Football in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia dates back to the early 20th century, with the first recorded match taking place in Skopje in April 1909. When the Napredak team defeated a side drawn from the ranks of the British army, a football-shaped monument was erected to commemorate the historic event.
The territory was then under Turkish rule. The year 1903 had seen, albeit briefly, the creation of the first Balkan republic in the region, the short-lived Krushevo Republic, yet by 1913 Turkish rule had ended and the country was split into three areas: Egeean, Pirins and Varders. From 1913 to 1943, FYROM was part of Yugoslavia; it became a republic in 1943 and an independent country in 1991.
The first football club to emerge were FK Vardar from Skopje in 1912, ten years before FK Belasica GC and FK Bregalnica Stip were founded. During the Second World War, Macedonian representative teams played against German army sides and against Bulgaria, yet there was no official national team until after independence in 1991.
However, local talent still caught the eye as a number of quality players tasted international football with Yugoslavia: Kiril Simonovski-Dzina, Dragan Vidinic, Metodija Spasovski, Andon Doncevski, Darko Pancev and Ilija Najdoski.
In 1945, football was represented for the first time at the All-Sports Community in Skopje, a state of affairs that lasted until the Macedonian Football Association was created in August 1948. This body became a member of the larger Yugoslavian Football Association until 1991, at which point, following independence, the Football Association of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FFM) was born.
The country's first championship was organised in the 1992/93 season, with 18 clubs entering the competition. Vardar finished as champions and completed a double by lifting the Macedonian Cup.
In 1994 further strides were taken to incorporate FYROM into the global football family, with the award of FIFA and UEFA membership. In addition, the country joined the Balkan Football Federation, enabling it to participate in Under-16 and U18 tournaments in the region. In 1995, Vardar and FK Sileks appeared in European club competition, with Sileks reaching the first round of the now defunct UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, losing to VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach.
The national side began their footballing odyssey in 1994, entering qualifying for EURO '96. Drawn in a group with Armenia, Belgium, Cyprus, Spain and holders Denmark, they kicked off with a creditable 1-1 draw at home to the Danes. Mitko Stojkovski of FK Crvena zvezda had the honour of scoring the country's first official goal.
The team posted further draws against Belgium, Armenia and Cyprus, also beating the Cypriots 3-0 at home. Since then football in FYROM has continued to move forward. Two noteworthy results were a 3-2 win against the Republic of Ireland in 1997, and an 11-1 landslide victory over Liechtenstein 12 months before.
In an attempt to encourage such positive momentum, the FFM has handed the national-team reins to foreign coaches such as Serbian trainer Slobodan Santrač and Srečko Katanec from Slovenia and Wales's John Toshack, following the earlier efforts of Andon Doncevski, Gjoko Hadzievski, Nikola Ilievski, Dragan Kanatlarovski and Boban Babunski.
Local coach Mirsad Jonuz was in charge when the FFM celebrated 100 years of football in FYROM by hosting a high-profile friendly against European champions Spain in August 2009, which the visitors edged 3-2.
Date of birth: 11 December 1971
Association president since: 2012
• Ilcho Gjorgjioski stepped down as FK Vardar coach after being elected as the new president of the Football Association of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FFM) in July 2012.
• Gjorgjioski played for numerous clubs, including FK Makedonija GP Skopje , Vardar, Malmö FF, PFC Lokomotiv Sofia, Denizlispor and Bnei Sakhnin FC, and then moved into coaching, initially at youth level, before winning domestic senior titles with Makedonija GP Skopje and Vardar in 2009 and 2012 respectively.
• Upon his election, Gjorgjioski said that major targets in the future would be the development of Macedonian youth football, progress for the national teams, and raising the standard of the domestic leagues and clubs. He also announced further infrastructure investments and close co-operation with UEFA. Gjorgjioski was re-elected for a four-year term in June 2013.
Date of birth: 12 July 1979
Association general secretary since: 2014 (appointed in October on an interim basis)
• Skopje–born Filip Popovski earned a degree in management from the International Slavic University in Sveti Nikole, and joined the Football Federation of Macedonia (FFM) in 2002, at the age of 23.
• Popovski began as a club licensing assistant, and then headed the same department from 2008 and served as FFM quality assurance manager. Among the first batch of graduates to receive the UEFA Certificate in Football Management (CFM) and UEFA Diploma in Football Management (DFM), Popovski has also been honoured with the Executive Master in European Sport Governance (MESGO) certificate.
• Appointed as FFM general secretary on a caretaker basis at the beginning of October, Popovski is passionate about football. He is married with one son.