Football Club Infonet Levadia Tallinn, commonly known as FCI Levadia, or simply as Levadia, is an Estonian professional football club based in Tallinn that competes in the Meistriliiga, the top flight of Estonian football. The club's home ground is Lilleküla Stadium.

Full nameFootball Club Infonet Levadia Tallinn
Founded22 October 1998; 25 years ago (1998-10-22)
GroundLilleküla Stadium
PresidentViktor Levada
ManagerCurro Torres
2023Meistriliiga, 2nd of 10
WebsiteClub website

Founded in 1998 in Maardu, the club moved to Tallinn in 2004. Levadia has played in the Meistriliiga since the 1999 season and have never been relegated from the Estonian top division. Levadia have won 10 Meistriliiga titles, a record 10 Estonian Cups and 8 Estonian Supercups. In 2017, Levadia's first team merged with FCI Tallinn, and became FCI Levadia.

History edit

Early history edit

Levadia was founded on 22 October 1998, when Viktor Levada's Levadia Group OÜ became the official sponsor of Maardu based Esiliiga club Olümp, which subsequently changed its name to Levadia.[2] The club won the 1998 Esiliiga and were promoted to the Meistriliiga. In January 1999, Sergei Ratnikov was appointed as manager. Levadia immediately made a mark during their first season in top flight football in 1999, becoming the first team to win the Meistriliiga, the Estonian Cup and the Estonian Supercup in the same year.

After the turn of the century, Levadia moved their home matches from Maardu to the Kadriorg Stadium[3] and managed to repeat their success by winning another treble during the 2000 season. In the 2000–01 UEFA Champions League, Levadia defeated The New Saints 6–2 on aggregate in the first qualifying round, but lost to Shakhtar Donetsk 2–9 on aggregate in the second qualifying round. Following the loss to Shakhtar Donetsk, Ratnikov was sacked.[4] In 2001, Valeri Bondarenko was appointed as a manager. Levadia failed to defend their title, finishing the 2001 season in third place and in November 2001, Bondarenko was replaced by Pasi Rautiainen. Under Rautiainen, Levadia finished the 2002 Meistriliiga as runners-up, only two points behind champions Flora. After the season, Rautiainen resigned and was replaced by Franco Pancheri in January 2003. Pancheri coached Levadia for just 9 Meistriliiga matches, before he was sacked in June 2003. He was replaced by Tarmo Rüütli and Levadia finished the 2003 season in third place.[4]

Relocation to Tallinn edit

In 2004, Levadia officially moved to Tallinn and the club was renamed from Levadia Maardu to Levadia Tallinn, although the team had already been playing at the Kadriorg Stadium since 2000. The club's previously Tallinn-based reserve team changed its name to Levadia II. Under Rüütli, Levadia won the league in the 2004 season, but failed to defend the title in 2005, finishing as runners-up. In the 2006–07 UEFA Cup qualifying rounds, Levadia defeated Haka and Twente, but lost to Newcastle United 1–3 on aggregate in the first round.[4] In the process, they became the first Estonian club to reach the first round of the UEFA Cup.[5] Levadia won two more Meistriliiga titles in 2006 and 2007.

Levadia's 2006 squad is considered to be one of the strongest in Estonian club football history. They became the first Estonian team to reach the first round of the UEFA Cup, where they were defeated by Newcastle United 1–3 on aggregate.

In March 2008, Rüütli was hired by the Estonian Football Association to coach the Estonia national team and his assistant Igor Prins took over as manager. Under Prins, Levadia won two consecutive Meistriliiga titles in 2008 and 2009 and an Estonian Cup in 2010. In August 2010, Prins was sacked due to disagreements with the board and replaced by Levadia II manager Aleksandr Puštov. Levadia finished the 2010 season as runners-up. In July 2011, Puštov was sacked after disappointing results in the Meistriliiga and the Champions League and replaced by Sergei Hohlov-Simson. Levadia finished the 2011 season in fourth place, their lowest ever league placing since the club was promoted to the Meistriliiga. In December 2011, Marko Kristal was appointed as manager. The club won the 2011–12 Estonian Cup and finished the 2012 season as runners-up. Levadia won the Meistriliiga title in the 2013 season. The team defended their title in 2014, but finished the 2015 season as runners-up. In November 2015, it was announced that Sergei Ratnikov will return to Levadia after 15 years and replace Kristal as manager. Ratnikov's second tenure as Levadia's manager lasted until July 2016, when he was sacked following a 0–1 loss to Pärnu Linnameeskond. He was replaced by another returning manager, Igor Prins. Levadia finished the 2016 season as runners-up.

Merger with FC Infonet edit

Following another second-place finish in the 2017 season, Levadia announced they will merge with FC Infonet Tallinn, the Estonian champions of 2016. The two clubs merged their first teams, becoming FCI Levadia, with FCI Tallinn's Aleksandar Rogić taking over as manager. FCI Levadia finished the 2018 season as runners-up, but won the Estonian Cup, beating rivals FC Flora 1–0 in the final. In 2019, Levadia moved to Estonia's largest football stadium A. Le Coq Arena. On 15 September 2019, Rogić was sacked after disappointing results, with assistant coach Vladimir Vassiljev taking over as caretaker manager. In November 2019, former Estonia head coach and record cap holder Martin Reim was appointed as manager. However, after a disappointing start to the season, Martin Reim decided to resign in July 2020 and Vladimir Vassiljev took over the role.

In August 2020, Levadia's former assistant coach Marko Savić returned to the club and became joint managers with Vassiljev. In the following 2021 season, Levadia ended their 7-year Premium Liiga title drought, becoming Estonian champions in the last day of the season, after drawing 2–2 with rivals FC Flora in the title-deciding final match.[6] FCI Levadia also lifted the Estonian Cup in 2021 and Estonian Super Cup in February 2022, again beating Flora in both of the finals. In July 2022, Marko Savić and Vladimir Vassiljev announced they will be stepping down as head coaches of the club, with the main driver for the resignation being the disappointing 6–1 loss against Víkingur Reykjavík in the UEFA Champions League preliminary round. The remainder of the 2022 season was widely described by Estonian media outlets as turbulent, with Levadia changing head coaches multiple times in a short period of time and sporting director Tarmo Kink and CEO Sergei Hohlov-Simson also leaving the club. FCI Levadia finished the 2022 season as runners-up.

In November 2022, Levadia announced the appointment of former Spanish international Curro Torres as manager. The club finished the 2023 season as runners-up.

Stadiums edit

A. Le Coq Arena
Kadriorg Stadium

Lilleküla Stadium edit

The club's home ground is the 14,336-seat Lilleküla Stadium (commonly known as A. Le Coq Arena for sponsorship reasons). Opened in 2001 and expanded from 2016 to 2018, it is the largest football stadium in Estonia. The stadium is also home to Levadia's rival FC Flora and the Estonian national team. Lilleküla Stadium is located at Jalgpalli 21, Kesklinn, Tallinn.[1]

Levadia uses Sportland Arena artificial turf stadium for training and home matches during winter and early spring months. Levadia's training in summer and autumn takes place in their Maarjamäe training complex.

Kadriorg Stadium edit

From 2000 to 2018, Levadia played at the Kadriorg Stadium.[3] Built from 1922 to 1926 and renovated from 2000 to 2001, it is one of the oldest football stadiums in Estonia and used to be the home ground of the Estonia national team until the completion of Lilleküla Stadium in 2001.[1][7]

Kit manufacturers and shirt sponsors edit

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor Ref
1998–1999 Uhlsport [8][9]
1999–2008 Adidas Estonian Oil Service
2009–2011 EuroPark
2012–2021 Viimsi Keevitus
2022 Admirals, Viimsi Keevitus
2023 Macron
2024– Viimsi Keevitus

Rivalries edit

Levadia fan sector during their match against Flora on 28 June 2023

The Tallinn Derby edit

Levadia's deepest rivalry is with FC Flora and the fixture between the two clubs is known as the Tallinn Derby (Estonian: Tallinna derbi). Levadia and Flora are the two biggest and most successful clubs in Estonian football. The rivalry began in 1999, when Levadia entered Meistriliiga and immediately challenged the reigning champions Flora for the title, winning the treble in their first year in top-flight football.[10] In the early 2000s, language and nationality was also one of the separating factors between the two clubs, as Levadia was seen as the club of choice for the Russian speaking population of the city and Flora for the Estonian speaking. However, that image of Levadia has since then faded away. From 2019, the two clubs also share their home ground A. Le Coq Arena. The attendance record of 3,510 was set on 28 June 2023.[11]

Players edit

First-team squad edit

As of 8 March, 2024[12][13]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK   EST Oliver Ani
2 DF   EST Michael Schjønning-Larsen
3 DF   BRA Heitor
5 MF   EST Mark Oliver Roosnupp
6 MF   EST Rasmus Peetson (captain)
7 DF   EST Edgar Tur
9 FW   BRA Felipe Felicio (on loan from Atlético Mineiro)
10 MF   EST Ioan Yakovlev
11 MF   EST Mihkel Ainsalu (3rd captain)
15 MF   SVN Til Mavretič (vice-captain)
17 FW   EST Robert Kirss
18 MF   BRA Alexandre
No. Pos. Nation Player
19 MF   NED Richie Musaba
20 FW   NGA Ahmad Gero
23 FW   EST Frank Liivak
24 MF   RUS Aleksandr Zakarlyuka
25 DF   EST Ken Kallaste
26 DF   MLI Bourama Fomba
29 MF   EST Nikita Vassiljev
30 MF   EST Brent Lepistu
36 MF   BRA João Pedro
41 MF   EST Maksimilian Skvortsov
45 DF   EST Henri Järvelaid
99 GK   EST Karl Andre Vallner (4th captain)

Out on loan edit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
MF   AZE Murad Valiyev (at Nõmme United until 31 December 2024)

For season transfers, see transfers winter 2022–23 and transfers summer 2023.

Reserves and academy edit

Club officials edit

Honours edit

League edit

Cups edit

Seasons and statistics edit

Seasons edit

Europe edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c "A. Le Coq Arena" (in Estonian). Estonian Football Association. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  2. ^ "FCI Levadia Ajalugu". FCI Levadia.
  3. ^ a b "Vutihooaeg stardib". Sõnumileht. 31 March 2000.
  4. ^ a b c "Klubi ajalugu" [Club history] (in Estonian). FC Levadia. Archived from the original on 27 April 2009.
  5. ^ "Levadia tegi Eesti jalgpalliajalugu". Õhtuleht (in Estonian). 25 August 2006.
  6. ^ "Levadia crowned Estonian champs after snowy final match". ERR. 6 December 2021.
  7. ^ "Ajalugu" [History]. Kadrioru staadion. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  8. ^ "FC Levadia Tallinn". Retrieved 27 November 2023.
  9. ^ "FCI Levadia Tallinn Kit History". Football Kit Archive. Retrieved 15 March 2023.
  10. ^ Tallinna derbi värvikas ajalugu sai alguse juba 20 aastat tagasi (Video) (in Estonian), 26 April 2019
  11. ^ "Publikurekord! Levadia ja Flora duell purustas 20 aastat püsinud tippmargi". Soccernet. 28 June 2023.
  12. ^ "Tallinna FCI Levadia" (in Estonian). Estonian Football Association. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  13. ^ "Esindusmeeskond - FCI Levadia Tallinn" (in Estonian). Archived from the original on 27 November 2022. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  14. ^ "First team". FCI Levadia. Archived from the original on 27 November 2022. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  15. ^ "Inimesed - FCI Levadia Tallinn". FCI Levadia.
  16. ^ "Staff 2023". FCI Levadia. 11 July 2023.
  17. ^ "Klubi - FCI Levadia". Retrieved 30 January 2023.

External links edit