The First League of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnian: Prva liga Bosne i Hercegovine / Прва лига Босне и Херцеговине) operated by the Football Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina (abbreviation: N/FSBiH) was the top tier football league in Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and after signage of Dayton Peace Agreement of Bosnia and Herzegovina, until creation of Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2000 (formal unification of the country's football organizations as N/FSBiH happened in 1997). League changed format and name several times since its inception and the first 1994–95 season.

N/FSBiH and its competition has been recognized by UEFA and FIFA since July 1996 (UEFA admitted N/FSBiH to a full membership in 1998), as of season 1996–97, and was represented by adequate number of clubs in European competition at the time. The league numbered 16 clubs, and at first included clubs from a territory under the control of then Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina institutions and auspices of N/FSBiH only, at the time consequently with Bosniak majority. Since 1996, end of the war and adoption of Dayton Agreement, FIFA and UEFA urged and endorsed unification of all three preexisting football organizations, namely Bosnian Croat football organization, Bosnian Serb football organization and N/FSBiH, under one association as unified N/FSBiH. At first clubs from Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity First League of Herzeg-Bosnia and First League of Bosnia and Herzegovina played in playoff for champion at the end of the season, while football organization from Republika Srpska entity refused to participate for the time being, indeed until two years after creation of Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina and 2002–03 season. At the end of the season last two teams were relegated, and winners of Second League of Bosnia and Herzegovina were promoted to First League.

History

War period 1992–1996

After a breakup of Yugoslavia Bosnia and Herzegovina proclaimed independence in late winter 1992, and already in April same year N/FSBiH applied for membership with FIFA and UEFA. Meanwhile, due to the outbreak of Bosnian War in April 1992 no games were played in the 1992–93 season. In late 1993 some parts of the country re-launched football competitions with reduced scope. But just as the country was divided along ethnic lines, so was football.

In 1993 Bosnian Croats launched the First League of Herzeg-Bosnia in which only Croatian clubs competed on parochial scale within the limits of West Herzegovina and few other enclaves. In the same year Bosnian Serbs also organized their own First League of the Republika Srpska, on a territory held by Republika Srpska regime at the time. Only football on a territory under the control of then Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina institutions and auspices of N/FSBiH, at the time consequently with Bosniak majority, apart from a brief competition for the season 1994–95 (won by Čelik Zenica), came to a standstill. Competition under auspices of N/FSBiH did not resume until 1995–96 season when the First League of Bosnia and Herzegovina was launched.

Post-war period 1996–2000

These three separate football leagues were operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina until 1998, and 2000. Since FIFA and UEFA showed support only for the association operating under patronage of the official and internationally recognized state institutions, during the war and prior to Dayton Peace Agreement as well as after its signedge, they endorsed unification of all three organizations as N/FSBiH. This also came as a consequence of FIFA decision to recognize N/FSBiH already in July 1996, while in the same year UEFA admitted N/FSBiH as an adjacent member until 1998 when they recognized its full membership. This meant that only N/FSBiH clubs and its national team could compete at the international and official level.

Final unification has been preceded by several stages. At first was created a playoff where clubs were playing for the champion under N/FSBiH auspices. Idea was that playoff under unified N/FSBiH auspices should bring together clubs competing under three separate organizations for the first time but was rejected by Serb association, leaving clubs from Croat football association and N/FSBiH participating playoff for the seasons 1997–98 and 1999–00, while 1998–99 playoff was canceled due to Croat's association hesitation on the decision on which stadiums games should be played. Next season playoff was resumed for the last time prior to full and final agreement on unified N/FSBiH and its competition, Premier League BiH (Premijer Liga), in the fall 2000.

In a way, since 1997 season until creation of Premier League for the season 2000-2001, First League of Bosnia and Herzegovina became a two divisions league, with Bosnian Croats' football organization First League of Herceg-Bosnia and N/FSBiH's First League of Bosnia and Herzegovina acting as separate divisions until end of the season, after which champion was decided through playoff between four clubs - two first placed form both leagues.