The Fortuna Liga, also known as the 1. Česká fotbalová Liga is the highest football competition in the Czech Republic. The league was founded in 1993 after the independence of the Czech Republic and Slovakia and is the successor to the Czechoslovak championship.
The Fortuna Liga contains sixteen clubs and from the 2018/19 season, play-offs are played after the regular season. The competition is split into three groups in the playoffs: the champion group, the European League group, and the relegation group. In the champion group, the champion qualifies for the Champions League, the same applies to the runner-up. The number three qualifies for the Europa League and the number four for a jump-off match against the winner of the Europa League group. In the Europa League group, the remaining four teams play for eligibility to qualify for the final match for the last Europa League ticket. In the relegation group, the numbers 14 and 15 will play two matches against relegation. The number 16 is relegated directly to the Fotbalová Národní Liga, the second league of Czech football.
However, the 2020/21 season was played with 18 teams and without play-offs. This was due to the corona pandemic, the 2019/20 season was not completed and no teams from the Fortuna Liga were relegated. The following season will again be played with 16 teams and play-offs.
35 different teams have competed for the championship in the Fortuna Liga. Both the Prague teams, Slavia Prague and Sparta Prague, are the two most prominent teams and hold the most titles. Viktoria Plzeň has made a name for itself with good results in recent seasons. More information about the 16 teams currently competing in the Fortuna Liga is stated below.
Athletic Club Sparta Praha, commonly known as Sparta Prague is arguably the most successful club in the Czech Republic and maybe even in Central Europe. Winning the Central European Cup three times as well as reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League. Sparta Prague has won the Fortuna Liga a record number of 36 times. They play at the Generali Česká pojišťovna Arena, also known as Letná Stadium.
Sportovní klub Slavia Praha, commonly known as Slavia Prague, was founded in 1892. They have a long-lasting rivalry within their city and play the Prague derby with Sparta Prague. Slavia has won 21 titles and has had recent success in international football by reaching the Europa League quarter-finals in 2020-21. In this season the team completed an entire season undefeated. This set a Czech record for the longest top-flight unbeaten league run at 54 games between 2020 and 2021.
1. FC Slovacko is based in Uherské Hradiště. The team was established in 1927 under the name SK Staré Město. And on 1 July 2000, they changed their name to 1. FC Synot which was a merger of the original club with FC Slovácká Slavia Uherské Hradiště. In the summer of 2004, the club officially changed its name to 1. FC Slovácko. They have played in the Fortuna Liga since 2009 and have reached the final of the Czech Cup while never actually winning the competition.
Bohemians Praha 1905 was founded in 1905 as AFK Vršovice. The club won the Czechoslovak League in 1982-83, which is the only league championship in the club’s history. Its colours are green and white. Bohemians’ mascot is a kangaroo, the legacy of a 1927 tour of Australia. Following that tour, the club was awarded two live kangaroos, which they donated to the Prague Zoo.
FC Baník Ostrava is a football club from the Silesian part of the city Ostrava. In the 2015-16 season the club was under financial distress and was bought by Czech millionaire Václav Brabec. They were relegated the season after but immediately got promoted to the Fortuna Liga the next season. Their stadium is the Městský stadion also known as the Vítkovice Aréna, which has a capacity of 15,275.
FC Fastav Zlín was founded in 1919. In those 103 years of existence, they have changed its name a total of 11 times. The club has had a history of ups and downs by getting relegated and promoted again several times. In May 2017, FC Fastav Zlín had their best moment by winning the Czech Cup and subsequently qualifying for the group stage of the 2017-18 Europa League.
Football Club Hradec Králové was founded in 1905 and hold the nickname Votroci, slaves. The club has been relegated to the second league a total of five times. For four of those five times, they were promoted to the Fortuna Liga the season after. Their best finishing position in the Fortuna Liga was achieved in the 2010-11 season. They finished 8th that season.
FC Viktoria Plzeň was founded in 1911 and lost their first match 7-3 against Olympia Plzeň. For the first 18 years of its existence, Viktoria Plzeň was purely an amateur club. They first entered the highest division of Czech football in 1931. After that, they have won the Fortuna Liga a total of four times.
FK Jablonec was founded 77 years ago and wear green and white colours. Their best-ever season was a second place in the Fortuna Liga just a point behind league winners Sparta Prague. In this season David Lafata finished as the league’s top scorer with 19 goals. In 2011-2012, Lafata set a new scoring record in the Fortuna Liga as he scored an unprecedented 25 goals in a single season.
FK Mladá Boleslav was founded in 1902. They have changed their name an astonishing 13 times in the rich 120-year history of the club. The team played in the 1. Česká fotbalová liga for the first time in its history in 2004.
FK Teplice was founded in 1945 in the city of Teplice, 80 km north of Prague. They have the nickname Skláři which in English is Glassblowers. The club advanced to the Czech First League in just three years after being founded.
MFK Karviná was founded just 19 years ago after their merger with Jäkl Karviná. Before that, they went under several different names such as Sokol Polonia Karviná and FC Karviná. They currently sit at the bottom of the table in the Fortuna Liga and risk relegation as they are ten points behind 15th place.
SK Dynamo České Budějovice was founded in 1905 and wear black and white colours. Since 1993 the club has played in the 1. Česká fotbalová liga almost exclusively. Despite suffering relegation three times, most recently in 2005, the club has won promotion back to the top-flight immediately on each occasion.
SK Sigma Olomouc was founded in 1919. They played mostly in the highest Czech Football League in their early history. In recent history, they were relegated two times with promotion following each season. They now have cemented themselves as a stable mid-table team in the Fortuna Liga.
FK Pardubice was founded in 2008 and is the successor of TJ Tesla Pardubice, which merged with FC Loko Pardubice in 2008. They have only spent two seasons in the Fortuna Liga. They wear white and red colours.