The Russian Premier League (RPL; Russian: Российская премьер-лига; РПЛ), also written as Russian Premier Liga, is the top division professional association football league in Russia. It was established at the end of 2001 as the Russian Football Premier League (RFPL; Russian: Российская футбольная премьер-лига; РФПЛ) and was rebranded with its current name in 2018. From 1992 through 2001, the top level of the Russian football league system was the Russian Football Championship (Russian: Чемпионат России по футболу, Chempionat Rossii po Futbolu).
|Organising body||Russian Football Union (RFU)|
|Founded||1992 (as Top League)|
2001 (as Premier League)
|Number of teams||16|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||First League|
|Domestic cup(s)||Russian Cup|
Russian Super Cup
|Current champions||Zenit Saint Petersburg (8th title) |
|Most championships||Spartak Moscow (10 titles)|
|TV partners||List of broadcasters|
|Current: 2022–23 Russian Premier League|
There are 16 teams in the competition. As of the 2021/22 season, the league had two Champions League qualifying spots for the league winners and league runners-up, and two spots in the UEFA Conference League were allocated to the third- and fourth-placed teams. However, those have all been suspended due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, along with the national team's participation in international competitions. The last two teams are relegated to the Russian First League at the end of the season, while the 13th and 14th placed teams compete against the National League's 4th and 3rd teams respectively in a two-legged playoff.
The Russian Premier League succeeded the Top Division including history and records. The Top Division was run by the Professional Football League of Russia. Since July 2022, the league is currently called Mir Russian Premier League (Russian: Мир Российская премьер-лига), also written as Mir Russian Premier Liga (after the Mir payment system), for sponsorship reasons.
Since the introduction of the Russian Premier League in 2002, Zenit Saint Petersburg (8 times), CSKA Moscow (6 times), Lokomotiv Moscow (3 times), Rubin Kazan (2 times) and Spartak Moscow (1 time) have won the title. Zenit Saint Petersburg are the current champions.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, starting in 1992, each former Soviet republic organized an independent national championship. In Russia, the six Russian teams who had played in the Soviet Top League in 1991 (CSKA Moscow, Spartak Moscow, Torpedo Moscow, Dynamo Moscow, Spartak Vladikavkaz, and Lokomotiv Moscow) were supplemented with 14 teams from lower divisions to form a 20-team Russian Top Division. The Top Division was divided into two groups to reduce the total number of matches. The number of teams in the Top Division was reduced to 18 in 1993 and 16 in 1994. Since then, the Russian Top Division (and the Premier League since 2002) has consisted of 16 teams, except for a short-lived experiment with having two more teams in 1996 and 1997.
Spartak Moscow won nine of the first ten titles. Spartak-Alania Vladikavkaz was the only team which managed to break Spartak's dominance, winning the top division title in 1995. Lokomotiv Moscow have won the title three times, and CSKA Moscow six times. In 2007, Zenit St. Petersburg won the title for the first time in their history in Russian professional football; they had also won a Soviet title in 1984. 2008 brought the rise of Rubin Kazan, a club entirely new to the Russian top flight, as it had never competed in the Soviet Top League.
As a result of the Russia's invasion of Ukraine, all Russian club and national teams were banned from European competition indefinitely. Spartak Moscow, who were competing in the UEFA Europa League and were the only Russian club team remaining in European competition at the time, were disqualified from their tie against RB Leipzig, who advanced on a walkover.
Teams in the Russian Premier League play each other twice, once at home and once away, for a total of 30 matches. Three points are awarded for a win, one for a draw, and none for a loss. If teams are level on points, the tie-breakers are the number of wins, then the goal difference, followed by several other factors. If the teams are tied for the first position, the tie-breakers are the number of wins, then head-to-head results. If the teams tied for the first place cannot be separated by these tie-breakers, a championship play-off is ordered.
As of 2020–21 season, the champions qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stage. The runners-up qualifies for the Champions League third qualifying round. The third and fourth-place teams qualify for the UEFA Europa Conference League. If the winner of Russian Cup ends in first or second on the championship in same season, then the third-place team qualifies to UEFA Europa League group stage, while fourth and fifth-place teams qualify for the UEFA Europa Conference League instead. The bottom two teams are relegated to the First League. Starting on the 2020–21 season the teams ranked in 13th and 14th-place play a two legs relegation play-off against 4th and 3rd-place team from National League. The two winners of this play-off secures the right to play in Premier League in following season.
Unlike most other European football leagues, the league traditionally used to ran in summer, from March to November, to avoid playing games in the cold and snowy weather in winter. This was altered ahead of the 2012–13 season, with the league planning to run the season from autumn to spring. The transitional season of the competition began in early 2011 and continued until summer of 2012. After the 16 Premier League teams played each other twice over the course of the 2011 calendar year, they were split into two groups of eight, and the teams played other teams in their groups two more times for a total of 44 games (30 in 2011 and 14 in 2012). Those two groups were contested in spring 2012, with the top eight clubs playing for the title and European places. The other sides vied to avoid relegation: the bottom two went down while the next two played off against the sides third and fourth in the National Football League, with the two losers being relegated (or denied promotion). Under the current autumn-spring calendar, the league takes a three-month winter break from mid-December until mid-March. Merging the calendar with other UEFA leagues however, has increased numbers of games in winter. This has resulted in the Russian Far East and Siberian teams being forced to play more home games in hostile weather conditions which affected the Premier League when SKA Khabarovsk took part.
The Youth championship (Russian: Молодежное первенство), also known as Youth teams championship (Russian: Первенство молодёжных команд), Reserve team tournament (Russian: Турнир дублирующих составов) or Reserves tournament (Russian: Турнир дублёров), full name Youth football championship of Russia among teams of clubs of the Premier League (Russian: Молодёжное Первенство России по футболу среди команд клубов Премьер-Лиги), is a league that runs in parallel to the Russian Premier League and includes the youth or reserve teams of the Russian Premier League teams. The number of players a team can have on the pitch at a time that are over 21 years of age or without a Russian citizenship is limited. 16 teams participate in the league. Matches are commonly played a day before the match of the senior teams of the respective teams. All of the Russian Premier League teams are obliged to have a youth team that would participate in the Youth championship. The teams that are promoted from the National Football League and do not have a youth team must create one. The teams in the league are not relegated based on their final league position, but on the league position of their respective clubs' senior teams.
It has to be noted however that some Premier League clubs have three teams. Apart from the senior team and the team that plays in the Youth championship a team might have another senior team that plays in a lower division of Russian football and serves as the farm team for the main team. An examples is Krasnodar-2, playing in the Russian First League.
Reserves tournament champions (2001–2007)Edit
- 2001: Rotor Volgograd
- 2002: Dynamo Moscow
- 2003: Dynamo Moscow
- 2004: Terek Grozny
- 2005: CSKA Moscow
- 2006: Spartak Moscow
- 2007: Spartak Moscow
Youth championship winners (since 2008)Edit
- 2008: Spartak Moscow
- 2009: Zenit Saint Petersburg
- 2010: Spartak Moscow
- 2011: Lokomotiv Moscow
- 2012: Dynamo Moscow
- 2012–13: Spartak Moscow
- 2013–14: Dynamo Moscow
- 2014–15: Dynamo Moscow
- 2015–16: Lokomotiv Moscow
- 2016–17: Spartak Moscow
- 2017–18: Krasnodar
- 2018–19: CSKA Moscow
- 2019–20: Dynamo Moscow
- 2020–21: CSKA Moscow
- 2021–22: CSKA Moscow
UEFA club rankingsEdit
|27||Zenit Saint Petersburg||50.000|
The following teams are competing in the 2022–23 season:
|Fakel Voronezh||Voronezh||Tsentralny Profsoyuz Stadion, Voronezh||32,750|
|CSKA Moscow||Moscow||VEB Arena||30,457|
|Dynamo Moscow||Moscow||VTB Arena||26,700|
|Khimki||Khimki, Moscow Region||Arena Khimki||18,636|
|Krylia Sovetov||Samara||Solidarnost Arena||44,918|
|Lokomotiv Moscow||Moscow||RZD Arena||27,320|
|Nizhny Novgorod||Nizhny Novgorod||Nizhny Novgorod Stadium||44,899|
|FC Orenburg||Orenburg||Gazovik Stadium||7,500|
|Sochi||Sochi||Fisht Olympic Stadium||44,287|
|Spartak Moscow||Moscow||Otkrytiye Arena||44,307|
|FC Torpedo Moscow||Moscow||Luzhniki Stadium||81,000|
|FC Ural Yekaterinburg||Yekaterinburg||Central Stadium||35,696|
|Zenit Saint Petersburg||Saint Petersburg||Krestovsky Stadium||67,800|
Champions and top scorersEdit
Performance by clubEdit
|Club||Winners||Runners-up||Third place||Seasons won|
|1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2016–17|
|Zenit Saint Petersburg||
|2007, 2010, 2011–12, 2014–15, 2018–19, 2019–20, 2020–21, 2021–22|
|2003, 2005, 2006, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2015–16|
|2002, 2004, 2017–18|
|Krylia Sovetov Samara||
Russian all-time championsEdit
|Club||Titles||Seasons Won||Runners up|
|Spartak Moscow||22||1936(a), 1938, 1939, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1962, 1969, 1979, 1987, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2016–17||18|
|CSKA Moscow||13||1946, 1947, 1948, 1950, 1951, 1970, 1991, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2015–16||12|
|Dynamo Moscow||11||1936(s), 1937, 1940, 1945, 1949, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1959, 1963, 1976(s)||12|
|Zenit Saint Petersburg||9||1984, 2007, 2010, 2011–12, 2014–15, 2018–19, 2019–20, 2020–21, 2021-22||3|
|Lokomotiv Moscow||3||2002, 2004, 2017–18||7|
|Torpedo Moscow||3||1960, 1965, 1976(a)||3|
|Rubin Kazan||2||2008, 2009||0|
UEFA League Ranking at the end of the 2020–21 season:
Seasons of Russian Premier League and Russian Football Championship (1992-2022)Edit
A total of 50 teams had competed in at least one season at the top division. Spartak Moscow, CSKA Moscow and Lokomotiv Moscow are the only teams to have played in the top division in every season since the league's inception at 1992. The teams in bold participate in the 2022–23 Premier League.
- As of the end of the 2017–18 season. Teams in bold compete in 2018–19 Premier League.
|4||Zenit Saint Petersburg||27||2||802||395||210||167||1448-783||1247||7||3||4|
|6||Krylya Sovetov Samara||27||4||806||249||218||339||851–1057||965||-||-||1|
|10||Alania Vladikavkaz||16||3||2012–13||489||179||109||201||630–663||646||1||2||-||Disbanded and reestablished 2014|
|12||Amkar Perm||14||1||2017–18||434||114||131||159||368–478||508||-||-||-||Disbanded 2018|
|13||Saturn Moscow Oblast||12||1||2010||360||120||121||119||396–378||481||-||-||-|
|14||Akhmat Grozny||12||2||344||102||77||135||322–404||422 4||-||-||-|
|15||Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast||11||2||308||93||58||127||337–421||374||-||-||-|
|24||Zhemchuzhina Sochi||7||1||1999||222||61||57||104||263–390||240||-||-||-||Disbanded 2003 and 2013, reestablished 2007|
|27||KAMAZ Naberezhnye Chelny||5||1||1997||162||51||32||79||198–253||179 5||-||-||-|
|28||Uralan Elista||5||2||2003||150||36||39||75||138–225||147||-||-||-||Disbanded 2005, reestablished 2014|
|33||Dynamo Stavropol||3||1||1994||94||27||23||44||94–125||104||-||-||-||Disbanded 2014, re-established 2015|
|36||Volga Nizhny Novgorod||3||1||2013–14||104||25||16||63||87–171||91||-||-||-||Disbanded 2016|
|38||Okean Nakhodka||2||1||1993||64||22||14||28||65–83||80||-||-||-||Disbanded 2015, reestablished 2018|
|40||Asmaral Moscow||2||1||1993||60||19||11||30||74–102||68||-||-||-||Disbanded 1999|
|Competing in RPL|
|Competing in RFL (2nd tier)|
|Competing in PFL (3rd tier)|
|Competing in amateur leagues (below 3rd tier)|
|Defunct (see notes)|
- For clubs that have been renamed, their name at the time of their most recent season in the Russian League is given. The current members are listed in bold.
- Includes championship play-offs, does not include relegation play-offs.
- For the purposes of this table, each win is worth 3 points. The three-point system was adopted in 1995.
- Terek were deducted 6 points in 2005.
- KAMAZ-Chally were deducted 6 points in 1997.
- As of 7 August 2022
2020–21 and 2021–22Edit
Russia and CISEdit
|Match TV||60 matches per season live|||
|Match Premier||All 240 matches live|
Worldwide (excluding Russia, CIS, and China)Edit
All 240 matches are aired live globally on YouTube with a required subscription. There will be two membership levels for the viewers outside Russia, CIS, and China. The first level includes two matches with English commentary each matchday and will cost a monthly fee of $2.99. The second level, for $4.99 a month, gives subscribers access to all eight matches in Russian and two matches with English commentary as well. In 2018–19 season, YouTube broadcast four live matches per week for free (in matchweek 30, aired all last eight matches). From 2020 to 2021, YouTube also broadcast the FTA coverage of Super Cup before airing the league.
|Latin America||Gol TV|
- "FIFA and UEFA suspend Russia from international football and clubs from European competition". theathletic.com. Retrieved 24 March 2022.
- Official Twitter account of Russian Premier Liga in English
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- "Arena CSKA (VEB Arena)".
- "Otkritie Arena".
- "Arena St Petersburg".
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