Below, clubs are listed which were never relegated from their national first division after first gaining admittance to it. The appearance of some "big" teams, especially in "small" countries, will not be surprising; but the list was really meant to honour small teams that "won't be moved"; of course, they tend to disappear from the list if one waits long enough: the once embodiment of "Unabsteigbarkeit", VfL Bochum, is now securely in the camp of the Fahrstuhlmannschaften and even Coventry City suffered relegation, leaving us with only "DOS kan niets - zelfs niet degraderen" - but they're now known as FC Utrecht.
Founder members are indicated by having the year of debut in bold.
1929: SK Tiranë (17 Nëntori) 1950: Dinamo Tiranë (Olimpik) 1994: Shkumbini (Peqin)
1909: River Plate 1912: Independiente 1913: Boca Juniors NB: only counting the professional league (since 1931), River Plate, Independiente and Boca Juniors are all unrelegated founder members.
1911: Austria Wien (Amateure) 1911: SK Rapid Wien 2002: SV Pasching (moved to Klagenfurt and play as Austria Kärnten) 2003: SV Mattersburg
1989: Germinal Beerschot Antwerpen (Germinal Ekeren) 1997: VC Westerlo 2010: AS Eupen
1987: Cruzeiro 1987: Flamengo 1987: Internacional 1987: Santos 1987: São Paulo
1937: Levski Sofia (Levski-Spartak, Vitosha) 1948: CSKA Sofia (CDNA, Sredets)
1933: Colo Colo 1977: Cobreloa 2003: Universidad de Concepción
1948: Independiente Santa Fe 1948: Millonarios 2004: Chicó
1991: Dinamo Zagreb 1991: Hajduk Split 1991: NK Osijek 1991: NK Rijeka 1991: NK Zagreb 1991: Varteks Varadin 1997: Slaven Belupo Koprivnica
1934: APOEL 1953: Omonoia 1957: Apollon 1969: Enosis Neon NB: APOEL and Omonoia spent one or more seasons in the Greek first division as champions of Cyprus.
1982: Brøndby IF 2002: FC Nordsjælland (Farum BK) NB: FC København haven't been relegated since they took over B 1903's place in 1992; however both B 1903 and the other feeder club, KB, were relegated several times (B 1903 three times and KB five times). Likewise, FC Midtjylland haven't been relegated since earning promotion in 2000, but as they took over the place of Ikast fS (who were relegated from the first level on three occasions) after they formed a superstructure with Herning Fremad (relegated from the first level once themselves), they are also not listed. Finally, AC Horsens have not been relegated since their first promotion 2005, but they are a merger of Horsens fS and FC Horsens; the former were relegated twice from the top level.
1948: Al-Ahly 1948: Zamalek
2005: Wigan Athletic
2005: IFK Mariehamn 2009: JJK Jyväskylä
1974: FC Paris Saint-Germain 1980: AJ Auxerre NB: Paris Saint-Germain played in the first division 1971/72, but were taken over by Paris FC before the end of the season. The club had to restart with their amateur team, then in the 3rd division, kept the name, the colours and the president (but changed grounds), earned promotion to the second division at the end of 1972/73, and to the first at the end of 1973/74.
1984: Stahl Brandenburg NB: Stahl Brandenburg has suffered relegation since the unification of Germany 1991.
1963: Hamburger SV 1965: Bayern München 1979: Bayer Leverkusen 1997: VfL Wolfsburg 2008: TSG Hoffenheim
1958: Asante Kotoko 1958: Hearts of Oak 1978: Real Tamale United 1986: Goldfields (now AshantiGold) 1996: King Faisal Babies 2003: Heart of Lions 2009: Aduana Stars 2009: New Edubiase NB: a first national league was installed in 1956 (including all 1958 founding members), but all but two teams (Hearts of Oak and Eleven Wise) withdrew, and no championship was played in 1957. In 1970 eight provincial qualifying groups were formed, with 15 teams qualifying for the final "Upper League". All unrelegated founder members (and none of the other unrelegated teams) qualified for it.
1959: AEK 1959: Olympiakos 1959: Panathinaïkos 1959: PAOK (Thessaloniki) 1989: (Skoda) Xanthi
1965: Marathón 1965: Motagua 1965: Olimpia 1965: Real España 1965: Vida
2006: Paksi SE NB: Ferencváros had their first level license revoked in July 2006, after having competed in the top flight since the first ever season in 1901.
2010: Selfoss NB: a national league was installed in Iceland in 1912, but a proper relegation mechanism only in 1955. No teams have always been in the league since 1912. Valur, who were in the league without interruption since 1923, were relegated in 1999.
1921: Bohemians 1951: Saint Patrick's Athletic NB: for a long time, there was no institutionalised relegation. Bohemians played in the Irish League (now restricted to Northern Ireland) before the associations split in 1920, and were relegated in 1911. Derry City played in the league of Northern Ireland every season from 1929 until 1972 before being forced out in the 1972/73 season due to safety issues; they entered the league of the Republic of Ireland in 1985 (at the second level). They were never relegated in either league until being demoted for financial reasons at the end of the 2009 season, together with Cork City who had not been relegated since first gaining access to the top level in 1984.
1950: Maccabi Tel-Aviv
1929: Internazionale (Ambrosiana) 2004: Città di Palermo NB: Internazionale played all Italian championships since 1908. Until their forced relegation in 2006, Juventus played all Italian championships since 1900 (although they were nominally relegated in 1911 and 1913 but remained at the first level in Piemonte anyway; in addition, they didn't finish the championship in 1908). Parma were relegated from the northern section of the championship level in 1926. Città di Palermo are a new club founded in 1987 after Palermo were refused a license for Serie B in 1986.
1960: Africa Sports 1960: ASEC (Abidjan)
1992: Shimizu S-Pulse NB: the league structure was completely overhauled with the introduction of the professional J-League in 1992, including a host of name changes. Of the current J-League members, the following suffered relegation under previous names: Gamba Osaka (Matsushita), Jubilo Iwata (Yamaha), Kashima Antlers (Sumitomo), Kashiwa Reysol (Hitachi), Nagoya Grampus Eight (Toyota), Sanfrecce Hiroshima (Mazda), Yokohama F. Marinos (Nissan).
2005: UN Kaerjeng 2010: Jeunesse Canach
1992: Vardar 1992: Sileks 1998: Rabotnicki 2005: Renova
1946: Hibernians 1946: Valletta NB: a national league was installed in Malta in 1909, but a proper relegation mechanism only in 1945. No teams have always been in the league since 1909. Hibernians were in the league without interruption since 1937, Valletta since 1945.
1943: América 1943: Guadalajara 1950: Necaxa (Atlético Español) 1953: Toluca 1962: Pumas (UNAM) 1964: Cruz Azul 1968: Santos (Laguna, Deportivo Neza, Santos) 1975: Tecos (UAG)
1956: Ajax 1956: Feyenoord (Feijenoord) 1956: PSV 1956: FC Utrecht (DOS) NB: if we consider the regional first classes since 1898, the only team never to have been relegated since gaining promotion to the first level is Feyenoord (promoted, as Feijenoord, in 1921).
1890: Cliftonville 1890: Glentoran 1890: Linfield NB: for a long time, there was no institutionalised relegation. Derry City played in the league of Northern Ireland every season from 1929 until 1972 before being forced out in the 1972/73 reasons due to safety issues; they entered the league of the Republic of Ireland in 1985 (at the 2nd level). They were never relegated in either league.
1975: Lillestrøm SK
1928: Universitario Lima 2004: Universidad San Martín de Porres
1995: Amica Wronki NB: Pogon Lwów were unrelegated until 1939, but after the war Lwów became part of the Soviet Union and the club were not re-created; Warszawianka also were unrelegated until 1939 but after the war played at lower regional levels until its football section was dissolved in 1971. Amica Wronki merged into Lech Poznan 2006.
1938: SL Benfica 1938: FC Porto 1938: Sporting CP 2005: Naval NB: a national Portuguese league was already installed in 1934/35, but the championship was decided through the knock-out cup tournament. In the first seasons, teams qualified for the national league through regional leagues rather than a promotion/relegation system.
1947: Dinamo Bucuresti 1947: Steaua (Armata, CCA) 1990: Gloria Bistrita 2005: FC Vaslui
1992: Spartak Moskva 1992: Lokomotiv Moskva 1992: CSKA Moskva 1992: Dinamo Moskva 1992: Krylya Sovetov Samara 1999: Saturn Moskovskaya Oblast 2003: Rubin Kazan 2004: Amkar Perm 2005: Tom Tomsk 2006: Spartak Nalchik
1890: Celtic 1890: Rangers 1905: Aberdeen NB: Aberdeen did not play in the Scottish league during WW I (1917-1919), but did not lose membership.
1936: Dynamo Kiev 1936: Dynamo Moskva 1936: Dynamo Tbilisi 1937: Torpedo Moskva 1988: Pamir Dushanbe 1990: Metalurg Zaporozhe NB: Dynamo Tbilisi entered the Soviet league in its second season, which, like the first, was played in 1936. After the 1990 season they left the league (together with Guria Lanchkhuti, also of Georgia, and Zhalgiris Vilnius of Lithuania) to play in the newly formed domestic league of Georgia. After the 1991 season all successor states of the USSR started their own leagues; Pamir Dushanbe have had to withdraw from the Tajik championship since then, and Torpedo Moskva were relegated from the Russian top level in 2006.
1928: Athletic de Bilbao 1928: FC Barcelona 1928: Real Madrid 2004: Getafe CF 2007: UD Almería NB: UD Almería (founded 1989) are a different entity from AD Almería, who played 2 seasons (1979-1981) at the Spanish top level but were dissolved in 1982.
2011: Syrianska FC (Södertälje) None.
None. NB: Lausanne-Sports were refused a professional license for the 2002/03 season, ending their continual presence in the Nationalliga A since its foundation in 1933. Servette FC were relegated in 2005 following bankruptcy, ending their series of playing all Swiss championships since they were first held in 1900.
1955: Club Africain 1955: Stade Tunisien 1955: CS Sfaxien (formerly Club Tunisien) 1955: Etoile Sportive du Sahel (Sousse) 1955: Espérance Sportive de Tunis NB: ES Sahel did not participate in 1961/62 due to a one-year long dissolution; ES Tunis did not participate in 1970/71 due to a one-year long dissolution.
1960: Besiktas 1960: Fenerbahçe 1960: Galatasaray 1974: Trabzonspor 2005: Sivasspor 2007: Istanbul BB 2010: Bucaspor
1900: Peñarol 1901: Nacional 1999: Tacuarembó NB: only counting the professional league (since 1932), Nacional and Peñarol are both unrelegated founder members. Peñarol were expelled from the Uruguayan association (together with Central) on November 20, 1922, after playing matches against teams from the Argentine 'Asociación Amateurs de Football' (a rival organisation to the 'Asociación Argentina de Football'); at that time, they had played 16 league matches. In 1923 and 1924 they played in a league organised by the 'Federación Uruguaya de Football' before the leagues were united in 1926 (there was no league competition in 1925); they were therefore active at the top level in every season since 1900.
1932: Hajduk Split 1946: Crvena zvezda Beograd 1946: Dynamo Zagreb 1946: Partizan Beograd 1987: Rad Beograd NB: Hajduk were the only club to reach the final stages (i.e. quarterfinals or final group stage) of the national championship in every season from its start in 1923. There were final playoffs from 1927 until 1930/31 in league format; qualifying for this was based on regional competitions. In 1932/33 a national league with promotion and relegation was introduced, but there was no championship in 1933/34 and one decided by a knock-out tournament in 1935/36. In 1991 and 1992 leagues in the five successor states were formed; Hajduk and Dinamo are now in the Croatian League, Crvena zvezda, Partizan and Rad in that of Yugoslavia, where Rad have suffered relegation since the split.
With thanks to Lars Alexandersson, Estebán Ávila, Thierry Berthou, Diego Cervini, Mike Dryomin, Søren Elbech, Eoin Hurley, Vidar Jortveit, Spyros Karasoulous, Igor Kramarsic, Goran Mancevski, Brunislav Matasovic, Gwidon Naskrent, Frédéric Pauron, Heikki Pietarinen, Ricardo Pontes, James Ross, Tarek Said, Martín Tabeira and Andreas Werner for additions and corrections.
Prepared and maintained by Karel Stokkermans for the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation
Author: Karel Stokkermans
Last updated: 21 Apr 2011
(C) Copyright Karel Stokkermans and RSSSF 1996/2011
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