Football, Association: Originally from England, football began in Austria in 1879 in the secondary school system. The first football club match ("Akademisch-Technischer Radfahrverein") took place in 1894 in Graz; the same year, clubs such as the First Vienna Football Club ( Vienna) and the Vienna Cricket and Football Club ( Cricketer) were founded. In 1989 the "Erste Arbeiter-Fussball-Klub", the predecessor of the Rapid Wien football club was founded. In 1904 the Austrian Football Association (OeFV) was established, followed by provincial associations; in 1901 an international match against Switzerland was played, in 1911 the club Austria Wien was founded and the first Austrian championships were held. However, neither a fully recognised umbrella organisation nor championships were established on account of the national and ideological strife prevailing in the country (German and Slav, bourgeois and workers' clubs; anti-Semitism) as well as conflicts inherent in the philosophy of sports activities, amateurs vs. professionals, gymnasts vs. athletes). By 1907 some 300 clubs were active in Austria (70 in Vienna, of which only 30 were members of the Football Association); in 1912 Austria participated in an Olympic tournament for the first time.
Between World War I and World War II football began enjoying a wide base of popularity and important matches were watched by up to 80,000 spectators. In 1924-1933 professional football was divided into two leagues. In 1927 H. Meisl initiated the creation of the Mitropa Cup. The Wunderteam celebrated sensational victories in 1931-1932; in 1936 the Austrian team won the silver medal at the Olympic Games. The first radio transmission was broadcast in 1928 on the occasion of an international match against Hungary. The strength of the "Vienna School" (with excellent technique and "creative play") was still prevalent after the Anschluss and the official abolition of the professional leagues when Austrian players were integrated into the German national team. Austria won the "Anschluss" match, "Ostmark" (National Socialist term for Austria) against "Altreich" ("Old Reich"), on April 3, 1938, 2 : 0; in 1938 Rapid won the German trophy match, in 1943 Vienna emerged victorious; in 1941 Rapid became German champion.
In 1945 the Austrian Football Association (OeFB) was re-established with nine provincial associations, and international matches soon took place. Football was then restructured owing to the establishment of the Austrian Football League (groups A and B, each with 14 teams) in 1949/1950; in 1974/1975 the ten-team league was introduced (Division I). From the end of the 1950s until the beginning of the 1970s televised broadcasts of matches began and spectator numbers at the football stadiums fell. Austria achieved significant international success after 1945 by winning 3rd place in the World Championship in Switzerland (1954), 7th place in the 1978 World Championship in Argentina and when the Austria-Wien club reached the finals of the European Cup competition in the same year, followed by Rapid in 1985 and 1996, and by Austria-Salzburg in1993. In 1994/95 Austria Salzburg (then called Casino Salzburg) reached the Champions League, followed by Rapid in 1996/97 and Sturm Graz in 1998/99. However, all in all Austrian football failed to achieve the standard of previous decades.
After a modest start in 1923-1937, women's football began to develop in the 1970s (Austrian professional league since 1982/1983); of the 275,000 members (2000) of the OeFB, organised into 2,235 clubs, 6,000 are women.
In the last few decades riots and attacks by violent football fans have become an increasingly serious problem, especially at international matches and championship finals. An accident on the Stadtbahn transit line caused by rioting fans in 1977 (44 injured) in Vienna was the worst case of football vandalism in Austria to date. However, violence between players and spectators also occurred in earlier times (WAC against Cricket, in 1901).
Publications#Corner; Bundesliga-Journal; Pfiff.
Literature#K. Langisch, Geschichte des oesterreichischen Fussballs, 1965; K. Kastler, Fussball in Oesterreich, 1972; K. Langisch (ed.), OeFB. 75 Jahre, 2 vols., without date (1979); Das Fussballmuseum, Streifzug durch die Geschichte des OeFB, 1988; W. Zoechling, Fussball, 1992; Koenig Fussball, Beitraege zur historischen Sozialkunde 3, 1992; J. Huber, 100 Jahre Fussball - 90 Jahre OeFB, 1993.