The Tunisian Ligue Professionnelle 1 (French: Championnat de la Ligue Professionnelle 1; Arabic: الرابطة المحترفة الأولى لكرة القدم) was previously called the Tunisian National Championship between 1956 and 1994. is the top division football tournament in Tunisia under the organization of the Tunisian Football Federation. The first edition was held during the French protectorate of Tunisia, the 1907 season, under the auspices of the Federation of Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques, and it was played in a knockout system, and the first official match in the history of the tournament was played on 9 June 1907.

At that time, Tunisian teams with a French character and management participated in it, including Racing Club de Tunis, Sporting Club de Tunis, Club Italia de Tunis, Savoy La Goulette, Union sportive tunisienne, Stade gaulois and many other teams. In 1921, the Tunisian Football Association League was established, which is the Tunisian branch of the French Football Federation, which was relied upon until the declaration of independence in 1956.

On 29 March 1957, the Tunisian Football Federation, the official federation organizing football tournaments in Tunisia, was established. The Tunisian championship has been professional since 1994 after the founding of the Ligue Nationale du Football Professionnel, becoming the first professional championship in Africa and the Arab world. Espérance Sportive de Tunis is the most crowned Tunisian with 31 titles, the last of which was the 2020–21 season.

The first and second places in the standings automatically qualify for the CAF Champions League, and the third place automatically qualifies for the CAF Confederation Cup, along with the Tunisian Cup winner, while the Tunisian Football Federation chooses those who qualifies for the Arab Club Champions Cup. The Tunisian Ligue Professionnelle 1 occupies the first place in the Arab and African countries and 15th in the world, according to the ranking of the International Federation of Football History & Statistics for the year 2019.

History

Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques

Football was born in Tunisia in 1904 with the unofficial creation of the Racing Club de Tunis, formalized in 1905 but which had to wait for the creation of other clubs in Tunis and Bizerte to participate in an official competition. Then the government is obliged, in front of the considerable development of outdoor sport, to take an active interest in it. It distributes a few grants, though very small. A committee of the Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques, responsible for the management of all sports in Tunisia, was then created.

In 1910, a first series championship was organized with the participation of the Racing Club, Sporting Club de Tunis, Lycée Carnot de Tunis, the Colonial School of Agriculture, the Football Club of Tunis and the Red Star Club de l'Ariana, and a second series made up of the second teams of Racing Club de Tunis, Sporting and Gallia Club. The national title is awarded after a final between Racing and Stade maritime de Bizerte (champion of the Mediterranean squadrons) with a score of 2–0.

But many teams, often ephemeral, play friendly matches, like Radès Club, Amical Club, Tunis Sport, Ariana Club, Stade tunisien, Etoile Sportive de Tunis, Sadiki College, etc. There are then very few Tunisian players including Hamadi Ben Dhif (Racing Club goalkeeper), while the second team Lycée Carnot includes players with Tunisian names: Bouzid, Abdelwahab, Zaouchi, Djilani Romdhan, Fredj, H. Zaouch, Ahmed Sakka and Mustapha Romdhan.

But, surprisingly, La Dépêche tunisienne published on 12 June 1910 the list of players of the Khereddine Club team, called to play against the Ariana Club and who are all Tunisians: Abderrahman (captain), Babbou, Aichi, Jaouez, Ben Smaïl, Djaziri, Hammouda, Mohamed, Bechak, Tebourbi and Aguiri. It is the first fully Tunisian team but which we have not heard from later and which precedes the Comète Club team, created in 1914 but which did not survive the First World War. The Racing Club won the championship in 1910, 1911 and 1914, then in 1920 and 1921, while Sporting de Ferryville was crowned in 1912 and 1913.

Ligue de Tunisie de Football Association

The championship became official with the creation of the Tunisian Football Association League in 1921 was established, which is the Tunisian branch of the French Football Federation. Until 1939, the title of champion was awarded following play-offs between regional champions. The major current clubs were created during this period: Espérance sportive de Tunis (1919), Club Africain and Sfax Railways Sports (1920), Étoile Sportive du Sahel (1925), Club Athletic Bizertin and Club Sportif Sfaxien (1928).

From 1946 to 1947, a championship of "excellence" (national division) is created and is contested at the national level. In 1944–1945, 1945–1946 and 1952–1953, the championship was not contested and replaced by a criterium (a sort of group tournament where participation was not compulsory). These years saw the creation of the Stade Tunisien (1948).