Wikipedia - Iraq Stars League

The Iraq Stars League (Arabic: دوري نجوم العراق) is the top level of the Iraqi football league system. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the Iraqi Premier Division League. It is governed by the Iraqi Pro League Association.

The league was formed by the Iraq Football Association in 1974 as the Iraqi National Clubs League, the first nationwide league of clubs in Iraq, and later became known as the Iraqi Premier League. In 2023, the competition was transformed into a professional league under the name Iraq Stars League. The current format sees 20 teams playing 38 matches each (playing each team in the league twice, home and away), totalling 380 matches in the season.

Of the 79 teams to have competed since the inception of the league in 1974, eleven have won the title. Al-Zawraa are the most successful club with 14 titles, followed by Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya (7), Al-Shorta (6) and Al-Talaba (5), who together contest the Baghdad derbies. The current champions are Al-Shorta, who won the title in 2022–23.



Up until 1973, leagues in Iraq were played at a regional level. The Central FA League, the Basra League and the Kirkuk League were all founded in 1948, while the Mosul League was founded in 1950. The first nationwide league to be held in the country was in the 1973–74 season when the Iraqi National First Division was formed, with Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya being crowned champions. The IFA then decided to replace the competition with a new National Clubs League which would only be open to clubs and not institute-representative teams.


The league held its first season in 1974–75 and was originally composed of ten clubs. The league's first ever goal was scored by Falah Hassan of Al-Tayaran (now known as Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya) in a 1–1 draw with Al-Sinaa. Al-Tayaran were crowned champions of the inaugural season which featured the following teams:

  • Al-Baladiyat
  • Al-Jaish
  • Al-Muwasalat
  • Al-Naqil
  • Al-Rafidain
  • Al-Samawa
  • Al-Sinaa
  • Al-Shorta
  • Al-Tayaran
  • Babil

"Stars League" formation

On 4 June 2023, Iraq Football Association (IFA) signed a three-year partnership agreement with Liga Nacional de Fútbol Profesional (LaLiga) to transform the Iraqi Premier League into a professional league from the 2023–24 season. The competition is named the Iraq Stars League and is designed to meet the licensing criteria set down by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). A new association named the Iraqi Pro League Association, chaired by Javier Jiménez Sacristán and Matteo Mantovani, was formed to operate the competition and supervise the associated youth leagues. An Iraqi management team is also being trained by LaLiga to take control of the committee once the partnership deal ends. A start date of 26 October 2023 was set for the first Stars League season.

"Baghdad's Big Four" dominance

Results of the 'Big Four' from 1990 to 2002
1989–90 1 3 6 4
1990–91 6 3 2 1
1991–92 1 5 4 2
1992–93 3 4 1 2
1993–94 2 5 3 1
1994–95 2 6 4 1
1995–96 8 3 6 1
1996–97 1 5 3 2
1997–98 2 1 5 3
1998–99 3 5 2 1
1999–2000 2 3 4 1
2000–01 2 3 4 1
2001–02 2 3 1 4
Top four 11 8 10 13
out of 13
League champions

Ever since the league began, it has been dominated by the four biggest clubs in Baghdad: Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya, Al-Shorta, Al-Talaba and Al-Zawraa, who together contest the Baghdad derbies. From the 1989–90 season until the 2005–06 season, the league was won by one of the four Baghdad teams every time. After the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, players started to leave the Baghdad-based clubs and join clubs in the North such as Erbil and Duhok due to the economic instability and security issues in the capital city. This led to a shift in the dominance of the "Big Four" as Erbil won three consecutive league titles from 2007 to 2009 with Duhok winning the league in 2010. In the 2008–09 season, none of Baghdad's Big Four clubs finished in the top four and this is the only time that this has happened in the history of the league; the top four spots were occupied by Erbil, Al-Najaf, Duhok and Al-Amana. However, Baghdad's Big Four have since returned to dominating the league, having won all titles since 2015–16.

The Iraq League is a highly anticipated soccer tournament held annually in Iraq. It is one of the most prestigious and popular sporting events in the country, attracting thousands of passionate fans from all over Iraq.

The tournament features teams from various cities and regions across Iraq, showcasing the immense talent and skill of local soccer players. The participating teams compete fiercely against each other, displaying their tactical prowess, teamwork, and individual brilliance on the field.

The Iraq League is known for its intense and competitive matches, where every team strives to secure victory and claim the coveted championship title. The tournament follows a round-robin format, with each team playing against every other team in the league. The top-performing teams then advance to the knockout stages, leading to thrilling and nail-biting matches that keep spectators on the edge of their seats.

The tournament not only provides a platform for talented Iraqi soccer players to showcase their abilities but also serves as a unifying force for the nation. It brings together people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and regions, fostering a sense of national pride and unity.

The Iraq League is not just about the soccer matches; it is a celebration of the sport and the passion it ignites among the Iraqi people. The stadiums are filled with enthusiastic fans, chanting and cheering for their favorite teams, creating an electrifying atmosphere that adds to the excitement of the games.

The tournament also serves as a breeding ground for young talents, as scouts and talent spotters from both national and international clubs closely monitor the matches, looking for potential future stars. Many players who have participated in the Iraq League have gone on to represent the national team or secure contracts with professional clubs abroad.

Overall, the Iraq League is a thrilling and highly competitive soccer tournament that showcases the immense talent and passion for the sport in Iraq. It brings people together, fosters national unity, and provides a platform for players to shine on the national and international stage.