Ukrainian Premier League
|Number of teams||16|
|Levels on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||Ukrainian First League|
|Domestic cup(s)||Ukrainian Cup|
|International cup(s)||UEFA Champions League
UEFA Europa League
|Current champions||Shakhtar Donetsk (8th title)
|Most championships||Dynamo Kyiv (13 titles)|
|2012–13 Ukrainian Premier League|
The Ukrainian Premier League (Ukrainian: "Прем'єр-ліга") is the highest division of Ukrainian annual football championship. As the Supreme League (Vyshcha Liha) it was formed in 1991 upon discontinuation of the Soviet championship and included the Ukrainian based clubs that competed in the Soviet competitions. In 1996 along with all the professional football leagues of Ukraine, the Supreme League became a member of the Professional Football League of Ukraine.
In 2008 it was reformed into a more autonomous entity of both the Professional League and the Football Federation of Ukraine, officially changing its name to the current one. Its rank was 7th highest in Europe as rated by UEFA as of September 2012.
The season 2011–12 was the league's fourth after the break-away from the Professional Football League (PFL) in 2008 and 21st season from the break-up of the Soviet Top League. Until 2007 the league was subsidized by the government and from an economic point of view was not a profitable organization. To solve that issue, the League have tried to attract a few sponsors since the 2007 season: Soyuz-Viktan(2007) and Biolaa(2008). On 15 April 2008 the new Premier-League was formed. Since its formation the title sponsor of the League became the national network of the construction supermarkets EpiCentre K. The new sports organization is a completely independent entity and consists of 16 football club organizations under the guidance of the Football Federation of Ukraine.
With the new reorganization the format of the League was preserved, while the changes that were made were exclusively administrative. The teams that reach the top of the competition table at the end of each season as always gain the chance to represent Ukraine internationally in several prestigious tournaments (continental club tournaments). Also at the end of the season, the bottom two clubs are relegated to the First League (supervised by the Professional Football League) and replaced by the two top clubs from that league. All the participants of the Premier League enter the National Cup competition at the round of 32 (1/16th of the final) stage. Also the winner of the League at the beginning of every next season plays against the winner of the National Cup for the Ukrainian Super Cup.
As of 2011, Shakhtar Donetsk is the reigning Ukrainian Premier League champion. To summarise, Tavriya Simferopol won the first championship, while all the subsequent titles have gone to either Dynamo Kyiv or Shakhtar Donetsk. Only 4 teams, Dynamo Kyiv, Shakhtar Donetsk, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and Tavriya Simferopol have participated in all 21 Ukrainian Vyshcha Liha competitions.
The league cooperates with the Professional Football League of Ukraine which governs the lower divisions. The PFL is an association that represents 55 Ukrainian professional football clubs, which are represented by 62 teams (a few clubs have more than one team, which play in different divisions). The professional league was organized in 1996 and until 2008 was responsible for the competitions in the Top division as well. Before that, Vyshcha Liha was governed solely and directly by the Football Federation of Ukraine.
^a). Note: Biola is a beverage making and bottling company and is the general sposor of Dnipro.
The emblem depicts a football that is wrapped around by the blue-yellow stripe (the national colors of Ukraine) on the blue background. Across the top and around the ball there are 16 stars that represent the league's participants. On the bottom the script says "Premier-League - Union of Professional Football Clubs of Ukraine".
Legal documents 
- State laws
- Law of Ukraine "About fitness and sport" (1993)
- Law of Ukraine "About licensing of certain types of economical activities" (2000)
- Law of Ukraine "About collective agreements and treaties" (1993)
- Codices of Ukraine: Economical, Civil, Labor
- Declaration of Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine "About the order in preparation of sport structures and other specially designated spaces for conducting mass sports and cultural-entertaining events" (1998)
- Declaration of Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine "About the order of ensuring a civil order and safety concurrently conducting football matches" (2004)
- International laws
- Rules of the game. (2006)
- FIFA statute. Procedural rules conducting a Congress. Regulations executing the FIFA statute. (2007)
- FIFA regulations on status and transfer of players. (2005)
- FIFA Disciplinary Codex (2006)
- UEFA statute. Procedural rules conducting a Congress. Regulations executing the UEFA statute. (2007)
- UEFA Disciplinary Codex (2006)
- Local laws
- Statute of the All-Ukrainian sport public organization "Football Federation of Ukraine"
- FFU Procedural regulations
- FFU Disciplinary regulations
- FFU Regulations on status and transfer of players
- FFU Regulations "About an attestation of football clubs of Ukraine"
- Regulations of conducting a doping control in football competitions among the teams of professional clubs of Ukraine
- Rules on behavior of spectators on stadiums during visiting football matches
- Regulations of stadiums on conducting football competitions
- Agreement "About organization and conducting All-Ukrainian competitions among the teams of the Union of professional clubs "Premier-Liha""
- Statute of the Union of professional clubs "Premier-Liha"
The first decade (1992–2000) 
Prior to 1992, the championship of Ukraine was conducted by the Football Federation of the Ukrainian SSR. There were two championships, the championship among the masters' teams (Ukrainian: Першість серед команд майстрів) and among the fitness clubs (Ukrainian: Першість КФК (Клубів ФізКультури)). Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the inaugural independent championship took place hastily at the start of spring 1992 after the creation of the Ukrainian Supreme League (Ukrainian: Вища Ліга, Vyshcha Liha). The League was created out of the six teams that took part in the Soviet Top League, two teams from the Soviet First League, and nine out of the eleven Ukrainian teams from the Soviet Second League. The other two of that eleven were placed in the Ukrainian First League as they were to be relegated anyway. The two best teams of the Soviet Second League B of the Ukrainian Zone were also placed in the Supreme League along with the winner of the 1991 Ukrainian Cup which finished ninth in the same group (Soviet Second League B).
The 20 participants were split into two groups with the winners playing for the championship title and the runners-up playing for third place. Three teams from each group were to be relegated. As expected, the five favorites, Dynamo Kyiv, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, Shakhtar Donetsk, Chornomorets Odesa, and Metalist Kharkiv finished at the top of each group. In the championship play-off game in Lviv, a sensation took place as Tavriya Simferopol beat Dynamo Kyiv 1–0. The Crimeans earned the first Ukrainian title (thus far their only one), losing only once to Temp Shepetivka.
After being stunned in the first championship by the tragedy in Lviv, Dynamo Kyiv were anxious to earn their first title at the second opportunity. In the second Ukrainian championship, which had a regular League format of 16 teams, the main rivals of the Kyivians were Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, who were top after the first half of the season. By the end of the season both teams were neck and neck and at the end they finished with the same number of points. The championship title was awarded to Dynamo Kyiv as they had a better goal difference. Neither the Golden match, nor the fact that Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk had a better head-to-head record was considered.
The next seven years were known as the total domination of Dynamo Kyiv. During this period 'the main Soviet protagonists' had changed as some of the best teams were facing a crisis. After the 1993–94 season Metalist Kharkiv were surprisingly relegated to the First League. In the 1995–96 season Shakhtar Donetsk had the worst year in the club's history, coming tenth. Chornomorets Odesa were relegated twice during that first decade after which manager Leonid Buryak was sacked. A few newly created teams have since emerged such as Arsenal Kyiv and Metalurh Donetsk, as well as Vorskla Poltava, who surprisingly came third in the club's first season at the Top Level in the 1997.
The decade of Kyiv–Donetsk stand-off (2001–2010). The Ukrainian derby 
The next decade was marked by fierce competition between Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk. Since 2000, Shakhtar Donetsk has proved to be the real challengers to Kiev's dominance. In 2000 Shakhtar earned their first qualification to the Champions League earning a place in the Group stage. Nonetheless, Dynamo Kyiv is still considered to be the benchmark of excellence in the country and the primary feeder to the Ukrainian national football team. 2002 became the real cornerstone in the miners history when they earned their first national title under the management of the newly appointed Italian specialist, Nevio Scala, who managed to secure the Ukrainian Cup title as well. Since that time the issue of foreign players has become particularly acute and brought a series of court cases. The FFU and PFL worked together to solve that issue, coming up with a plan to force the transitional limitation of foreign players over time.
The clubs such as Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and Chornomorets Odesa, who were recent contenders for the title, had to put up a fierce fight against the newly-established contenders Metalurh Donetsk and Metalist Kharkiv to qualify for the European competitions. Metalist Kharkiv shone brightly in the late 2000s (decade) by consistently finishing right behind Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk in third place. Their most remarkable feat was their participation in the 2009 European season when they had to face Dynamo Kyiv to earn a place in the quarter-finals of the 2008–09 UEFA Cup, but lost on the away goals rule. That same 2008–09 UEFA Cup competition was won for the first time by Shakhtar Donetsk, the first club of independent Ukraine to win the title. It was also the last UEFA cup title before it changed its name to the Europa league.
In the 2008-2009 season the league earned the highest UEFA league coefficient in Europe for that season. On the political side of the League it was transformed on 15 April 2008 into an autonomous entity, parting away from the PFL. The Premier League has been split since the moment it was created in regards to its president. The dispute went as far as even canceling the 13th round of 2009–10 season and moving it to the spring half, while having the 14th round still playing in the fall. The representatives of five clubs: Arsenal Kyiv, Dynamo Kyiv, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih, and Metalist Kharkiv have been boycotting most of the League meetings, not complying with its financial obligations and giving the broadcasting rights to TV-channels other than the League official supplier. They justified their actions due to what they deem to be the illegal election of the Premier League president. The representatives of the above-mentioned clubs did not recognize the election in 2008 of Vitaliy Danilov as the president and believed that the elections should have been won by Vadim Rabinovich.
To resolve this conflict Vitaliy Danilov instigated the re-election of the Premier League president in September 2009, and on 1 December 2009 won the election again with 11 clubs voting for his candidature, 3 were against, 1 abstained, and 1 was absent. This time most club presidents of the Premier League of Ukraine acknowledged Vitaliy Danilov legality. In the subsequent elections on 9 December 2011 Vitaliy Danilov was challenged by Andriy Kurhanskyi (on proposition of Karpaty Lviv). The other available candidates, Miletiy Balchos (president of the Professional Football League of Ukraine) and Yuriy Kindzerskyi, were not picked by any members of the Premier League. Vitaliy Danilov managed to retain his seat with nine votes for him.
International Relations 
In 2009 The Ukrainian Premier League joined the European Professional Football Leagues. Also in 2009 the league signed a partnership with IMG of which during the first month of cooperation sold broadcasting rights for the Ukrainian Cup to Poland and Armenia. On its own initiative the Ukrainian Premier League sold broadcasting rights to Romania and Russia as well.
Clubs play each other twice (once at home and once away) to make up the 30-match season. The league begins in mid-July and ends in mid-June. After 15 rounds of fixtures, there is a winter break that lasts for three months (from early December to early March). Thus, the winter break is significantly longer than the interval between seasons. This schedule accounts for climatic conditions and matches that of most European leagues in terms of the beginning and the end of the season.
The first season of the League in 1992 was an exception, as it lasted only half a year. This was because the last Soviet league season ended in the autumn of 1991, and the Football Federation of Ukraine decided to shift the calendar from “spring-fall” to “fall-spring” football seasons. In the inaugural season, 20 clubs were divided into two 10-team groups. In both groups, each club played each other twice, and the championship was decided by a play-off match between the group winners, in which Tavriya Simferopol surprised the pre-season favorite Dynamo Kyiv.
After the first season, in each of the following seasons each team played each other team in the League twice. The number of participating teams fluctuated between 14 and 18, stabilizing since 2002–03 season at 16.
As of the 2005–06 season, the golden match rule was introduced. According to the rule, if the first two teams obtain the same number of points, the championship is to be decided by an additional "golden" match between the two teams. In fact, in that season Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk had earned the same number of points and Shakhtar won the championship by winning the golden match (2:1 after extra time).
Prior to 2000, only a handful of foreign players represented Ukrainian clubs, and even those players were mostly from countries that were once a part of the Soviet Union. However, in 2000–01, the number of foreign players participating in the Vyshcha Liha tallied more than 30 players and by 2003–04 season, the figure had increased to 37% of the league's players. Only 2 players from Ukraine's domestic leagues competed in the 2002 FIFA World Cup, while at the 2006 FIFA World Cup the Vyshcha Liha was the 6th-most represented league with 25 players in the competition, including 17 of the 23 players in Ukraine's squad.
As a result of this increase in foreign-born players, clubs in the Vyshcha Liha are allowed to field no more than seven foreigners at one time from this season and this limit is expected to be lowered to six foreigners. In addition, clubs are subject to a $15,000 fine upon acquiring a foreign player. One of the biggest proponents of the foreigner limit was the national team coach Oleh Blokhin, who threatened to quit the national team if the limit was not made stricter.
The clubs mainly affected by this rule include the few clubs that participate annually in European competitions. They argue that the foreigner limit is detrimental to the development of Ukrainian football in general. However, as a result of this limit, these clubs have had to increase their efforts in finding and training Ukrainian talent that is good enough to represent these teams.
The foreigner limit itself has also been recently contested by several cases, but primarily by one filed by a Georgian national Giorgi Demetradze, who argued that the limit impeded his working rights and is illegal under the Constitution of Ukraine. The courts however argued that no case exists due to the fact that players are not guaranteed first-team football, and subsequently the limit is not considered a violation of trade.
Status regulations and transfers 
Status and transfer policy of football players and staff in Ukraine is regulated by the Football Federation of Ukraine which primarily follows Article 5 of the FIFA statute, other respective regulations of FIFA, and the laws of Ukraine (see FFU regulations of player's status and transfer, 2010 edition).
- Player status
Any footballer that takes part in FFU competition has either the status of amateur or professional. A professional footballer is considered to be a player that has a written contract with a club and receives a salary for his services that surpasses his virtual expenditures. The professional status of footballer prevents him from competing at amateur level. The footballer receives a professional status and the respective rights and obligations according to the following conditions:
- conclusion of a contract with a professional club
- registration with FFU, receiving a "Passport of a footballer"
- including the footballer to the application list of the team that takes part in the competition of professional club teams.
The footballer who does not receive the above-mentioned salary and does not have a contract with a professional club is considered an amateur. A player that is registered as a professional cannot obtain an amateur status within 30 days of his last official game as a professional. A club cannot request compensation for a player from the club where the player obtained amateur status. However, each professional player after the expiration of his contract with a certain professional club is still registered for 30 months with that club which may apply for compensation. The 30 month term is defined from the time of his last official game for that club.
Each coach of a professional club team is required to receive a respective attestation organized by FFU. Each sports doctor and masseur of a professional club are required to receive a certificate from the Ukrainian Ministry of Health with the specialization "Sport doctor" and "Specialist in sport massage".
A player is allowed to sign his first contract at 15 years of age with parental consent of no more than three years. A regular contract cannot be for more than five years.
A football player that is registered with other associations than FFU cannot take part in any competitions in Ukraine until he is registered with the Football Federation of Ukraine. A football player of a foreign association and aged 12 years or older is required to submit an International transfer certificate in order to be registered with FFU. Registration and transfers are conducted during one of the two "registration periods" (transfer window): one is after the conclusion of a season and start of the next not exceeding a twelve-week period, and another in mid-season of no more than a four-week period. There are no set dates for the registration periods.
- Vitaliy Danilov (president of FC Kharkiv) 27 May 2008 – 1 July 2009 (temporary acting president)
- Vitaliy Danilov (president of FC Kharkiv) 1 July 2009 – 9 December 2011
- Vitaliy Danilov 9 December 2011 – present
- General director: Olexandr Efremov
- Executive director: Maksym Bondarev
- Sport director: Petro Ivanov
- Development director: Vadym Halahan
2012–13 Ukrainian Premier League 
In the 2012–13 season, the Ukrainian Premier League consists of the following teams:
Free-to-air live matches from the Ukrainian Premier League will be broadcast on Saturdays and Sundays on satellite channel 2+2 (Sirius 5E). This is a list of television broadcasters which provide coverage of the Ukrainian Premier League, which is Ukrainian football's top level of competition.
International broadcasters 
Europe (UEFA) 
|Andorra||French||Ma Chaine Sport, |
|Azerbaijan||Azerbaijani||Idman Azerbaycan, |
|Belgium||French||Ma Chaine Sport, |
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Bosnian||SportKlub, |
|Cyprus||Greek||Cytavision Sport, |
|France||French||Ma Chaine Sport, |
|Luxembourg||French||Ma Chaine Sport, |
|Republic of Macedonia||Macedonian||SportKlub, |
|Monaco||French||Ma Chaine Sport, |
|Poland||Polish||Polsat Futbol, Official website|
|Romania||Romanian||Dolce Sport, |
|Switzerland||French||Ma Chaine Sport, |
Africa (CAF) 
|Algeria||French||Ma Chaine Sport, |
|Morocco||French||Ma Chaine Sport, |
|Tunisia||French||Ma Chaine Sport, |
South America (CONMEBOL) 
|Brazil||Portuguese||Terra TV, |
UEFA ranking 
Club Seeding 
UEFA Club Ranking for club seeding in 2012–13 European football season.
Note: Since 1999 country index (coefficient) indicates the lowest possible value for any team of that country to qualify for ranking. Currently it's no less than 9.951 for Ukraine. Teams in italics have either been eliminated or will not be participating in the 2012–13 European football season.Last Updated: 21 February 2012.
Country ranking 
UEFA Country Ranking for league participation in 2012–13 European football season
|8||(9)||Ukrainian Premier League||40.258|
|9||(7)||Russian Premier League||36.582|
|11||(12)||Belgian Pro League||27.900|
Last Updated: 1 June 2012.
Champions and top goalscorers 
Performance by club 
|Club||Winners||Runners-Up||Third Place||Winning Years|
|Dynamo Kyiv||13||8||0||1992–93, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1997–98, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2003–04, 2006–07, 2008–09|
|Shakhtar Donetsk||8||10||0||2001–02, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2007–08, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12, 2012–13|
|Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih||0||0||2|
Post season play-offs 
Golden Matches 
Relegation play-offs 
Third place match 
Honored Teams 
In European Football, teams are especially honored for winning multiple league titles. A representative star is placed above the team's badge to indicate 10 league titles. Dynamo Kyiv became the first Ukrainian team to achieve the prestigious honor of winning the Soviet Top League for the 10th time in 1981. Dynamo Kyiv after having entered the Ukrainian championship has become the same dominant leader as during the Soviet times by earning its 20th national title at the top level in 1999. No other club in Ukraine has come close to such an honour yet. Only four other clubs have ever been national champions: Shakhtar Donetsk (8, all Ukrainian titles), Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (2, all Soviet), and once Zorya Luhansk (Soviet Union) and Tavriya Simferopol (Ukraine).
The current (as of June 2012) officially sanctioned Premier League stars are:
Premier League Players 
|Players in bold are still playing in Premier League
Data as of 1 June 2012
|Players in bold are still playing in Premier League
Data as of 1 June 2012
Since the first Ukrainian Premier League season in 1992, 20 different players have won or shared the top scorer's title. Only three players have won the title more than once, Tymerlan Huseynov, Maksim Shatskikh and Yevhen Seleznyov. Serhiy Rebrov and Maksim Shatskikh hold the record for most goals in a season (22) and are the only two players to score at least 20 goals twice. The most prolific single season scorers are Ivan Hetsko and Andriy Shevchenko, respectively attaining 0.59 and 0.51 goals per game.
All-time participants 
The table lists the place each team took in each of the seasons. All figures are correct through the 2011–12 season. Teams marking: green - member of the Premier League, blue - member of the First League, pink - no longer member of PFL.
|Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih||8||6||6||14||12||8||3||3||11||9||12||10||13||14||10||13||12||14||13||10||V|
All-time table 
|3||Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk||21||623||305||162||156||889||584||1077||runners up|
|6||Chornomorets Odesa||17||510||211||114||185||614||572||747||runners up|
|8||Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih||20||604||189||166||249||597||745||733||3rd|
|1||NSC Olimpiyskiy||70,050||Dynamo Kyiv|
|2||Donbass Arena||51,504||Shakhtar Donetsk|
|3||OSC Metalist||38,633||Metalist Kharkiv|
|4||Arena Lviv||34,915||Karpaty Lviv|
|5||Chornomorets Stadium||34,164||Chornomorets Odesa|
|6||Dnipro Arena||31,003||Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk|
|7||Metalurh Stadium||29,734||Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih|
|8||Vorskla Stadium||25,000||Vorskla Poltava|
|9||Avanhard Stadium||22,288||Zorya Luhansk|
|10||RSC Lokomotiv||19,978||Tavriya Simferopol|
|11||Dynamo Stadium||16,873||Arsenal Kyiv|
|12||Illichivets Stadium||12,680||Illichivets Mariupol|
|13||Avanhard Stadium||12,080||Volyn Lutsk|
|14||Avanhard Stadium||12,000||Hoverla Uzhhorod|
|16||Metalurh Stadium||5,094||Metalurh Donetsk|
See also 
- Profile of the Ukrainian Premier League at EPFL website
- Foreigner limit is worsened in Ukraine
- Регламент Федерації футболу України зі статусу і трансферу футболістів (pdf)
- Danilov re-elected as president of Ukrainian football premier league
- Vitaliy Danilov is re-elected as the president of PL
- UEFA Team Ranking 2012 (21 February 2012)
- UEFA Country Ranking 2012
- part of Soviet Union
- Arsenal Kyiv was renamed from CSKA Kyiv in 2001, the original CSKA Kyiv was recreated in the First League in place of CSCA-2 Kyiv.