FC Fakel Voronezh (Russian: Футбольный клуб "Факел" Воронеж) is a Russian professional football club based in Voronezh. Founded in 1947, the club has played in the Soviet Top League and the Russian Premier League. The club returned to the Russian Premier League in the 2022–23 season. The club holds the record for fan attendance in Eastern Europe.

Fakel Voronezh
Full nameFootball club «Fakel» Voronezh
Nickname(s)Факелоны
(Fakelony)
Founded1947; 77 years ago (1947)
GroundCentral Stadium of Trade Unions, Voronezh
Capacity32,750
PresidentRoman Askhabadze
Head CoachIgor Cherevchenko
LeagueRussian Premier League
2023–2411th
WebsiteClub website

History

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The club was founded in 1947 at a then classified airplane plant. For reasons of secrecy, the team was not officially given a name and was referred to as the Voronezh city team. In 1959 the team became a part of Trud sports society and was renamed Trud Voronezh. In 1977 the team was renamed Fakel, meaning "Torch".

The team played in the Soviet League since 1954:

  • 1954–1960 in Class B
  • 1961 in Class A (Soviet Top League)
  • 1962 in Class B
  • 1963–1970 in Class A, Group 2
  • 1971–1978 in Second League
  • 1979–1984 in First League
  • 1985 in Top League
  • 1986–1987 in First League
  • 1988 in Second League
  • 1989–1991 in First League

The best finish achieved by Fakel in the Premier League was 11th in 2023/2024. The club has won 3 Second Division titles.

Fakel has also experienced several short-lived name changes: to Fakel-Profsoyuz in 1992, Voronezh in 2002 and Fakel-Voronezh in 2002–2003.

Fakel and FC Yelets were excluded from the Russian Second Division for attempts to bribe and threaten the referee on 18 July 2009.[1] At the time of exclusion (21 August), Fakel were sixth with 31 points from 19 games, while Yelets were 16th with 9 points from 19 games.

A new club called FC Fakel Voronezh technically independent from the club that played in 2009 as FC Fakel-Voronezh Voronezh was founded in 2010 and played in the Russian Second Division (FSA Voronezh failed licensing for 2010 and the new Fakel was the only Voronezh professional team for 2010). It employed the manager and 6 players from the 2009 FC Fakel-Voronezh roster. The reserve team FC Fakel-d Voronezh played in the Amateur Football League in 2010 (view – FC Fakel-M Voronezh).

Before the 2011–12 season FC Saturn Moscow Oblast dropped out of Russian Premier League due to financial problems. FC Krasnodar replaced them in the Premier League, creating a vacancy in the Russian First Division. Despite only coming in 4th in their Russian Second Division zone in 2010, Fakel volunteered to take the First Division spot, and the Russian Football Union decided to promote the team. They were relegated back to the third level in the same 2011–12 season. They returned to the Russian Football National League in the 2015–16 season. Despite finishing in the relegation zone at the end of the 2017–18 season, the club was not relegated as other clubs ahead in the standings failed to obtain the league license for 2018–19.[2]

They finished in the relegation zone once again in the 2018–19 season, but due to failure of FC Sakhalin Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and FC Anzhi Makhachkala to acquire a 2019–20 license, they were not relegated.[3][4]

The 2019–20 season was abandoned due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Russia with Fakel once again in relegation spot. However, due to the pandemic, none of the teams, including Fakel, were relegated.

Fakel finished 2nd in the 2021–22 Russian Football National League to secure promotion to the Russian Premier League for the first time since the 2001 season.[5]

The club's return to the top division was marked by high attendance levels at home matches, fiery support from the stands and loud crowd singing of the biggest hits of Sektor Gaza, a famous local punk rock band. Fakel came 3rd by average attendance in the 2022–23 Russian Premier League just behind FC Zenit Saint Petersburg and FC Krasnodar.

Fakel finished their first season upon return in 14th place, qualifying for relegation play-offs against FC Yenisey Krasnoyarsk.[6] They managed to keep their Premier League spot after defeating Yenisey 3–0 on aggregate.[7]  

Current squad

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As of 13 June 2024[8]

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   RUS Vitali Gudiyev
2 DF   RUS Vasili Cherov
5 MF   RSA Thabo Cele
8 FW   RUS Abdula Bagamayev
10 MF   RUS Ilnur Alshin
11 MF   MDA Nichita Moțpan
14 FW   RUS Khyzyr Appayev
20 FW   RUS Yevgeni Markov
22 DF   RUS Igor Yurganov
23 MF   RUS Vyacheslav Yakimov
No. Pos. Nation Player
31 GK   RUS Aleksandr Belenov
33 MF   RUS Irakli Kvekveskiri (captain)
47 DF   RUS Sergei Bozhin
64 MF   RUS Andrey Ivlev
72 DF   FRA Rayan Senhadji
77 MF   RUS Luka Bagateliya
88 DF   RUS Vladislav Masternoy
92 DF   RUS Sergei Bryzgalov
MF   NED Dylan Mertens
MF   RUS Mikhail Shchetinin (on loan from Lokomotiv Moscow)

Other players under contract

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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   RUS Daniil Chernyakov
No. Pos. Nation Player
MF   RUS Nikita Yershov

Reserve squad

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Fakel's reserve squad played professionally as FC Fakel-d Voronezh in the Russian Third League in 1997. It re-entered professional football as FC Fakel-M Voronezh for the 2020–21 season.

Notable players

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Had international caps for their respective countries. Players whose name is listed in bold represented their countries while playing for Fakel.

Coaching staff

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Position Staff
Manager Vacant
Assistant Manager   Sergei Tomarov
First-Team Coach   Valeri Klimov
Goalkeeper Coach   Vladimir Sychyov
Fitness Coach   Dmitry Sorokin
Team Leader   Stanislav Sukhina
Physiotherapist   Alexey Muzalevsky
Masseur   Alexey Melnikov
  Vladimir Yakushin
Administrator   Ruslan Taratukhin
  Vladimir Kopaev

References

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  1. ^ "ФАКЕЛ-ВОРОНЕЖ" И "ЕЛЕЦ" ИСКЛЮЧЕНЫ ИЗ ПРОФЕССИОНАЛЬНОЙ ЛИГИ. НО ИХ "ДЕЛО" НЕ ЗАКРЫТО (in Russian). Sport-Express. 22 August 2009. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  2. ^ Клубы ФНЛ получили лицензии (in Russian). Russian National Football League. 30 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Сахалин" выиграл первенство ПФЛ в зоне "Восток", но не сыграет в ФНЛ [Sakhalin won the PFL East zone, but will not play in the FNL] (in Russian). RIA Novosti. 28 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Анжи" не будет выступать в ФНЛ в следующем сезоне [Anzhi will not play in the FNL next season] (in Russian). Sport Express. 29 May 2019.
  5. ^ ""ТОРПЕДО" – ПОБЕДИТЕЛЬ ОЛИМП-ФНЛ, "ФАКЕЛ" СТАЛ ВТОРЫМ" (in Russian). Russian Football National League. 21 May 2022.
  6. ^ "«Пари НН» и «Факел» сыграют в переходных матчах за места в Мир РПЛ-2023/24" (in Russian). Russian Premier League. 3 June 2023.
  7. ^ ""Пари НН" и "Факел" сохранили места в РПЛ" (in Russian). Russian Premier League. 10 June 2023.
  8. ^ According to the Premier League website
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