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Latvian Higher League or Virslīga is a professional football league and the top tier of association football in Latvia. Organised by the Latvian Football Federation, the Higher League is contested by 9 clubs. The full name of the league is Optibet Virslīga for sponsorship reasons since 2019.

Latvian Higher League
Logo virsliga.svg
Founded1927
CountryLatvia
ConfederationUEFA (Europe)
Number of teams9
Level on pyramid1
Relegation toLatvijas 1. līga
Domestic cup(s)Latvian Cup
Latvian Supercup
International cup(s)Champions League
Europa League
Current championsRiga FC
(2019)
Most championshipsSkonto (15)
Websitehttps://optibetvirsliga.lv
2019 Latvian Higher League

Contents

League formatEdit

The first all-national championship was organized in 1927. After the 2007 season the league increased from eight to ten sides.[1] In 2008 each side played the others four times.

At the end of the season, the lowest placed team are automatically relegated into Traffic 1. liga, and the winner of the Traffic 1. liga automatically takes their place. The second lowest placed team in Virslīga and the second team of 1. liga play two matches for a place in the Virslīga the following season. The winner of Virslīga, the champion of Latvia, plays in the UEFA Champions League qualifying round. The second and third placed clubs play in the UEFA Europa League qualifying games.[2]

A winter off-season league cup, the Virslīga Winter Cup, was played in January of each year from 2013 to 2017, which was replaced next year by the Virslīga Cup (Latvian: Virslīgas kausa izcīņa).[3]

Sponsorships and name changesEdit

The League has changed sponsors for several times. From 2005 until 2010 it was known as the LMT Virslīga. No sponsorships were established for the 2011 season. Starting from the 2012 season, the league was reorganised in partnership with an NGO as "Latvijas Futbola virslīga",[4] adopting the NGO's name in the 2012 season. From 2013 to 2015, the league was known as the SMScredit.lv Virslīga due to a contract with the online microfinance company SMScredit.[5] In March 2016, it was announced that the Virslīga would be sponsored by SynotTip Sports Bar on a three-year contract.[6] They were succeded by betting firm Optibet on a two-year contract, beginning with the 2019 season.[7]

Clubs (2019)Edit

Titles by yearEdit

Source:[10]

Riga Football LeagueEdit

Latvian Championship 1922–1940 (independent)Edit

Football Championship of Latvian SSR 1942–1990Edit

Since independence in 1991Edit

Most titlesEdit

This is a list of clubs, in order of most titles won in the independent era (1922-1940 and 1991 to date):[10]

Club No. of Titles Years won
Skonto Riga 15 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2010
RFK Riga 8 1924, 1925, 1926, 1930, 1931, 1934, 1935, 1940
Olimpija Liepāja 7 1927, 1928, 1929, 1933, 1936, 1938, 1939
Ventspils 6 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014
Liepājas Metalurgs 2 2005, 2009
Kaiserwald Riga 2 1922, 1923
JPFS/Spartaks Jūrmala 2 2016, 2017
Riga FC 1 2018
FK Liepāja 1 2015
Daugava Daugavpils 1 2012
ASK Riga 1 1932

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Mike Dryomin (14 March 2008). "Latvia 2007". RSSSF. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  2. ^ Hartmanis, Martins (2007-12-01). "LMT Virslīga new season calendar published". Latvian Football Federation. Retrieved 2008-02-20.
  3. ^ "Ziemas kauss futbolā vairs nenotiks, to aizstās Virslīgas kausa izcīņa". LA.lv (in Latvian). 2017-12-22. Retrieved 2019-08-07.
  4. ^ "About Virslīga". Biedrība Latvijas Futbola Virslīga. Futbolavirsliga.lv. Archived from the original on 3 June 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013. (in Latvian)
  5. ^ "Latvijas futbola virslīgai nākamajā sezonā būs jauns ģenerālsponsors". Public Broadcasting of Latvia (in Latvian). 2018-10-17. Retrieved 2019-08-07.
  6. ^ "Virslīga ar "SynotTip" noslēdz vērienīgāko līgumu līgas vēsturē" (in Latvian). Sportacentrs.com. 10 March 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  7. ^ "Becomes main sponsor of Latvian football league". Enlabs AB. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  8. ^ "Optibet Virslīga". Latvian Football Federation (in Latvian). Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  9. ^ "Summary - Virsliga - Latvia - Results, fixtures, tables and news". Soccerway. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  10. ^ a b Almantas Lauzadis and Hans Schöggl (23 March 2017). "Latvia - List of Champions". RSSSF. Retrieved 9 June 2017.

External linksEdit