The A Lyga is the top division of professional football in Lithuania. The A Lyga is an abbreviation of Aukščiausia lyga meaning Highest League. It is organized by Lithuanian Football Federation LFF (Lithuanian: Lietuvos Futbolo Federacija). The Aukščiausia lyga also existed during the Soviet period of Lithuania, but was not considered to be a professional league until dissolution of the Soviet Union.
|Number of teams||10 (2021)|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||I Lyga|
|Domestic cup(s)||Lithuanian Football Cup |
|International cup(s)||UEFA Champions League|
UEFA Europa Conference League
|Current champions||FK Žalgiris (9th title) |
|Most championships||FK Žalgiris (9 titles)|
|TV partners||TV3 Lithuania|
|Current: 2021 A Lyga|
The league size has varied between 8 and 12 teams in the recent seasons, however 2020 A Lyga the league featured record low of only 6 teams. The final list of participants often does not correlate to the final results of the previous season, as the participation is finalized through the Lithuanian Football Federation league licensing process. The season usually kicks off in late February or early March and ends in November. Because of the harsh climate, there are no games in the winter.
Due to political reasons, in 1991 Lithuania was banned by UEFA from continental competitions refusing licensing of Žalgiris to compete as a Lithuanian club rather than a Soviet club. Lithuania became affiliated with UEFA in 1992. The A Lyga champion secures the right to play in UEFA Champions League first qualifying round. The runner up and the 3rd-place winner secure right to play in UEFA Europa Conference League starting in first qualifying round. A lyga team is yet to play in the group stage of either competition. At the end of 2021, the best performing club in Europe is FK Žalgiris, taking #178 in UEFA Club Coefficients table.
Ten clubs are competing in the 2021 season. The bottom placed team will be relegated, 9th placed team will contest in a play-off with the 2nd placed team from I lyga.
|Club||Location||Position in 2020||First season
in A Lyga
of current spell
|DFK Dainava||Alytus||6th in I Lyga||2021||1c||2021||—|
|FC Džiugas||Telšiai||4th in I Lyga||2021||1||2021||—|
|FC Hegelmann Litauen||Kaunas||2nd in I Lyga||2021||1||2021||—|
|FK Kauno Žalgirisb||Kaunas||3rd||2015||7||2015||—|
|FK Nevėžis||Kėdainiai||1st in I Lyga||2021||6||2021||—|
a Founding member of the A Lyga
b Never been relegated from the A Lyga
c Two former clubs, named FK Dainava have participated in A lyga in 2001, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
The season kicks off in early spring, and finishes in late autumn. Due to harsh weather, no games are played in winter. The teams play 4 rounds in regular season. In some of the past seasons top teams would have played one more championship round after that. The last placed team is relegated, and the team immediately above them contests a play-off match with the 2nd placed team in I Lyga for a spot in the next year's A lyga.
In recent years, the list of participants often did not correlate to the final results of the previous season due to failures to meet A lyga licensing criteria. Participation is finalised through the Lithuanian Football Federation league licensing process.
|1991–1999||No sponsor||Lietuvos Lyga|
|2001–2003||LFF A Lyga|
|2004–2008||NFKA A Lyga|
|2009–2011||LFF A Lyga|
|2012||General Financing||LFF General Financing A Lyga|
|2013–2016||Credit Service||SMScredit.lt A Lyga|
|2017–2020||No sponsor||LFF A Lyga|
|2021||Optibet||Optibet A Lyga|
As well as sponsorship for the league itself, the A Lyga has a number of official partners and suppliers. The official ball supplier for the league is Nike who have had the contract since the 2013 season when they took over from Adidas.
Interbellum and WWIIEdit
After Lithuania gained independence in 1918, the first ever football tournament was held in 1922.
Note: In 1924–1930, 1935, 1942, 1942–1943 and 1945 seasons there was no unified league and winners were decided using either a play–off format or a single game between winners of separate divisions.
Performance by clubEdit
|Kovas Kaunas||6||4||1||1924, 1925, 1926, 1933, 1935, 1936|
|KSS Klaipėda||6||3||1||1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1937, 1937–38|
|LFLS Kaunas||5||6||2||1922, 1923, 1927, 1932, 1942|
All champions from this period are defunct.
Post-War period and the Lithuanian SSR ChampionshipEdit
During the Lithuania's Soviet occupation, each soviet republic ran their separate football championship. The clubs could either participate in the competition of the soviet republic, or in the Soviet Union football league system.
Performance by clubEdit
|Elnias Šiauliai†||7||3||3||1948, 1949, 1953, 1957, 1958, 1959–60, 1960–61|
|Inkaras Kaunas†||5||6||5||1950, 1951, 1954, 1964, 1965|
|Atlantas Klaipėda||4||7||-||1978, 1980, 1981, 1984|
|Karininkų Namai / Raudonoji Žvaigždė / Saliutas Vilnius†||3||3||1||1952, 1958–59, 1967|
|Nevėžis Kėdainiai||3||2||3||1966, 1972, 1973|
|Pažanga Vilnius†||3||2||2||1971, 1982, 1983|
|Statybininkas Šiauliai†||2||2||1||1969, 1977|
|Statyba Panevėžys†||2||1||3||1962–63, 1968|
|FK Atletas Kaunas†||2||1||-||1961–62, 1970|
|Atmosfera Mažeikiai†||2||-||2||1976, 1979|
|Banga Kaunas†||2||-||1||1986, 1989|
|Linų Audiniai Plungė||1||-||2||1956|
Clubs currently playing in A Lyga are written in Bold.
† - Defunct clubs.
Regained Independence and the A Lyga - presentEdit
As Lithuania regained the independence in 1991, the Lithuanian Football Federation (LFF) was re-established, and A Lyga was shaped same year. The Soviet football divisions dissolved, and the teams that participated in them returned to the Lithuania's national championship.
List of champions (1991–)Edit
Performance by clubEdit
|Žalgiris Vilnius||9||11||4||1991, 1991–92, 1998–99, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2020, 2021|
|FBK Kaunas†||8||2||2||1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007|
|Ekranas Panevėžys†||7||4||5||1992–93, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012|
|Sūduva Marijampolė||3||2||5||2017, 2018, 2019|
|Kareda Šiauliai†||2||2||-||1996–97, 1997–98|
|Inkaras Kaunas†||2||-||1||1994–95, 1995–96|
Clubs currently playing in A Lyga are highlighted in Bold.
† - Defunct clubs.
- "Club coefficients | UEFA Coefficients".
- ""General Financing" - LFF A lygos pagrindinis rėmėjas" (in Lithuanian). Lithuanian Football Federation. 13 October 2011. Archived from the original on 6 March 2017. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
- "2013 metų A lygos startas - su naujais partneriais ir didesnėmis ambicijomis" (in Lithuanian). Lithuanian Football Federation. 27 February 2013. Archived from the original on 6 March 2017. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
- "Generaliniu a lygos rėmėju tampa "Optibet", pradedama partnerystė su TV3 žiniasklaidos grupe".
- "Oficialūs partneriai". A Lyga. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
- A lyga. lfe.lt.
- Official website (in Lithuanian)
- Futbolo.TV - A lyga streaming and video center (in Lithuanian)
- RSSSF.com - List of Champions
- Lithuanian Football: History & Statistics by Almis - Championship statistics