League System Hierarchy
Liga de Honra
Second Division (Serie Norte • Serie Centro • Serie Sul)
Third Division (Serie A • Serie B • Serie C • Serie D • Serie E • Serie F • Serie Azores • Serie Madeira)
Taça de Portugal
Taça da Liga
Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira
Angra do Heroísmo
Viana do Castelo
Football started to gain popularity in Portugal in the late 19th century, brought by Portuguese students who returned from England.
The first organised game of football took place in 1875 in Camacha, Madeira. Organised by the Madeira born Harry Hinton. This being the first organised game of football anywhere in Portugal.
The first person responsible for its implementation would have been Guilherme Pinto Basto (according to some people, his brothers Eduardo and Frederico would have brought the first ball from England). It was he who had the initiative to organise an exhibition of the new game, which took place in October 1888, and it was also him who organized the first football match in January of the following year. The match, played where today the Campo Pequeno bullring is located, involved opposing teams from Portugal and England. The Portuguese won the game 2-1. Consequently, football started attracting the attention of the high society, being distinguished by the Luso-British rivalry.
Later, the game spread, being practised in colleges and leading to the foundation of clubs all over the country. Until the end of the century, associations such as Clube Lisbonense, Carcavelos Sport Club, Braço de Prata, Real Ginásio Clube Português, Estrela Futebol Clube, Futebol Académico, Campo de Ourique, Oporto Cricket, and Sport Clube Vianense were founded to practise this sport or created sections for competing.
The first match, between Lisbon and Porto, took place in 1894, attended by King Carlos.
Clube Internacional de Futebol (founded in 1902) was the first Portuguese team to play abroad, defeating Madrid Fútbol Clube in 1907; the game took place in Madrid, Spain.
On the 31st of March 1914, the 3 regional associations that existed in Portugal (Lisbon, Portalegre and Porto), merged to create a national association called "a União Portuguesa de Futebol" which is the ancestor of the current national association "Federação Portuguesa de Futebol" which was formed on the 28th of May 1926.
The main domestic football competition is the Portuguese Liga, where the dominating teams are Sport Lisboa e Benfica, Futebol Clube do Porto, and Sporting Clube de Portugal.
Currently, the oldest team is Académica, which was founded in 1876. Futebol Clube do Porto, after an unsuccessful attempt in 1893, appeared in 1906, stimulated by José Monteiro da Costa, among others. Sporting Clube de Portugal was founded in 1906 by the Viscount of Alvalade and his grandson José de Alvalade. Sport Lisboa e Benfica was born in 1904 (the club maintained the foundation date of Sport Lisboa, founded in 1904, when in 1908, the two assimilated into the Grupo Sport Benfica, founded in 1906). They are all clubs that traditionally have several sports activities but they give great distinction to football, making use of teams of professional players, which frequently participate in European competitions.