The I Lyga, LFF I Lyga, Pirma Lyga, is the second tier of professional Lithuanian football championship.

LFF I Lyga
I Lyga logo.png
Founded1991; 31 years ago (1991)
CountryLithuania
Number of teams14
Level on pyramid2
Promotion toA Lyga
Relegation toII Lyga
Current championsFA Šiauliai (1st title)
(2021)
TV partnersFutbolo.tv, Init
Websitehttp://www.1lyga.lt
Current: 2022 LFF I Lyga

FormatEdit

Organized by the Lithuanian Football Federation (LFF), I Lyga is contested by 14-16 teams, with the top team gaining promotion to A Lyga and replaced by the lowest-placed team in top division and the bottom 4 clubs being relegated to the II Lyga. Starting with the 2016 season, the second-placed team qualifies to promotion play-offs with A Lyga's next-to-last team. The final list of participants often does not correlate to the final results of the previous season, as the participation is finalized through the Lithuanian Football Federation league licensing process.

HistoryEdit

There were 15 teams competing in the 2017 season. At the end of this season, three teams withdrew from all competitions.

In 2018, there were 14 teams that started the championship. However, FK Koralas Klaipėda withdrew in the mid-season. After the end of the season, two more teams have withdrawn from participation in the next season.

The 2019 season saw 16 teams starting the championship. In June FC Stumbras ran into financial difficulties, its license was withdrawn from the A Lyga, along with Stumbras B license in the I Lyga. In July Stumbras B was removed from the league, with all results annulled as the team played less than half of all season games. At the end of the season an investigation into match-fixing was launched. As a result, FK Atlantas and FK Palanga were expelled from A Lyga and demoted to II Lyga. An appeal to allow to participate in I Lyga was rejected. As the investigation continued, I Lyga side FC Kupiškis was also found to be involved in match-fixing, and subsequently fined and demoted to II Lyga.

Although the 2019 I Lyga winners FC Džiugas Telšiai won promotion to A lyga, the club failed to meet 2020 A Lyga licensing criteria, and had their promotion forfeited. Only FK Banga Gargždai had advanced to A Lyga after the 2019 season, having won the promotion playoff against the A lyga 7-th placed FK Palanga before its expulsion from the A Lyga.

The 2020 season was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and was shortened to 1.5 rounds. 14 teams participated in the tournament, with four teams offered promotion to A Lyga. The last-placed team was meant to be relegated, but in the end stayed up in I Lyga.

2021 season ran in full despite some COVID-19 threats. As four teams advanced to the A Lyga, and one club withdrew, five teams joined from the II Lyga. Previous season winner FK Jonava were denied A Lyga license because of allegations of match-fixing. The league consisted of 14 teams, with an expectation to expand the league to 16 the next season.

Current SeasonEdit

FA Šiauliai won the 2021 title, beating FK Jonava in the last round. Both clubs finished with 66 points, and the top position had to be decided by additional match at a neutral stadium. FA Šiauliai had won both matches this season - 3:1 and 1:0. And also won additional match on penalties to become champions. Match was played in Kėdainiai.

Promotion/relegation play-offEdit

For the last several years, the second-placed team contested with A Lyga's next-to-last team in a play-off for a spot in A Lyga.

Since 2020 season saw A Lyga reduced to 6 teams, the LFF announced that 4 teams will gain promotion from I Lyga this season. The play-off match was not mentioned.[1]

At the 2021 season end, it is expected that two teams will be relegated directly from A Lyga, without a play-off game.

Past SeasonsEdit

Season Champion Topscorer Goals
1990 Panerys Vilnius
1991 Žalgiris-2 Vilnius
1991–92 Žalgiris-2 Vilnius
1992–93 Azotas Jonava
1993–94 Mūša Ukmergė
1994–95 Geležinis Vilkas Vilnius Igoris Verbovikas (Lokomotyvas Vilnius) 13
1995–96 Ranga-Politechnika Kaunas Svajūnas Česnulis (Laisvė Šilutė) 19
1996–97 Klevas Šiauliai Svajūnas Česnulis (Laisvė Šilutė) 23
1997–98 Dainava Alytus Jevgenijus Medvedevas (Lietava Jonava 17
1998–99 Lietava Jonava Marijus Kursevičius (Atletas Kaunas) 20
1999 Kauno Jėgeriai Ruslanas Kirsanovas (Geležinis Vilkas Vilnius) 15
2000 Vėtra Rūdiškės Šarūnas Litvinas (Pieno Cechas Kalvarija) 32
2001 Polonija Vilnius Tomas Radzinevičius (Sūduva Marijampolė) 33
2002 Vėtra Rūdiškės Denisas Vasilkovas (Interas Visaginas, Vėtra Rūdiškės) 27
2003 Polonija Vilnius Vytautas Zaboras (Polonija Vilnius) 27
2004 KFK Šiauliai Gvidas Juška (Babrungas Plungė, Kauno Jėgeriai) 21
2005 Alytis Alytus Kęstutis Nepas (Vėtra-2 Vilnius, Alytis Alytus) 22
2006 Kauno Jėgeriai Ramūnas Timinskas (Kruoja Pakruojis) 22
2007 Alytis Alytus Rimantas Cepovas (Rodiklis Kaunas) 25
2008 Tauras Tauragė Martynas Karalius (Glestum Klaipėda) 19
2009 Šilutė Gvidas Juška (Šilutė) 21
2010 FBK Kaunas Arsenij Buinickij (Lietava Jonava) 28
2011 REO Vilnius Aivaras Lyberis (Nevėžis Kėdainiai) 24
2012 Lietava Jonava Aivaras Lyberis (Nevėžis Kėdainiai) 24
2013 Klaipėdos Granitas Aivaras Lyberis (Nevėžis Kėdainiai)
Edgaras Mastianica (Klaipėdos Granitas)
18
2014 Stumbras Kaunas Artūras Rimkevičius (Stumbras Kaunas) 26
2015 Lietava Jonava Laurynas Stonkus (Lietava Jonava) 30
2016 Šilas Kazlų Rūda Artur Skuratovič (Vilniaus Vytis) 31
2017 Palanga Gvidas Juška (Palanga) 31
2018 Panevėžys Evaldas Kugys (Nevėžis Kėdainiai) 20
2019 Džiugas Telšiai Evaldas Kugys (Nevėžis Kėdainiai), Jose Luis Balanta (DFK Dainava) 19
2020 Nevėžis Kėdainiai Evaldas Kugys (Nevėžis Kėdainiai) 16
2021 FA Šiauliai Ričardas Beniušis (FK Šilas) 22

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Vykdomojo komiteto posėdžio metu patvirtintas I ir A lygų komandų skaičius". LFF. 6 February 2020. Retrieved 1 March 2020.

External linksEdit