The A Lyga is the top division of professional football in Lithuania. The A Lyga is an abbreviation of Aukščiausia lyga meaning Higher 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||6 (2020)|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||I Lyga|
|Domestic cup(s)||Lithuanian Football Cup |
|International cup(s)||Champions League |
Europa Conference League
|Current champions||Sūduva (3rd title) |
|Most championships||FBK Kaunas (8 titles)|
|TV partners||DELFI TV|
|2020 A Lyga|
The league size has varied between 8 and 12 teams in the recent seasons, however 2020 A Lyga the league features only 6 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.
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. 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 in UEFA Club Coefficients table.
Six clubs are competing in the 2020 season. No team will be relegated, and 4 teams will be promoted from I lyga.
|Club||Location||Position in 2019||First season
in A Lyga
of current spell
|Banga||Gargždai||1st in I Lyga||1994||17||2020||—|
a Founding member of the A Lyga
b Never been relegated from the A Lyga
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.
|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–||No sponsor||LFF 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.
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
|FBK Kaunas†||8||2||2||1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007|
|Žalgiris Vilnius||7||11||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||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.
- "A lygos rungtynes transliuos ir „INIT TV"" (in Lithuanian). Aukščiausia Lietuvos futbolo lyga. 20 September 2019. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
- "SMScredit.lt A lyga". LFF.lt. Lietuvos futbolo federacijos. Archived from the original on 26 August 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
- ""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.
- "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)
- One Nil Up - Digital Magazine focusing on football in the Baltic States
- RSSSF.com - List of Champions
- Lithuanian Football: History & Statistics by Almis - Championship statistics