Russian Premier League

Russian Premier League
Country Russia
Confederation UEFA
Founded 2001 (2001)
Number of teams 16
Level on pyramid 1
Relegation to Football National League
Domestic cup(s) Russian Cup
International cup(s) Champions League
Europa League
Current champions CSKA Moscow
(2015–16 season)
Most championships Spartak Moscow (9 titles)*
2016–17 Russian Premier League
*Including Russian Top League
and Russian Top Division titles

The Russian Football Premier League[1] (Russian: Чемпионат России по футболу), or Russian Premier League,[2] is the top division professional association football league in Russia. The competition is administered by the Russian Football Premier League.[3] There are 16 teams in the competition. The league has two Champions League qualifying spots given to the top two teams at the end of the season and two Europa League spots are allocated to the third and fourth. The cup winner qualifies to the UEFA Europa League without play-offs. The last two teams are relegated to the Russian National Football League at the end of the season. The Russian Premier League was established in 2001 and succeeded the Top Division. The Top Division was run by the Professional Football League of Russia. Creation of the Premier League is considered to give the clubs a greater degree of independence. The league is currently called Rosgosstrakh Russian Football Championship[4] for sponsorship reasons.

CSKA Moscow is the current Russian Premier League champion.


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 further divided into two groups to reduce the total number of matches. The number of teams in the Top Division was gradually reduced to 18 in 1993 and 16 in 1994. Since then, the Russian Top Division (and subsequently the Premier League) has consisted of 16 teams, except for a short-lived experiment with having two more teams in 1996 and 1997.

Spartak Moscow was the dominant force in the Top Division, winning 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 twice, and CSKA Moscow six times.

In 2007, Zenit St. Petersburg climbed to the top, winning 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 pinnacle of the rise of Rubin Kazan, a club entirely new to the Russian top flight, as it had never even competed in the Soviet Top League.


Russian Premier League match between Zenit and Dynamo (the last Zenit match at the Kirov Stadium, stadium had been already partially demolished.)

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.

Russian Premier League match between Lokomotiv and Spartak at the Lokomotiv Stadium

As of 2010, the champions and the runners-up qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stage. The third-placed team qualifies for the Champions League second qualifying round. The fourth- and fifth-place teams qualify for the UEFA Europa League. The bottom two teams are relegated to the First Division (renamed the National Football League starting in 2011).

Unlike most other European football leagues, the league traditionally 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).[5] Under the current autumn-spring calendar, the league takes a three-month winter break from mid-December until mid-March.

Youth championship

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. Some examples include Spartak-2 and Zenit-2, playing in the Russian Football National League.

Youth Champions since 2001

Russian Teams in European Championships

Russia are currently sixth in the UEFA coefficient rankings. Russia recently overtook Portugal and are 2 points behind France. The best teams in Europe as of November 2016:

No. Team Pts
16 Zenit St. Petersburg 80.386
41 Rubin Kazan 43.386
48 PFC CSKA Moscow 37.886
59 FC Anzhi Makhachkala 30.386
67 FC Krasnodar 27.386
69 Dynamo Moscow 26.886

Current clubs

The following teams are competing in the 2016–17 season:

Team Home city Stadium Capacity
Amkar Perm Perm Zvezda Stadium 17,000
Anzhi Makhachkala Makhachkala Anzhi Arena 30,000
Arsenal Tula Tula Arsenal Stadium 20,048
CSKA Moscow Moscow Arena CSKA 30,000
Krasnodar Krasnodar Krasnodar Stadium 33,000
Krylia Sovetov Samara Samara Metallurg Stadium 33,001
Lokomotiv Moscow Moscow Lokomotiv Stadium 28,800
Orenburg Orenburg Gazovik Stadium 7,500
Rostov Rostov-on-Don Olimp-2 15,840
Rubin Kazan Kazan Kazan Arena 45,379
Spartak Moscow Moscow Otkrytiye Arena 44,929
Terek Grozny Grozny Akhmat-Arena 30,597
Tom Tomsk Tomsk Trud Stadium 10,000
Ufa Ufa Neftyanik Stadium 15,200
Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast Yekaterinburg SKB-Bank Arena 10,000
Zenit Saint Petersburg Saint Petersburg Petrovsky Stadium 21,405

New Stadiums

In 2016 new stadiums opened. CSKA Moscow got a new stadium named Arena CSKA. It holds a capacity of 30,000. FC Krasnodar got the most modern stadium in Europe named Krasnodar Stadium. It holds a capacity of 34,000.

Champions and top scorers

Season Champion Runner-up Third place Top scorer
1992* Spartak Moscow Spartak Vladikavkaz Dynamo Moscow Azerbaijan Vali Gasimov (Dinamo Moscow, 16 goals – 1–8 place)
Russia Yuri Matveyev (Uralmash Yekaterinburg, 20 goals – 9–20 place)
1993* Spartak Moscow (2) Rotor Volgograd Dynamo Moscow (2) Russia Victor Panchenko (KamAZ Naberezhnye Chelny, 21 goals)
1994* Spartak Moscow (3) Dynamo Moscow Lokomotiv Moscow Russia Igor Simutenkov (Dinamo Moscow, 21 goals)
1995* Spartak-Alania Vladikavkaz Lokomotiv Moscow Spartak Moscow Russia Oleg Veretennikov (Rotor Volgograd, 25 goals)
1996* Spartak Moscow (4) Alania Vladikavkaz (2) Rotor Volgograd Russia Aleksandr Maslov (Rostselmash, 23 goals)
1997* Spartak Moscow (5) Rotor Volgograd (2) Dynamo Moscow (3) Russia Oleg Veretennikov (Rotor Volgograd, 22 goals)
1998** Spartak Moscow (6) CSKA Moscow Lokomotiv Moscow (2) Russia Oleg Veretennikov (Rotor Volgograd, 22 goals)
1999** Spartak Moscow (7) Lokomotiv Moscow (2) CSKA Moscow Georgia (country) Georgi Demetradze (Alania Vladikavkaz, 21 goals)
2000** Spartak Moscow (8) Lokomotiv Moscow (3) Torpedo Moscow Russia Dmitri Loskov (Lokomotiv Moscow, 18 goals)
2001** Spartak Moscow (9) Lokomotiv Moscow (4) Zenit Saint Petersburg Russia Dmitri Vyazmikin (Torpedo Moscow, 18 goals)
2002 Lokomotiv Moscow CSKA Moscow (2) Spartak Moscow (2) Russia Rolan Gusev (CSKA Moscow, 15 goals)
Russia Dmitri Kirichenko (CSKA Moscow, 15 goals)
2003 CSKA Moscow Zenit Saint Petersburg Rubin Kazan Russia Dmitri Loskov (Lokomotiv Moscow, 14 goals)
2004 Lokomotiv Moscow (2) CSKA Moscow (2) Krylia Sovetov Samara Russia Aleksandr Kerzhakov (Zenit St. Petersburg, 18 goals)
2005 CSKA Moscow (2) Spartak Moscow Lokomotiv Moscow (3) Russia Dmitri Kirichenko (Moscow, 14 goals)
2006 CSKA Moscow (3) Spartak Moscow (2) Lokomotiv Moscow (4) Russia Roman Pavlyuchenko (Spartak Moscow, 18 goals)
2007 Zenit Saint Petersburg Spartak Moscow (3) CSKA Moscow (2) Russia Roman Pavlyuchenko (Spartak Moscow, 14 goals)
Russia Roman Adamov (Moscow, 14 goals)
2008 Rubin Kazan CSKA Moscow (4) Dynamo Moscow (4) Brazil Vágner Love (CSKA Moscow, 20 goals)
2009 Rubin Kazan (2) Spartak Moscow (4) Zenit Saint Petersburg (2) Brazil Welliton (Spartak Moscow, 21 goals)
2010 Zenit Saint Petersburg (2) CSKA Moscow (5) Rubin Kazan (2) Brazil Welliton (Spartak Moscow, 19 goals)
2011–12 Zenit Saint Petersburg (3) Spartak Moscow (5) CSKA Moscow (3) Ivory Coast Seydou Doumbia (CSKA Moscow, 28 goals)
2012–13 CSKA Moscow (4) Zenit Saint Petersburg (2) Anzhi Makhachkala Armenia Yura Movsisyan (Krasnodar/Spartak Moscow, 13 goals)
Brazil Wánderson (Krasnodar, 13 goals)
2013–14 CSKA Moscow (5) Zenit Saint Petersburg (3) Lokomotiv Moscow (5) Ivory Coast Seydou Doumbia (CSKA Moscow, 18 goals)
2014–15 Zenit Saint Petersburg (4) CSKA Moscow (6) Krasnodar Brazil Hulk (Zenit Saint Petersburg, 15 goals)
2015–16 CSKA Moscow (6) Rostov Zenit Saint Petersburg (3) Russia Fyodor Smolov (Krasnodar, 20 goals)

Performance by club

Club Winners Runners-Up Third place Years won
Spartak Moscow
1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001
CSKA Moscow
2003, 2005, 2006, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2015–16
Zenit St. Petersburg
2007, 2010, 2011–12, 2014–15
Lokomotiv Moscow
2002, 2004
Rubin Kazan
2008, 2009
Alania Vladikavkaz
Rotor Volgograd
Dynamo Moscow
Torpedo Moscow
Krylia Sovetov Samara
Anzhi Makhachkala

UEFA Ranking

Main article: UEFA coefficient

All-time table

As of 10 July 2015
1Spartak Moscow231 7133911771451330-7501350952
2CSKA Moscow231 7133681671781150-6911271563
3Lokomotiv Moscow231 7133511981641049-6581251245
4Dynamo Moscow231 2015-167123022022081028-8181108-14
5Zenit Saint Petersburg202 622299177146974-6291074432
6Krylya Sovetov Samara222686218189279743-901843--1
7Rostov213 652175191286681-921716---
8Torpedo Moscow1622014–15492188142162625-598706--1
9Alania Vladikavkaz1632012–13489179109201630-66364612-Disbanded and reestablished 2014
10Rubin Kazan121 374165108101507-3616032-2
11Rotor Volgograd1312004402151109142562-506562-21
12Saturn Moscow Oblast1212010360120121119396-378481---
13Amkar Perm111 34499110135321-416407---
14Moscow912009 270928395295-311359---Disbanded 2010
15Shinnik Yaroslavl10420083048586133294-403341---
16Kuban Krasnodar85 2015-16254708599270-335295---
17Tom Tomsk82 2547272110242-331288---
18Chernomorets Novorossiysk8220032487465109274-357287---
19Anzhi Makhachkala72224736685247-265285--1
20Terek Grozny82 2547760117249-339285 4---
21Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast722187543100274-331268---
22Lokomotiv Nizhny Novgorod8220002486863117233-356267---Disbanded 2006
23Zhemchuzhina Sochi7119992226157104263-390240--- Disbanded 2003 and 2013, reestablished 2007
24Spartak Nalchik612011–12194545783207-239219---
25Krasnodar41 134603341201-166213--1
26Energia-Tekstilshchik Kamyshin511996158534362172-177202---
27KAMAZ Naberezhnye Chelny511997162513279198-253179 5---
28Uralan Elista522003150363975138-225147---Disbanded 2005, reestablished 2014
29Luch-Energia Vladivostok422008124343258116-187134---
30Baltika Kaliningrad31199898303731114-111127---
31Fakel Voronezh432001124312964101-175122---
32Dynamo Stavropol3119949427234494-125104---Disbanded 2014, re-established 2015
34Volga Nizhny Novgorod312013–1410425166387-17191---
35Okean Nakhodka2119936422142865-8380---Disbanded 2015
37Asmaral Moscow2119936019113074-10268---Disbanded 1999
38Sokol Saratov2120026017133055-8764---
39Mordovia Saransk222015-16 6016103452-10058---
40Lada Togliatti2219966410163842-10546---
41Ufa11 307101326-3931---
42Arsenal Tula11 30741920-4625---
43Sibir Novosibirsk11201030481834-5820---
44Gazovik Orenburg00 0000-----
Competing in RFPL
Competing in FNL (2nd tier)
Competing in PFL (3rd tier)
Competing in amateur leagues (below 3rd tier)
Defunct (see notes)
  1. 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.
  2. Includes championship play-offs, does not include relegation play-offs.
  3. For the purposes of this table, each win is worth 3 points. The three-point system was adopted in 1995.
  4. Terek were deducted 6 points in 2005.
  5. KAMAZ-Chally were deducted 6 points in 1997.

Player records

Most appearances

As of 21 May 2016
1Russia Sergei Semak456
2Russia Dmitri Loskov452
3Russia Sergei Ignashevich440
4Russia Igor Semshov433
5Russia Ruslan Adzhindzhal397
6Russia Valery Yesipov390
7Russia Dmitri Kirichenko377
8Lithuania Deividas Šemberas369
9Russia Konstantin Zyryanov365
10Russia Evgeni Aldonin353

Most goals

As of 16 May 2016
1Russia Oleg Veretennikov1432740.52
2Russia Aleksandr Kerzhakov1383260.42
3Russia Dmitri Kirichenko1293770.34
4Russia Dmitri Loskov1204520.27
5Russia Sergei Semak1024560.22
6Russia Roman Pavlyuchenko1002880.35
7Russia Andrey Tikhonov983460.28
8Russia Igor Semshov984330.23
9Russia Yegor Titov883360.26
10Russia Valery Yesipov883900.23

Champions (players)


Media coverage

NTV Plus cameraman
Country Broadcaster
 CIS Our Football
 Russia NTV (till Nov. 1st), Match TV (since Nov. 1st), Sport Plus, Our Football
 Azerbaijan CBC Sport
 Ukraine Poverkhnost TV (Sport 1 Ukraine)
 United States beIN Sports
 Puerto Rico
 Brazil Esporte Interativo
 Portugal Sport TV
 Greece Action 24
 France L'Equipe 21
 Turkey Lig TV
Lig TV 2
Lig TV 3
Lig TV HD 2
Lig TV HD 3
 Poland Polsat Sport
 Romania Digi Sport
Dolce Sport
 Serbia Sport Klub
 Bosnia and Herzegovina
 Belgium Eurosport
 United Kingdom
 Arab World BeIN Sports Arabia
 Japan J Sports
 Indonesia TelkomVision Arena & Lejel Sport
 Argentina Gol TV
 Costa Rica
 Dominican Republic
 El Salvador
Asia Fox Sports Asia
 Hong Kong I-Cable

See also


  2. Russian Premier League
  3. RFPL (Russian: Российская футбольная Премьер-Лига)
  4. (Russian: Росгосстрах — Чемпионат России по футболу)
  5. "Russian league switches to new calendar". UEFA. 2010-09-13. Retrieved 2010-09-13.
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