Ukrainian First League

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Ukrainian First League
Founded 1991
Country  Ukraine
Number of teams 18
Level on pyramid 2
Promotion to Ukrainian Premier League
Relegation to Ukrainian Second League
Domestic cup(s) Ukrainian Cup
Current champions FC Illichivets Mariupol
(2016–17)
Most championships 3 – FC Dynamo-2 Kyiv, FC Hoverla Uzhhorod, FC Zirka Kirovohrad
Most capped player 429 – Andriy Tsvik (2014)
Top goalscorer 118 – Vadym Plotnikov (2013)
Website Official site
2017–18 Ukrainian First League

The Persha Liha (Ukrainian: Перша ліга) or Ukrainian First League is a football league in Ukraine and the second tier of national football competitions. Members of the league also participate in the Ukrainian Cup. Unlike the Ukrainian Premier League, Persha Liha does not conduct a parallel tournament for junior teams of its clubs.

History[edit]

The very first round of games that took place for this league was on March 14, 1992. The league itself was organized just a few months before that and consisted mostly of those clubs that previously competed in the Soviet Second League (see Ukrainian Soviet competitions). To the league were also added some Soviet Top League reserve squads of the Soviet Top League reserve squads competition and the best performers of the Ukrainian football championship among amateurs, KFK (Fitness clubs).

The Persha Liha (First League) is lower than the Vyshcha Liha (Top League) (currently known as the Ukrainian Premier League) and is the second division of the Ukrainian professional football league system.

The First League was incorporated into the PFL organization that combined all the football leagues of non-amateur clubs (Top, First, and Second). On May 26, 1996 the Constituent Conference of non-amateur clubs took place which created the professional league, and confirmed its statute as well as its administration. Most of the clubs that had previously participated in the Ukrainian football league competitions were reorganized as professional, a process that actually started in the late 1980s. On July 17 the professional league signed an agreement with several other national football organizations to organize competitions among the professional clubs (its members). According to the newspaper Halychyna (Ivano-Frankivsk) the annual budget of league's clubs varied between 6 mln to 30 mln hryvnias in 2010.[1][2]

The League officially became the top league of the Professional Football League (PFL) from April 15, 2008 when the Ukrainian Premier League reorganized itself into a self-governed entity. Usually the top two teams from the First League are promoted to the Premier League, while the two lowest teams from the Premier League are demoted to the First League. Because each club is only allowed to be represented with a single squad per each league, the second squad's promotion often is voided, thus, allowing the promotion of the third placed club during a season. One of the most successful second squads is of Dynamo Kyiv (FC Dynamo-2 Kyiv).

Format of competition[edit]

The league conducts its competition in a regular single round-robin format, yet some details change from one season to another including the league's composition and inter-league rotations. The league conducts its competitions from fall to springs, however due to climate conditions in Ukraine, a mid-season break is usually longer than the break between seasons. Since 1995 the league also follows the same system of points calculation that is adopted throughout the whole European continent, 3 points for win, one for draw, and none for loss.

During its history the number of members in the league has fluctuated. In its first years the league consisted of 20 or more participants. Later there was an idea to decrease the number of members in all leagues in order to improve the quality of competition.

The amount of relegated clubs was changing also almost annually and several times reaching up to five. The amount of promoted clubs usually stays at two. Only once three teams were promoted to the top division. The league's winner and usually the second placed runner-up get accepted to the Premier League. However there is a well established understanding that a second team of the club cannot be promoted when its senior team plays in a higher tier. Due to the rule, on few occasions the third placed runner up was admitted to the top division. In 2013 there was set a precedent when a club on its own will has refused to be promoted. In 2017 there was created another precedent when a club that earned promotion was denied it based on administrative speculations.

The relegation or promotion play-offs were previously usually organized under unforeseen circumstances such as a team's withdrawal from the league and often were not scheduled until after the season had concluded. Since 2011 relegation playoffs has become a well established tradition.

Since the turn of the millennium the frequency of withdrawals in the First League has increased among the competing clubs. In order to fight this, the league has been applying a stricter approach to every club's financial situation to avoid withdrawals during a season.

Since the 2009-10 season the First League has started to broadcast selected matches over the internet in order to increase its popularity.

The most successful clubs in the league are FC Dynamo-2 Kyiv, FC Hoverla Uzhhorod, and FC Zirka Kropyvnytskyi. All of those teams were either disbanded or went through some sort of reorganizations. In 2016 Dynamo Kyiv withdrew its second team from professional competitions, while FC Hoverla was refused in attestation. Previously in 2008 FC Zirka that went through reorganization was re-established based on a local youth football club FC Olimpik Kropyvnytskyi and in 2016 won its third championship in the league.

Statistics[edit]

Winners by year[edit]

Promoted teams are in bold.

Season Group Champion Runner-Up 3rd Position
1992 A Veres Rivne Pryladyst Mukacheve Polihraftekhnika Oleksandria
B Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih Metalurh Nikopol Artania Ochakiv
1992–93 Nyva Vinnytsia Temp Shepetivka Naftovyk Okhtyrka
1993–94 Prykarpattya Ivano-Frankivsk Evis Mykolaiv Polihraftekhnika Oleksandria
1994–95 Zirka-NIBAS Kirovohrad CSKA-Borysfen Boryspil Metalurh Nikopol
1995–96 Vorskla Poltava Bukovyna Chernivtsi Stal Alchevsk
1996–97 Metalurh Donetsk Dynamo-2 Kyiv Metalurh Mariupol
1997–98 SC Mykolaiv Dynamo-2 Kyiv Metalist Kharkiv
1998–99 Dynamo-2 Kyiv Chornomorets Odessa Torpedo Zaporizhia
1999–00 Dynamo-2 Kyiv Stal Alchevsk FC Cherkasy
2000–01 Dynamo-2 Kyiv Zakarpattia Uzhhorod Polihraftekhnika Oleksandria
2001–02 SC Volyn-1 Lutsk Chornomorets Odessa Obolon Kyiv
2002–03 Zirka Kirovohrad Borysfen Boryspil Dynamo-2 Kyiv
2003–04 Zakarpattia Uzhhorod Metalist Kharkiv Naftovyk Okhtyrka
2004–05 Stal Alchevsk Arsenal Kharkiv Zorya Luhansk
2005–06 Zorya Luhansk Karpaty Lviv Obolon Kyiv
2006–07 Naftovyk-Ukrnafta Okhtyrka Zakarpattia Uzhhorod Obolon Kyiv
2007–08 Illichivets Mariupol FC Lviv Obolon Kyiv
2008–09 Zakarpattia Uzhhorod Obolon Kyiv PFC Oleksandria
2009–10 PFC Sevastopol Volyn Lutsk Stal Alchevsk
2010–11 PFC Oleksandria Chornomorets Odesa Stal Alchevsk
2011–12 Hoverla-Zakarpattia Uzhhorod Metalurh Zaporizhya FC Sevastopol
2012–13 FC Sevastopol Stal Alchevsk[3] PFC Oleksandria[4]
2013–14 FC Olimpik Donetsk PFC Oleksandria[4] Stal Alchevsk
2014–15 FC Oleksandriya Stal Dniprodzerzhynsk Hirnyk-Sport Komsomolsk
2015–16 Zirka Kirovohrad Cherkaskyi Dnipro Obolon-Brovar Kyiv
2016–17 Illichivets Mariupol Desna Chernihiv Veres Rivne
2017–18

Post-season play-offs[edit]

Post-season play-offs are not common feature of the First League competition. Over the years there were several instances when clubs contested promotion or relegation berths. The first post-season feature consisted of a relegation mini tournament that took place in July of 1998 in Kiev and Boryspil. It involved three group winners of the Second League and Bukovyna that placed 18th place in the First League. The tournament identified clubs which would qualify for the 1998–99 Ukrainian First League. The next year the league featured its first promotion play-off.

  • 1997–98: mini-tournament (relegation)
  • 1998–99: Cherkasy – Prykarpattia (promotion)
  • 2001–02: Polissya – Polihraftekhnika (promotion)
  • 2010–11: Enerhetyk – Sumy (relegation)
  • 2011–12: Mykolaiv – Avanhard (relegation)
  • 2012–13: Odessa – Nyva T, Dynamo-2 – Shakhtar (two relegation series)
  • 2014–15: Mykolaiv – Kremin (relegation series)
  • 2015–16: Ternopil – Bukovyna (relegation series; cancelled)
  • 2016–17: Sumy – Balkany (relegation series)

All winners[edit]

Club Winner Runners-Up 3rd Position Seasons Won
Dynamo-2 Kyiv 3 2 1 1998–99, 1999–00, 2000–01
Hoverla-Zakarpattia Uzhhorod 3 2 0 2003–04, 2008–09, 2011–12
Zirka Kirovohrad 3 0 0 1994–95, 2002–03, 2015–16
FC Oleksandriya 2 1 5 2010–11, 2014–15
FC Sevastopol 2 0 1 2009–10, 2012–13
Illichivets Mariupol 2 0 1 2007–08, 2016–17
Stal Alchevsk 1 2 4 2004–05
Mykolaiv 1 1 0 1997–98
Volyn Lutsk 1 1 0 2001–02
Naftovyk-Ukrnafta Okhtyrka 1 0 2 2006–07
Zorya Luhansk 1 0 1 2005–06
Veres Rivne 1 0 1 1992 (group winner)
FC Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih 1 0 0 1992 (group winner)
PFC Nyva Vinnytsia 1 0 0 1992–93
FC Prykarpattia Ivano-Frankivsk 1 0 0 1993–94
FC Vorskla Poltava 1 0 0 1995–96
FC Metalurh Donetsk 1 0 0 1996–97
FC Olimpik Donetsk 1 0 0 2013–14

Notes:

  indicates that the club does not have professional status.
  indicates that the club currently plays in the league.

League winners by regions[edit]

Number Region Winners
5 Kirovohrad Oblast Zirka Kropyvnytskyi (3), FC Oleksandriya (2)
4 Donetsk Oblast Illichivets Mariupol (2), Metalurh Donetsk, Olimpik Donetsk
3 Zakarpattia Oblast Hoverla Uzhhorod (3)
3 Kiev Dynamo-2 Kyiv (3)
2 Sevastopol FC Sevastopol (2)
2 Luhansk Oblast Stal Alchevsk, Zorya Luhansk
1 Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih
1 Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast Prykarpattia Ivano-Frankivsk
1 Mykolaiv Oblast Mykolaiv
1 Poltava Oblast Vorskla Poltava
1 Rivne Oblast Veres Rivne
1 Sumy Oblast Naftovyk-Ukrnafta Okhtyrka
1 Vinnytsia Oblast Nyva Vinnytsia
1 Volyn Oblast Volyn Lutsk

All-time table[edit]

Top-20. All figures are correct through the 2016–17 season.[5]

PL Team Seasons GP W D L GS GA Pts Achievement
1 Dynamo-2 Kyiv 25 888 403 219 266 1312 882 1428 champion
2 Naftovyk-Ukrnafta Okhtyrka 23 822 370 192 260 1104 849 1302 champion
3 Stal Alchevsk 21 752 361 155 236 1082 786 1238 champion
4 Oleksandriya 18 652 312 164 176 903 595 1100 champion
5 Mykolaiv 18 641 264 141 236 777 708 933 champion
6 Hoverla Uzhhorod 15 550 246 107 197 678 666 845 champion
7 Elektrometalurh-NZF Nikopol 11 418 183 71 164 498 506 620 vice-champion
8 Desna Chernihiv 13 450 167 107 176 510 511 608 vice-champion
9 Volyn Lutsk 10 368 178 61 129 513 417 595 champion
10 Zirka Kropyvnytskyi 11 370 166 93 111 476 363 591 champion
11 Bukovyna Chernivtsi 12 442 162 94 186 485 536 580 vice-champion
12 Nyva-V Vinnytsia 11 394 157 98 139 441 405 569 champion
13 Helios Kharkiv 12 400 148 112 140 413 419 556 4th
14 Polissya Zhytomyr 12 444 153 93 198 461 579 552 4th
15 CSKA Kyiv 13 464 153 88 223 433 586 547 5th
16 Dnipro Cherkasy 11 416 148 86 182 458 540 530 3rd
17 Podillya Khmelnytskyi 10 380 131 103 146 412 459 496 4th
18 Spartak Sumy 11 372 129 77 166 400 475 464 9th
19 Spartak Ivano-Frankivsk 9 320 128 76 116 369 348 460 champion
20 Krymteplytsia Molodizhne 8 276 121 68 87 353 294 431 4th

Stadiums[edit]

Considered to be as second tier competitions, the league has number of big stadiums with capacity of 20,000+, among which the most notable is Yuvileiny Stadium in Sumy and Shakhtar Stadium in Donetsk. Just before the Euro 2012, the First League clubs also played at the RSC Olimpiyskiy also located in Donetsk. Among smaller stadiums (10,000 – 20,000) are Central Stadium in Mykolaiv, Dynamo Stadium in Kiev, Avanhard Stadium in Lutsk, Chernihiv Stadium in Chernihiv and Central Stadium in Cherkasy.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Last one and half months worth several years (in Ukrainian)
  2. ^ Original source on August 19, 2010 by Bohdan Biletsky (in Ukrainian)
  3. ^ "FC Stal refuses to participate in Ukrainian Premier League". Interfax-Ukraine. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "In Ukrainian Premier League will be 14 teams: Oleksandriya do not need the elite division". LB. 2 June 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  5. ^ http://wildstat.ru/p/2104/cht/213/stat/summary Чемпионат Украины, первая лига (Суммарная таблица за все годы)

External links[edit]