding of the Albanian Football Federation. Since 1930, 43 clubs have participated in recognized competitions, and only nine clubs have won the title: KF Tirana, Dinamo Tirana, FK Partizani, Vlasnia, Skënderbeu, KF Elbasani, Flamurtari, Teuta and FK Kukësi. The current champion is FK Partizani, who won his 16th title in 2018/19.
Football was introduced to Albania for the first time by an English-Maltese priest named Gut Ruter, who attended Saverian College in Shkodër in 1908. The first Albanian football club was Indipendenca, founded in 1912 by Palokë Nika in Shkodër. The first 90-minute game with two 45-minute halves took place in October 1913 between Indipendenca Shkodër and the occupying Austro-Hungarian Imperial Navy. The game is considered the first international match in Albania, and it ended with a 2-1 defeat for Indipendenca, with the captain and founder of the club Palokë Nika scored the only goal for the Albanians.
In 2012, historians noted that a football tournament had taken place in Albania in 1911, about 19 years before the founding of the Albanian National Championship and the Albanian Football Association. The Fier Fair football tournament (Albanian: Turneu Futbollistik i Panairit të Fierit) took place in Rahije, Fier, while Albania was still under the administration of the Ottoman Empire. It consisted of 8 teams, including Tirana, Elbasani, Kavaja, Berati, Peqini, Vlora, Fieri and Lushnja. Tirana won the tournament after beating Peqini 6-1 in the final. The tournament is not officially recognized by either the Albanian Football Federation or UEFA. The Albanian Football Association did not organize the tournament because the organization was founded in 1930. Albania was invaded by Italy in April 1939 and the Second World War broke out soon, which meant that the Albanian Football Federation, similar to the other organizations in the country, ceased its operations. Despite the war, three championships were held between 1939 and 1942, with Tirana winning the championships in 1939 and 1942 and Shkodra the championships in 1940. Despite requests to recognize these championships, the Albanian Football Federation maintains the position that the championships were not organized by them and can not be formally recognized.
Since the Albanian Super League 2019-20, the league consists of 10 clubs that face each other four times in a conventional round-robin tournament and play a total of 36 games. At the end of the season, the two worst placed teams descend into the first Albanian league, while the two best-placed teams in the first Albanian league are promoted in their stead. The eighth-ranked team qualify for the play-off round, in which they play against the Albanian first-division play-off winner. The teams are scored by total score, then by head-to-head record, then by goal difference and then by goals scored.
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