Latvian Higher League

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Latvian Higher League
Sms credit.lv virsliga.png
Country Latvia
Confederation UEFA (Europe)
Founded 1927
Number of teams 7
Level on pyramid 1
Relegation to Latvijas 1. līga
Domestic cup(s) Latvian Cup
Latvian Supercup
International cup(s) Champions League
Europa League
Current champions FK Ventspils
(2014)
Most championships Skonto (15)
Website www.futbolavirsliga.lv
www.lff.lv
2015 Latvian Higher League

The SMScredit.lv Latvian Higher League (Latvian: SMScredit.lv Virslīga) is the top tier of association football in Latvia and is organised by the Latvian Football Federation. The new season kicks off in mid-March of every year, and runs until early November. There are no games in winter because of the harsh climate. From 2005 until 2011, the league was sponsored by the telecommunications operator LMT, naming the league LMT Virslīga. In 2012 the league was reorganised in partnership with the NGO "Latvijas Futbola virslīga",[1] adopting the NGO's name. Before the current season in March 2013, the league signed a sponsorship deal with the microfinancing company SMScredit.lv and acquired its current name SMScredit.lv Virslīga.[2]

League format[edit]

From the first season back in 1991 to 2007, there were eight clubs in the Virslīga. During the course of the season each club played all the other clubs four times, twice at their home stadium and twice at that of their opponents, completing a total of 28 games.[citation needed]

After the 2007 season the league increased from eight to ten sides.[3] 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.[4]

Latvijas Futbola virslīga logo (2012–2013)

Clubs (2015)[edit]

Locations of the 2015 Latvian Higher League teams
Club Location Stadium Capacity
Flag of Daugavpils.svg BFC Daugavpils Daugavpils Celtnieks Stadium 3,980
Bandera Jelgava.png FK Jelgava Jelgava Zemgales Olimpiskais Sporta Centrs 2,200
Flag of Liepāja.svg FK Liepāja Liepāja Daugava Stadium 6,000
Flag of Riga.svg FS Metta/LU Riga Stadions Arkādija 500
Flag of Riga.svg Skonto FC Riga Skonto Stadium 10,000
Bandera jurmala.png FK Spartaks Jūrmala Jūrmala Slokas Stadium 5,000
Flag of Ventspils.svg FK Ventspils Ventspils Olimpiskais Stadium 3,200

Past Virslīga winners[edit]

[citation needed]

Season Winner Total wins* Remarks Runner-up
1927 Olimpija Liepāja 1 (1)   Rīgas FK
1928 Olimpija Liepāja 2 (2)   Rīgas FK
1929 Olimpija Liepāja 3 (3) Undefeated in the league Rīgas FK
1930 Rīgas FK 1 (4)   Olimpija Liepāja
1931 Rīgas FK 2 (5)   Olimpija Liepāja
1932 ASK 1 (1)   Riga Wanderers
1933 Olimpija Liepāja 4 (4)   Rīgas FK
1934 Rīgas FK 3 (6)   Riga Wanderers
1935 Rīgas FK 4 (7)   Olimpija Liepāja
1936 Olimpija Liepāja 5 (5) Undefeated in the league ASK
1937–39 Olimpija Liepāja 6 (6)   Rīgas FK
1938–39 Olimpija Liepāja 7 (7)   ASK
1939–40 Rīgas FK 5 (8) Also won the Latvian Cup Olimpija Liepāja
1941 Tournament Cancelled due to Soviet Occupation
1942 ASK 2 (2) Undefeated in the league Olimpija Liepāja
1943 ASK 3 (3) Undefeated in the league,
also won the Latvian Cup
Olimpija Liepāja
1944 Tournament Interrupted due to Soviet Invasion
Since Independence
1992 Skonto FC 1 (2) Also won the Latvian Cup RAF Jelgava
1993 Skonto FC 2 (3)   Olimpija Rīga
1994 Skonto FC 3 (4) Undefeated in the league RAF Jelgava
1995 Skonto FC 4 (5) Undefeated in the league,
also won the Latvian Cup
Dinaburg FC
1996 Skonto FC 5 (6)   Daugava Rīga
1997 Skonto FC 6 (7) Undefeated in the league,
also won the Latvian Cup
Daugava Rīga
1998 Skonto FC 7 (8) Also won the Latvian Cup FHK Liepājas Metalurgs
1999 Skonto FC 8 (9)   FHK Liepājas Metalurgs
2000 Skonto FC 9 (10) Also won the Latvian Cup FK Ventspils
2001 Skonto FC 10 (11) Also won the Latvian Cup FK Ventspils
2002 Skonto FC 11 (12) Also won the Latvian Cup FK Ventspils
2003 Skonto FC 12 (13)   FHK Liepājas Metalurgs
2004 Skonto FC 13 (14)   FHK Liepājas Metalurgs
2005 FHK Liepājas Metalurgs 1 (1)   Skonto FC
2006 FK Ventspils 1 (1)   FHK Liepājas Metalurgs
2007 FK Ventspils 2 (2) Also won the Latvian Cup SK Liepājas Metalurgs
2008 FK Ventspils 3 (3)   SK Liepājas Metalurgs
2009 SK Liepājas Metalurgs 2 (2) FK Ventspils
2010 Skonto FC 14[5] (15) FK Ventspils
2011[6] FK Ventspils 4 (4) Also won the Latvian Cup FK Liepājas Metalurgs
2012 FC Daugava 1 (1) Skonto FC
2013 FK Ventspils 5 (5) Also won the Latvian Cup Skonto FC
2014 FK Ventspils 6 (6) Skonto FC
* Virslīga championships (total Latvian football championships)
Up to 1927, the winners of the First Division of the Football League were the Latvian football champions.
From 1945 till 1991, the winners of the First Division of the Football League were the Latvian SSR football champions.

Earlier Latvian league winners[edit]

Riga football league[edit]

Sourced from RSSSF.[7]

Performance in Riga football league[edit]

Champions of Latvia before Virslīga[edit]

[citation needed]

Performance in Latvia before Virsliga[edit]

Latvian SSR champions[edit]

[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About Virslīga". Biedrība Latvijas Futbola Virslīga. Futbolavirsliga.lv. Retrieved 16 June 2013.  (Latvian)
  2. ^ "SMScredit.lv – Latvian football Higher league general sponsor!". Biedrība Latvijas Futbola Virslīga. Futbolavirsliga.lv. Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Mike Dryomin (14 March 2008). "Latvia 2007". RSSSF. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  4. ^ Hartmanis, Martins (2007-12-01). "LMT Virslīga new season calendar published". Latvian Football Federation. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  5. ^ "Skonto Riga 0 – 1 Portadown: Portadown make progress". Europa League. ESPNSoccernet. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  6. ^ Jared Grellet (10 November 2011). "Ventspils and Flora claim respective titles". The Baltic Times. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  7. ^ "Latvia – Riga Football League 1910–1916". RSSSF. 20 May 2002. Retrieved 1 March 2012. [dead link]

External links[edit]