About Russian Premier Liga

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Russian football Championship

General Information

After collapse of the USSR in 1991 former soviet republics began to carry out their own independent championships. In the Top-league of USSR football championship of 1991 6 Russian teams were competing (CSKA, “Spartak”, “Torpedo”, “Dynamo”, “Lokomotiv” – all those five from Moscow, - and “Spartak” from Vladikavkaz) which was not enough for making a proper league, thus they were supplemented with 14 teams from lower divisions to organize a 20-team Russian Top Division, divided in two groups to reduce the number of matches. The new country’s championship retained the name of it’s predecessor – The Highest League.

The number of teams participating in The Highest League was gradually reduced in 3 years – 18 in 1993, then 16 in 1994. Since that time the Russian Top-Division consists of 16 clubs, exceptionally the experiment of 1996 and 1997 when consisted of 18.

In 1998 The Highest League was renamed into The Highest Division.

The Russian Football Premier-League was organized in 2001 and succeeded the Top Division, the difference being that before 2001 the Top Division was run by the Professional Football League of Russia.

Until 2010 The Championship ran from March to November. Teams played each other twice, once at home and once away, for a total of 30 matches.

On September 2010 Executive committee of the Russian Football Union took a decision to change the system of football competition in Russia into so-called «autumn - spring» system.

The season of 2011/2012 is played in a transitional format. Started in March 2011 it will be played in 30 rounds until November 2011. Afterwards teams will be divided in 2 groups by 8 teams: top eight teams will play for European cups while 8 below teams will fight for relegation. That will make up additional 14 rounds that will be played from late November 2011 until May 2012 (considering winter break in December, January and February). Teams that will finish at 15th and 16th positions will be relegated directly. 13th and 14th clubs will compete with 4th and 3rd clubs of First division in a newly introduced play-off matches.

Starting from 2012 football seasons in Russian Premier League will be played in a synchronized with Europe manner: starting in late July and finishing in May.

Teams are ranked by total points. (If teams are level on points, the tie-breakers are the number of wins, then head-to-head results, followed by several other factors. If two or more teams are absolutely tied for any position their places in final ranking table is determined in additional match (or tournament) between these teams.)

According to the current UEFA Association coefficient ranking the champion and the runner-up of SOGAZ – Russian football Championship qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stage. The third-placed team qualifies for the Champions League second qualifying round. The fourth- and fifth-placed teams qualify for UEFA Europa League.

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