Lebanese Premier League

The Lebanese Premier League (Arabic: الدوري اللبناني لكرة القدم‎, lit. 'Lebanese Football League') is the top division of the Lebanese football league system. There are 12 teams competing in the league, which operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the Lebanese Second Division.

Lebanese Premier League
Organising bodyLebanese Football Association (LFA)
Founded1933; 87 years ago (1933)
CountryLebanon
ConfederationAFC
Number of teams12
Level on pyramid1
Relegation toLebanese Second Division
Domestic cup(s)Lebanese FA Cup
Lebanese Super Cup
League cup(s)Lebanese Elite Cup
Lebanese Challenge Cup
International cup(s)AFC Cup
Current championsAhed (7th title)
(2018–19)
Most championshipsAnsar (13 titles)
Top goalscorerWartan Ghazarian[a]
Fadi Alloush (118)
TV partnersMTV Lebanon (TV broadcasting)
Mycujoo (Online streaming)
Websitelebanesefootballassociation.com
2019–20 Lebanese Premier League

The league was formed in 1933, with Nahda winning the first title. The most successful club in the league is Ansar, with 13 league titles. They have set a Guinness World Record by winning 11 consecutive league titles between 1988 and 1999, a record that has since been surpassed. Seasons run from September to April with each team playing 22 games (playing all 11 other teams both home and away). Most games are played on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

HistoryEdit

 
Nahda holding the Lebanese Premier League cup in the 1940s.

On 22 March 1933, representatives of thirteen associations gathered in the city of Mina Al Hosn to form the Lebanon Football Association,[1] with Lebanese journalist Nassif Majdalani helping in its formation.[2] It joined FIFA in 1935 and the AFC in 1964.[3][4] The Lebanese Premier League began the same year as the formation of the Federation, with Nahda winning the first title.[5]

Most clubs were born on the basis of sectarianism, such as Sagesse being a Christian club and Ansar having a Sunni fanbase.[6][7] Nahda, AUB and Sika Railways shared the titles during the first decade of the league.[5] Between the 1940s and 1960s, Armenian clubs, such as Homenetmen and Homenmen, were the most prominent in the early Lebanese footballing scene.[6] The two clubs shared 11 titles in 16 seasons between 1943 and 1969.[5]

Following a 12-year interruption of the league due to the Lebanese Civil War, Ansar dominated the league winning 11 consecutive league titles between 1988 and 1999. They set a Guinness World Record for most consecutive league titles, which has been since broken by Skonto of Latvia in 2002.[8] From 2000, Nejmeh were the dominating force in Lebanon, winning five out of nine league titles until 2009.

During the 2010s Ahed, who had only won one league title prior, won six league titles. After winning the 2018–19 Lebanese Premier League Ahed became the three-time defending champions, a feat accomplished only one other time, by Ansar in 1992.[9] The 2018–19 season was one of the worst in Lebanese football since the end of the Lebanese Civil War, with poor preparations by teams, match-fixing, and tensions between clubs and the Federation being the hot-topics of the season.[10] On 21 January 2020, the LFA decided to suspend all football leagues until further notice, and cancelled the three match days that were previously played (the last one being on 17 October 2019).[11]

Competition formatEdit

CompetitionEdit

There are 12 clubs in the Lebanese Premier League. During the course of a season each club plays the others twice (a double round-robin system), once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents', for 22 games. Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, then head-to-head records, and then goal difference. If still equal, a draw takes place to determine the position.

Promotion and relegationEdit

A system of promotion and relegation exists between the Lebanese Premier League and the Lebanese Second Division. The two lowest placed teams in the Lebanese Premier League are relegated to the Second Division, and the top two teams from the Second Division promoted to the Lebanese Premier League.

ClubsEdit

ChampionsEdit

No. Season Champion
1 1933–34 Nahda
2 1934–35 AUB
3 1935–36 Sika
4 1936–37 AUB
5 1937–38 AUB
6 1938–39 Sika
1939–40 Canceled
7 1940–41 Sika
8 1941–42 Nahda
9 1942–43 Nahda
10 1943–44 Homenetmen
11 1944–45 Homenmen
12 1945–46 Homenetmen
13 1946–47 Nahda
14 1947–48 Homenetmen
15 1948–49 Nahda
1949–50 Canceled
16 1950–51 Homenetmen
No. Season Champion
1951 to 1953 Canceled
17 1953–54 Homenmen
18 1954–55 Homenetmen
19 1955–56 Racing Beirut
20 1956–57 Homenmen
1957 to 1960 Canceled
21 1960–61 Homenmen
1961–62 Canceled
22 1962–63 Homenetmen
1963–64 Canceled
23 1964–65 Racing Beirut
1965–66 Canceled
24 1966–67 Shabiba Mazraa
1967–68 Canceled
25 1968–69 Homenetmen
26 1969–70 Racing Beirut
1970 to 1972 Canceled
27 1972–73 Nejmeh
No. Season Champion
1973–74 Canceled
28 1974–75 Nejmeh
1975 to 1987 Canceled
29 1987–88 Ansar
1988–89 Canceled
30 1989–90 Ansar
31 1990–91 Ansar
32 1991–92 Ansar
33 1992–93 Ansar
34 1993–94 Ansar
35 1994–95 Ansar
36 1995–96 Ansar
37 1996–97 Ansar
38 1997–98 Ansar
39 1998–99 Ansar
40 1999–2000 Nejmeh
41 2000–01 Not awarded
42 2001–02 Nejmeh
No. Season Champion
43 2002–03 Olympic Beirut
44 2003–04 Nejmeh
45 2004–05 Nejmeh
46 2005–06 Ansar
47 2006–07 Ansar
48 2007–08 Ahed
49 2008–09 Nejmeh
50 2009–10 Ahed
51 2010–11 Ahed
52 2011–12 Safa
53 2012–13 Safa
54 2013–14 Nejmeh
55 2014–15 Ahed
56 2015–16 Safa
57 2016–17 Ahed
58 2017–18 Ahed
59 2018–19 Ahed
60 2019–20 Suspended

Wins by clubEdit

Club Wins Winning years
Ansar 13 1987–88, 1989–90, 1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1997–98, 1998–99, 2005–06, 2006–07
Nejmeh 8 1972–73, 1974–75, 1999–00, 2001–02, 2003–04, 2004–05, 2008–09, 2013–14
Homenetmen 7 1943–44, 1945–46, 1947–48, 1950–51, 1954–55, 1962–63, 1968–69
Ahed 2007–08, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2014–15, 2016–17, 2017–18, 2018–19
Nahda 5 1933–34, 1941–42, 1942–43, 1946–47, 1948–49
Homenmen 4 1944–45, 1953–54, 1956–57, 1960–61
AUB 3 1934–35, 1936–37, 1937–38
Sika 1935–36, 1938–39, 1940–41
Racing Beirut 1955–56, 1964–65, 1969–70
Safa 2011–12, 2012–13, 2015–16
Shabiba Mazraa 1 1966–67
Olympic Beirut 2002–03

2019–20 seasonEdit

The following 20 clubs are competing in the Lebanese Premier League during the current 2019–20 season.

Club Home city Position in 2018–19 Top division titles Last top division title
Ahed Beirut (Ouzai) 1st in the Lebanese Premier League 7 2018–19
Akhaa Ahli Aley 4th in the Lebanese Premier League 0 n/a
Ansar Beirut (Tariq El Jdideh) 2nd in the Lebanese Premier League 13 2006–07
Bourj Beirut (Bourj el-Barajneh) 1st in the Lebanese Second Division 0 n/a
Chabab Ghazieh Ghazieh 6th in the Lebanese Premier League 0 n/a
Nejmeh Beirut (Ras Beirut) 3rd in the Lebanese Premier League 8 2013–14
Safa Beirut (Wata El-Museitbeh) 9th in the Lebanese Premier League 3 2015–16
Salam Zgharta Zgharta 10th in the Lebanese Premier League 0 n/a
Shabab Bourj Beirut (Bourj el-Barajneh) 2nd in the Lebanese Second Division 0 n/a
Shabab Sahel Beirut (Haret Hreik) 5th in the Lebanese Premier League 0 n/a
Tadamon Sour Tyre 7th in the Lebanese Premier League 0 n/a
Tripoli Tripoli 8th in the Lebanese Premier League 1 2002–03

MapsEdit

Media coverageEdit

The Lebanese League broadcasting rights are distributed to MTV Lebanon. Live coverage of selected games is broadcast each week, and weekly highlights of each match are produced once a week. Mycujoo broadcasts some of the remaining matches online. They also stream a selection of Lebanese Second Division and Lebanese Futsal League games weekly.

StadiumsEdit

At the start of the 2005–06 season, the Lebanese government imposed a ban on spectators due to fears of political and sectarian-inspired violence in the stadiums.[14][15] After six years, in 2011, the ban was lifted and fans were allowed to regularly attend matches.[15] While attendance was initially scarce, spectators started to show up more regularly season after season. Indeed, in 2018 ultras groups started to form, with Nejmeh's "Ultras Supernova" being the first.[16][17][18] Other teams quickly followed, such as Ansar, Ahed and Bourj.[19][20][21]

Prior to the start of each season, every team chooses two stadiums as their home venues. In case both stadiums are unavailable for a certain matchday, another venue is used. While teams such as Nejmeh and Ahed have their own stadiums, respectively Rafic El-Hariri Stadium and Ahed Stadium, they prefer to use bigger stadiums in Lebanon such as the Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium and the Beirut Municipal Stadium.[22]

PlayersEdit

Foreign players and transfer regulationsEdit

Lebanese clubs are allowed to have three foreign players at their disposal at any time, as well as one extra Palestinian player born in Lebanon.[23] Moreover, each club competing in an AFC competition is allowed to field one extra foreign player, to be only played in continental matches, as the AFC allows four foreign players to play in the starting eleven (one of whom from an AFC country).[24]

Players may only be transferred during transfer windows that are set by the Lebanese Football Association. The two transfer windows run from 1 July to 17 September and from 8 December to 7 January.[25]

Homegrown playersEdit

Starting from the 2019–20 season, all teams in the Lebanese Premier League and Lebanese Second Division must involve a certain number of under-22 players in the both the league and the Lebanese FA Cup, with a minimum of 1,000 minutes for one player, a minimum of 1,500 aggregate minutes for two players and a minimum of 2,000 aggregate minutes for three players. In case a club were to not meet the required number of minutes at the end of the season, they would have three points deducted from their total in the league.[26]

Top scorersEdit

 
Wartan Ghazarian is the joint highest goalscorer in Lebanese Premier League history with 118 goals
As of 6 April 2019[27][28]
Rank Name Years Goals
1   Wartan Ghazarian 1992–2002, 2003–2004, 2006–2009 118[a]
  Fadi Alloush 1985–1999 118
3   Haitham Zein 1998–2007, 2008–2012 112
4   Abbas Ahmed Atwi 1997–2012, 2012– 106
5   Mohammad Kassas 1995–2005, 2006–2008, 2008–2011, 2016–2017 105
6   Abbas Ali Atwi 2001– 85
7   Moussa Hojeij 1994–2008, 2009–2014 82
8   Ali Nasseredine 2002–2011, 2012–2017 75
9   Wael Nazha 1986–1999 70
10   Hassan Maatouk 2005–2012, 2017– 68

Italics denotes players still playing professional football, Bold denotes players still playing in the Lebanese Premier League.

The Golden Boot is awarded to the top Lebanese Premier League scorer at the end of each season. Wartan Ghazarian and Fadi Alloush both hold the record for most Lebanese Premier League goals with 118. Five have reached the 100-goal mark. Six players were top scorers more than once: Levon Altonian, Fadi Alloush, Mohammad Kassas, Mohammed Ghaddar, Lucas Galán and El Hadji Malick Tall have all been top scorers twice. Fadi Alloush holds the record for most goals in a season (32) while playing for Ansar.

Official match ballEdit

On 30 July 2019, the Lebanese Football Association announced a three-year deal with German sportswear company Jako for €120,000, with the Jako Match 2.0 becoming the league's official match ball starting from the 2019–20 season.[29]

  • 2019–present: Jako Match 2.0

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b Ghazarian scored a total of 130 goals, however his 12 goals scored during the 2000–01 season were not counted as the season was canceled.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ الإعلام الرياضي في لبنان بين شباك السياسة والإهمال [Sports media in Lebanon between politics and neglect]. الأخبار (in Arabic). Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  2. ^ Mubarak, Hassanin; Morrison, Neil. "Lebanon - International Results - Early History". www.rsssf.com. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  3. ^ عساف, فراس ابو. لمحة عن الإتحاد [Lebanese Football Federation]. الاتحاد اللبناني لكرة القدم (in Arabic). Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  4. ^ تاريخ تاسيس الاتحاد اللبناني لكرة القدم؟ [The date of the establishment of the Lebanese Football Federation?]. Elsport News (in Arabic). Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "Lebanon - List of Champions". www.rsssf.com. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  6. ^ a b Mouawad, Jamil. "Lebanese Football: Imagining a Defiant and United Lebanon". Retrieved 14 March 2019 – via www.academia.edu. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ "The Birth, Death and Re-Birth of Lebanese Football - Ahdaaf". Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  8. ^ terrythetourist (29 June 2013). "Lebanese Football: From Beirut to Buecker". Terry The Tourist. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  9. ^ الميادين, شبكة (7 April 2019). نادي العهد... قصة طموح ومثابرة نحو المجد. شبكة الميادين (in Arabic). Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  10. ^ Afiouni, Nadim (1 June 2019). "Poor preparations, match-fixing and tensions between clubs and the FA result in worst domestic season in recent years". FA Lebanon. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  11. ^ "القرار المرّ: نشاط الفوتبول معلّق حتى إشعار آخر". الأخبار (in Arabic). Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  12. ^ "MTV Lebanon - Program - ALFA Lebanese Football League - 2019". www.mtv.com.lb. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  13. ^ mycujoo.tv. "mycujoo live football streaming: Watch Football Online". mycujoo.tv. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  14. ^ Lebanon, Zeina Khodr in Beirut. "Lebanon's empty football stadiums". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  15. ^ a b Neumann, Jeff (1 March 2012). "Sectarian Violence Makes Getting in to Lebanese Soccer Games a Real Bitch". Vice. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  16. ^ "المدرجات لا تعترف إلا بالشجعان". lebanonfg.com. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  17. ^ COPA90. "Ultras Supernova: Lebanon's First Ultras Group". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  18. ^ مباريات قويّة في الجولة العاشرة. الأخبار (in Arabic). Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  19. ^ البداية من «المدينة» والختام فيها. الأخبار (in Arabic). Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  20. ^ مباريات قويّة في الجولة العاشرة. الأخبار (in Arabic). Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  21. ^ "«معركة» في جونية و«ألتراس» في برج البراجنة". موقع ياصور. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  22. ^ LebanonFG
  23. ^ "2018/2019 Lebanese Premier League Squads confirmed". FaLebanon. 21 September 2018. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  24. ^ Gineprini, Nicholas (20 March 2019). "Is a limit on foreign players, a limit for the development of Asian Football?". Calcio8Cina. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  25. ^ "Worldwide registration periods calendar" (PDF). FIFA.com. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  26. ^ "Circular No. 2019/38". Lebanese Football Association. 17 July 2019.
  27. ^ "وارطان غازاريان هداف هدافي الدوري رسمياً". forum.kooora.com. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  28. ^ "من منهم ينوي دخول التاريخ من الباب الواسع؟". forum.kooora.com. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  29. ^ "توقيع عقد رعاية JAKO للدوري اللبناني لكرة القدم". football-lebanon.com. 30 July 2019. Retrieved 31 July 2019.

External linksEdit