Football in Latvia

Football is the number one sport based on participation, but the third sport in Latvia after ice hockey and basketball based on popularity.[1] Many other sports are also more popular than football in Latvia, but in recent years it has gained more popularity.[2][3] The Latvian Football Federation (Latvian: Latvijas Futbola federācija) is the sport's national governing body.[4][5] There is a league system, with the Higher League and First League serving as the top leagues in Latvia. There is the Latvian Second League also, where mostly amateur teams play. There are also national cup competitions, with the Latvian Cup being the most notable.

Football in Latvia
CountryLatvia
Governing bodyLatvian Football Federation
National team(s)Latvia national football team
National competitions
Club competitions
International competitions

HistoryEdit

The Latvian Football Federation was founded in 1921. In 1922 The Latvian Football Federation joined FIFA.[6] In 1940-1991, Latvia was part of the USSR and as an independent state did not take part in the World Cup and European championships. After gaining independence in 1992, membership was restored.

Domestic FootballEdit

Skonto FC were the most popular and successful football team in Latvia and have won the Latvian Higher League 14 times since independence from Russia.[7][8][9] Latvian football is rife with corruption and bribery.[10] FK Ventspils is the only team from Latvia which has played in the group stage of the UEFA Europe League (2009–10). No Latvian team has ever reached the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.

League systemEdit

The table below illustrates the comprehensive structure of Latvian league football.[11]

Note: Exact numbers of clubs at every level of the league system, particularly those at lower levels, are subject to change and are current as of the 2022 season.

Level

Total clubs (80 +-)

League(s) / division(s)

1

10

Higher League
10 clubs – 1 or 2 relegations

2

14

First League
14 clubs – 1 or 2 promotions, 2 or 3 relegations

3

16

Second League East
8 clubs – 0 to 3 promotions (2 to 3 nationwide), 0 to 4 relegations (4 nationwide)

Second League West
8 clubs – 0 to 3 promotions (2 to 3 nationwide), 0 to 4 relegations (4 nationwide)

4

37

Third League Centre
10 clubs – 0 to 2 promotions (4 nationwide)[a]

Third League East
9 clubs – 0 to 2 promotions (4 nationwide)

Third League North
10 clubs – 0 to 2 promotions (4 nationwide)[a]

Third League West
8 clubs – 0 to 2 promotions (4 nationwide)

National teamEdit

The Latvia national football team in 2003 qualified to Euro 2004.[12][13] This resulted in being the first and currently only Baltic national team to do so.

See alsoEdit

National teamsEdit

Women's teamsEdit

CompetitionsEdit

LeaguesEdit

Women's leaguesEdit

CupsEdit

ClubsEdit

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b Promotion to either the Second League East or Second League West is based on geographic factors.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "A German aims to improve the state of football in Latvia". dpa International. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Daugava's recipe for title success". UEFA.com. 2012-11-28. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
  3. ^ "Hard work bearing fruit for Latvia –". Uefa.com. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
  4. ^ "When Saturday Comes - Riga mortis". Wsc.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
  5. ^ "BBC SPORT | Football | Euro 2004 | Latvia | How they qualified: Latvia". BBC News. 2004-05-21. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
  6. ^ "Latvian football survives setbacks | Inside UEFA". UEFA.com. July 9, 2018.
  7. ^ Bousfield, Jonathan (13 March 2019). Baltic States. Rough Guides. ISBN 9781858288406. Retrieved 13 March 2019 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ Fuller, Stuart (17 October 2016). The Football Tourist: The Second Half. Ockley Books. ISBN 9781912022519. Retrieved 13 March 2019 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ "Skonto FC declared insolvent". eng.lsm.lv. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  10. ^ O'Connor, Robert (26 September 2016). "Match-Fixing and Money Laundering: The Bitter Demise of Latvian Soccer". Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  11. ^ "Latvijas Futbola federācija". lff.lv (in Latvian). Retrieved 2022-12-29.
  12. ^ uefa.com. "UEFA EURO 2004 - History - Latvia". UEFA.com. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  13. ^ "Johnson's vision provides cause for celebration in Latvia and Yeovil". The Independent. 22 November 2003. Retrieved 13 March 2019.

External linksEdit

  • League321.com - Latvian football league tables, records & statistics database (in English)