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The A Lyga is the top division of professional football in Lithuania. It is organized by Lithuanian Football Federation LFF (Lithuanian: Lietuvos Futbolo Federacija). The league size has varied between 8 and 12 teams; as of 2016 season, the league features 8 teams. The final list of participants sometimes 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.

A Lyga
A Lyga 2017 vertical.svg
Founded1991
CountryLithuania
ConfederationUEFA
Number of teams8 (since 2016)
Level on pyramid1
Relegation toI Lyga
Domestic cup(s)Lithuanian Football Cup
Lithuanian Supercup
International cup(s)Champions League
Europa League
Current championsSūduva (2nd title)
(2018)
Most championshipsFBK Kaunas (8 titles)
TV partners
WebsiteAlyga.lt
2019 A Lyga

Lithuania became affiliated with UEFA in 1992. The A Lyga champion secures the right to play in UEFA Champions League. The runner up and the 3rd place winner secure right to play in UEFA Europa League. A lyga team is yet to play in the group stage of either competition. At the end of 2018, the best performing club in Europe is FK Žalgiris, taking #179[1] in UEFA Club Coefficients table.

Contents

ClubsEdit

 
 
Kaunas
 
Vilnius
 
Locations of the 2019 A Lyga teams

The following eight clubs are competing in the 2019 season.

Club Location Position in 2018 First season
in A Lyga
Seasons in
A Lyga
First season
of current spell
Top division
titles
Last title
Atlantasa Klaipėda 6th 1990 29 2011 4 1984
Kauno Žalgirisb Kaunas 5th 2015 5 2015
Palangab Palanga 7th 2018 2 2018
Panevėžysb Panevėžys 1st, I Lyga 2019 1 2019
Riteriaib Vilnius 3rd (4th after regular season) 2014 6 2014
Stumbrasb Kaunas 4th (3rd after regular season) 2015 5 2015
Sūduvaa Marijampolė 1st 1990 20 2002 2 2018
Žalgirisa Vilnius 2nd 1990 30 2010 7 2016

a Founding member of the A Lyga
b Never been relegated from the A Lyga

FormatEdit

The season kicks off in early spring, and finishes in late autumn, due to harsh weather no games are played in winter. The 8 teams play 4 rounds in regular season. Top 6 play one more championship round after that. The 8th placed team is relegated, and the 7th placed team contests a play-off match with the 2nd placed team in I Lyga for a spot in the next year's A lyga season.

In the recent years the list of participants sometimes did not correlate to the final results of the previous season due to insolvency or other failures to meet A lyga licensing criteria. The participation is finalized through the Lithuanian Football Federation league licensing process.

SponsorshipEdit

From 2012 to 2016, the A Lyga had title sponsorship rights sold to two companies; Credit Service was the most recent title sponsor, having sponsored league from 2013 through 2016.[2]

 
SMScredit.lt A Lyga logo
Period Sponsor Name
1991–1999 No sponsor Lietuvos Lyga
1999–2000 LFF Lyga
2001–2003 LFF A Lyga
2004–2008 NFKA A Lyga
2009–2011 LFF A Lyga
2012 General Financing LFF General Financing A Lyga[3]
2013–2016 Credit Service SMScredit.lt A Lyga[4]
2017– No sponsor LFF A Lyga

As well as sponsorship for the league itself, the A Lyga has a number of official partners and suppliers.[5] The official ball supplier for the league is Nike who have had the contract since the 2013 season when they took over from Adidas.[4]

HistoryEdit

Interbellum and WWIIEdit

After Lithuania gained independence in 1918, the first ever football tournament was held in 1922.

SeasonsEdit

Season Winner Runner-up Third place
Interbellum (Independent Lithuania)
1922 LFLS Kaunas LFLS Šančiai LFLS-2 Kaunas
1923 LFLS Kaunas KSK Kaunas Kovas Kaunas
1924 Kovas Kaunas Sportverein Klaipėda LFLS Kaunas / MTV Klaipėda
1925 Kovas Kaunas LFLS Šiauliai Freya Klaipėda
1926 Kovas Kaunas KSS Klaipėda LFLS Šiauliai
1927 LFLS Kaunas Sportverein Pagėgiai LFLS Šiauliai
1928 KSS Klaipėda LFLS Kaunas LDS Šiauliai
1929 KSS Klaipėda LFLS Kaunas KSK Kultus Kaunas / Freya Klaipėda
1930 KSS Klaipėda LFLS Kaunas Sveikata Kybartai / Makabi Šiauliai
1931 KSS Klaipėda Kovas Kaunas Freya Klaipėda
1932 LFLS Kaunas KSS Klaipėda LGSF Kaunas
1933 Kovas Kaunas LFLS Kaunas LGSF Kaunas
1934 MSK Kaunas LFLS Kaunas LGSF Kaunas
1935 Kovas Kaunas KSS Klaipėda Sakalas Šiauliai / Šaulys Ukmergė
1936 Kovas Kaunas LFLS Kaunas LGSF Kaunas
1937 KSS Klaipėda Kovas Kaunas LFLS Kaunas
1937–38 KSS Klaipėda LGSF Kaunas Švyturys Klaipėda
1938–39 LGSF Kaunas Kovas Kaunas KSS Telšiai
1939–40 Competition abandoned
World War II (1st Soviet and German Occupations)
1941 Competition not finished due to World War II (Spartakas Kaunas had the best record)
1942 LFLS Kaunas MSK Panevėžys Gubernija Šiauliai / LFLS Vilnius
1942–43 Tauras Kaunas MSK Panevėžys Gubernija Šiauliai / LGSF Vilnius
1943–44 Competition not finished due to World War II (Tauras Kaunas had the best record)

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

Club Winner Runner-up 3rd Winning Seasons
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
LGSF Kaunas 1 1 4 1938–39
MSK Kaunas 1 1934
Tauras Kaunas 1 1942–43

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.

SeasonsEdit

Season Winner Runner-up Third place Top scorer (Team) Goals
1945 Spartakas Kaunas Dinamo Vilnius Sodyba Klaipėda / Spartakas Šiauliai ?
1946 Dinamo Kaunas Spartakas Kaunas Lokomotyvas Panevėžys ?
1947 Lokomotyvas Kaunas Spartakas Šiauliai Žalgiris Klaipėda ?
1948 Elnias Šiauliai Žalgiris Tauragė Spartakas Vilnius ?
1949 Elnias Šiauliai Inkaras Kaunas Vėliava Šiauliai ?
1950 Inkaras Kaunas Elnias Šiauliai Audra Klaipėda ?
1951 Inkaras Kaunas Elnias Šiauliai Audiniai Kaunas ?
1952 Karininkų Namai Vilnius Inkaras Kaunas Elnias Šiauliai ?
1953 Elnias Šiauliai Inkaras Kaunas Lima Kaunas ?
1954 Inkaras Kaunas Lima Kaunas Elnias Šiauliai ?
1955 Lima Kaunas Raudonasis Spalis Kaunas Elfa Vilnius ?
1956 Linų Audiniai Plungė Elnias Šiauliai MSK Panevėžys   Algimantas Lucinavičius (MSK Panevėžys) 28
1957 Elnias Šiauliai Inkaras Kaunas Linų Audiniai Plungė   Petras Škėlovas (Raudonasis Spalis Kaunas) 22
1958 Elnias Šiauliai Raudonoji Žvaigždė Vilnius Spartakas Vilnius   Petras Škėlovas (Raudonasis Spalis Kaunas) 11
1958–59 Raudonoji Žvaigždė Vilnius KKI Kaunas Elnias Šiauliai ?
1959–60 Elnias Šiauliai Raudonoji Žvaigždė Vilnius Linų Audiniai Plungė   Raimondas Prikockis (Elnias Šiauliai)
  A. Stankevičius (Spartakas-2 Vilnius)
15
1960–61 Elnias Šiauliai Baltija Klaipėda Inkaras Kaunas   Algimantas Lucinavičius (Laisvė Kretinga) 22
1961–62 FK Atletas Kaunas Granitas Klaipėda Inkaras Kaunas   Romualdas Kazlauskas (MSK Panevėžys) 22
1962–63 Statyba Panevėžys Politechnika Kaunas Inkaras Kaunas   Vytautas Juknys (Politechnika Kaunas) 23
1964 Inkaras Kaunas Statyba Panevėžys FK Minija Kretinga   Petras Siniakovas (Inkaras Kaunas) 26
1965 Inkaras Kaunas Saliutas Vilnius Statyba Panevėžys   Petras Siniakovas (Inkaras Kaunas) 26
1966 Nevėžis Kėdainiai Statybininkas Šiauliai Saliutas Vilnius   Petras Siniakovas (Inkaras Kaunas) 19
1967 Saliutas Vilnius Inkaras Kaunas Nevėžis Kėdainiai   S. Kuncevičius (Žalgiris Naujoji Vilnia)
  J. Mėlinauskas (Inkaras Kaunas)
  Kornelijus Skeivys (Statybininkas Šiauliai)
  Romas Skeivys (Statybininkas Šiauliai)
13
1968 Statyba Panevėžys Nevėžis Kėdainiai Statybininkas Šiauliai   Romas Jokubaitis (Statyba Panevėžys) 18
1969 Statybininkas Šiauliai Nevėžis Kėdainiai Inkaras Kaunas   V. Paura (Nevėžis Kėdainiai) 17
1970 FK Atletas Kaunas Politechnika Kaunas Nevėžis Kėdainiai   Vytautas Dirmeikis (FK Atletas Kaunas) 20
1971 Pažanga Vilnius Atlantas Klaipėda Vienybė Ukmergė   R. Daunoravičius (Vienybė Ukmergė)
  E. Milius (FK Minija Kretinga)
13
1972 Nevėžis Kėdainiai Pažanga Vilnius Dainava Alytus   R. Balčiūnas (Pažanga Vilnius) 13
1973 Nevėžis Kėdainiai Atlantas Klaipėda Dainava Alytus ?
1974 Tauras Šiauliai Vienybė Ukmergė Atmosfera Mažeikiai   R. Daunoravičius (Vienybė Ukmergė) 20
1975 Dainava Alytus Pažanga Vilnius Sūduva Kapsukas   Eugenijus Kurguznikovas (Sūduva Kapsukas)
  V. Ščerbakovas (Atletas Kaunas)
17
1976 Atmosfera Mažeikiai Vienybė Ukmergė Pažanga Vilnius ?
1977 Statybininkas Šiauliai Kelininkas Kaunas Atmosfera Mažeikiai   R. Daunoravičius (Vienybė Ukmergė)
  Romas Šiaulys (Atmosfera Mažeikiai)
15
1978 Atlantas Klaipėda Statybininkas Šiauliai Banga Kaunas   R. Nausėda (Atletas Kaunas) 13
1979 Atmosfera Mažeikiai Kelininkas Kaunas Nevėžis Kėdainiai ?
1980 Atlantas Klaipėda Tauras Šiauliai Politechnika Kaunas   Edvardas Maliauskas (Atlantas Klaipėda) 16
1981 Atlantas Klaipėda Kelininkas Kaunas Pažanga Vilnius   Vitalijus Stankevičius (Inkaras Kaunas) 21
1982 Pažanga Vilnius Atlantas Klaipėda Tauras Šiauliai   Edvardas Maliauskas (Atlantas Klaipėda) 17
1983 Pažanga Vilnius Atlantas Klaipėda Tauras Šiauliai   Rimantas Viktoravičius (Tauras Šiauliai) 21
1984 Atlantas Klaipėda Ekranas Panevėžys SRT Vilnius   Jurijus Gordejevas (Atlantas Klaipėda) 17
1985 Ekranas Panevėžys Atlantas Klaipėda SRT Vilnius   K. Valantiejus (SRT Vilnius) 16
1986 Banga Kaunas Atlantas Klaipėda Ekranas Panevėžys   G. Anilionis (Banga Kaunas) 17
1987 Tauras Tauragė SRT Vilnius Inkaras Kaunas   Jurijus Gordejevas (SRT Vilnius) 23
1988 SRT Vilnius Inkaras Kaunas Ekranas Panevėžys   Remigijus Bubliauskas (Tauras Tauragė)
  Jurijus Gordejevas (SRT Vilnius)
  Saulius Vertelis (Atmosfera Mažeikiai)
20
1989 Banga Kaunas Ekranas Panevėžys Sirijus Klaipėda   A. Vertelis (Atmosfera Mažeikiai) 17

Note: The biggest and most notable clubs, such as Žalgiris Vilnius played in Soviet Union's Football Premier League instead of Lithuanian SSR Divisions.

Performance by clubEdit

Club Winner Runner-up 3rd Winning Seasons
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
Ekranas Panevėžys 1 2 2 1985
Tauras Šiauliai 1 1 2 1974
SRT Vilnius 1 1 2 1988
Lima Kaunas 1 1 1 1955
Spartakas Kaunas 1 1 - 1945
Tauras Tauragė 1 1 - 1987
Linų Audiniai Plungė 1 - 2 1956
Dainava Alytus 1 - 2 1975
Dinamo Kaunas 1 - - 1946
Lokomotyvas Kaunas 1 - - 1947

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 1990, 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.

SeasonsEdit

Season Winner Runner-up Third place Top scorer (Team) Goals
1990 Sirijus Klaipėda Ekranas Panevėžys Žalgiris Vilnius   Dalius Bajorūnas (Tauras Šiauliai) 22
1991 Žalgiris Vilnius Lietuvos Makabi Vilnius Banga Kaunas   Egidijus Meidus (Vilija Kaunas) 13
1991–92 Žalgiris Vilnius Panerys Vilnius Sirijus Klaipėda   Remigijus Pocius (Granitas Klaipėda & Sakalas Šiauliai)
  Vaidotas Šlekys (Ekranas Panevėžys)
14
1992–93 Ekranas Panevėžys Žalgiris Vilnius Panerys Vilnius   Vaidotas Šlekys (Ekranas Panevėžys) 16
1993–94 ROMAR Žalgiris-EBSW Vilnius Ekranas Panevėžys   Vaidotas Šlekys (Ekranas Panevėžys)
  Robertas Žalys (FBK Kaunas)
16
1994–95 Inkaras-Grifas Kaunas Žalgiris-EBSW Vilnius ROMAR Mažeikiai   Eimantas Poderis (Žalgiris Vilnius & Inkaras Kaunas) 24
1995–96 Inkaras-Grifas Kaunas Kareda-Sakalas Šiauliai Žalgiris Vilnius   Edgaras Jankauskas (Žalgiris Vilnius) 25
1996–97 Kareda Šiauliai Žalgiris Vilnius Inkaras-Grifas Kaunas   Remigijus Pocius (Kareda Šiauliai) 14
1997–98 Kareda Šiauliai Žalgiris Vilnius Ekranas Panevėžys   Vidas Dančenka (Kareda Šiauliai) 26
1998–99 Žalgiris Vilnius Kareda Šiauliai FBK Kaunas   Artūras Fomenka (Kareda Šiauliai) 14
1999 Žalgiris Kaunas Žalgiris Vilnius Atlantas Klaipėda   Nerijus Vasiliauskas (Žalgiris Vilnius) 10
2000 FBK Kaunas Žalgiris Vilnius Atlantas Klaipėda   Andrius Velička (FBK Kaunas) 26
2001 FBK Kaunas Atlantas Klaipėda Žalgiris Vilnius   Remigijus Pocius (FBK Kaunas) 22
2002 FBK Kaunas Atlantas Klaipėda Ekranas Panevėžys   Audrius Šlekys (FBK Kaunas) 19
2003 FBK Kaunas Ekranas Panevėžys Vėtra Rūdiškės   Ričardas Beniušis (Atlantas Klaipėda & FBK Kaunas) 16
2004 FBK Kaunas Ekranas Panevėžys Atlantas Klaipėda   Povilas Lukšys (Ekranas Panevėžys) 19
2005 Ekranas Panevėžys FBK Kaunas Sūduva Marijampolė   Mantas Savėnas (Ekranas Panevėžys) 27
2006 FBK Kaunas Ekranas Panevėžys Vėtra Vilnius   Serhiy Kuznetsov (Vėtra Vilnius) 18
2007 FBK Kaunas Sūduva Marijampolė Ekranas Panevėžys   Povilas Lukšys (Ekranas Panevėžys) 26
2008 Ekranas Panevėžys FBK Kaunas Vėtra Vilnius   Rafael Ledesma (FBK Kaunas) 14
2009 Ekranas Panevėžys Vėtra Vilnius Sūduva Marijampolė   Valdas Trakys (Ekranas Panevėžys) 20
2010 Ekranas Panevėžys Sūduva Marijampolė Žalgiris Vilnius   Povilas Lukšys (Sūduva Marijampolė) 16
2011 Ekranas Panevėžys Žalgiris Vilnius Sūduva Marijampolė   Deivydas Matulevičius (Žalgiris Vilnius) 19
2012 Ekranas Panevėžys Žalgiris Vilnius Sūduva Marijampolė   Artūras Rimkevičius (Šiauliai) 35
2013 Žalgiris Vilnius Atlantas Klaipėda Ekranas Panevėžys   Nerijus Valskis (Sūduva Marijampolė) 27
2014 Žalgiris Vilnius Kruoja Pakruojis Atlantas Klaipėda   Niko Tokić (Šiauliai) 19
2015 Žalgiris Vilnius Trakai Atlantas Klaipėda   Tomas Radzinevičius (Sūduva Marijampolė) 28
2016 Žalgiris Vilnius Trakai Sūduva Marijampolė   Andrija Kaluđerović (Žalgiris Vilnius) 20
2017 Sūduva Marijampolė Žalgiris Vilnius Trakai   Darvydas Šernas (Žalgiris Vilnius) 18
2018 Sūduva Marijampolė Žalgiris Vilnius Trakai   Liviu Antal (Žalgiris Vilnius) 23

Performance by clubEdit

Club Winner Runner-up 3rd Winning Seasons
FBK Kaunas 8 2 2 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007
Žalgiris Vilnius 7 10 4 1991, 1991–92, 1998–99, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
Ekranas Panevėžys 7 4 5 1992–93, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Sūduva Marijampolė 2 2 5 2017, 2018
Kareda Šiauliai 2 2 - 1996–97, 1997–98
Inkaras Kaunas 2 - 1 1994–95, 1995–96
Sirijus Klaipėda 1 - 1 1990
ROMAR Mažeikiai 1 - 1 1993–94

Clubs currently playing in A Lyga are highlighted in Bold.
- Defunct clubs.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ https://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/uefarankings/club/#/yr/2019
  2. ^ "SMScredit.lt A lyga". LFF.lt. Lietuvos futbolo federacijos. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  3. ^ ""General Financing" - LFF A lygos pagrindinis rėmėjas" (in Lithuanian). Lithuanian Football Federation. 13 October 2011. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  4. ^ a b "2013 metų A lygos startas - su naujais partneriais ir didesnėmis ambicijomis" (in Lithuanian). Lithuanian Football Federation. 27 February 2013. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  5. ^ "Oficialūs partneriai". A Lyga. Retrieved 5 March 2017.

External linksEdit