Russian Premier League

Russian Premier League
Founded 2001 (2001)
Country  Russia
Confederation UEFA
Number of teams 16
Level on pyramid 1
Relegation to Football National League
Domestic cup(s) Russian Cup
Russian Super Cup
International cup(s) Champions League
Europa League
Current champions Lokomotiv Moscow (3rd title)
Most championships Spartak Moscow (10 titles)
2018–19 Russian Premier League

The Russian Football Championship[1] (Russian: Чемпионат России по футболу, Chempionat Rossii po Futbolu), or Russian Premier League (Российская премьер-лига),[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 three Champions League qualifying spots given to the top three teams at the end of the season and the two Europa League spots will be allocated to the fourth and fifth placed teams. 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 rebranded in 2002. The Russian Premier League succeeded the Top Division including history and records. 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.

Lokomotiv Moscow is the 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 three times, 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 rise of Rubin Kazan, a club entirely new to the Russian top flight, as it had never competed in the Soviet Top League.

In mid-2010s, some stadiums opened. CSKA Moscow got a new stadium named Arena CSKA, later named VEB Arena. 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.

In preparation for the 2018–19 season, it was decided to hold a rebranding in which a new logo was presented, and the league was renamed the Russian Premier League (RPL).[5][6][7][8][9]


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 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).[10] 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)

UEFA club rankings

Russia are currently sixth in the UEFA coefficient rankings. The best Russian teams in Europe as of December 2017:

17FC Zenit Saint Petersburg75.000
36PFC CSKA Moscow38.000
61FC Krasnodar23.500
75FC Lokomotiv Moscow18.500
83FC Rubin Kazan16.000
84FC Dynamo Moscow13.500
108FC Rostov13.500
112FC Spartak Moscow11.500
119FC Anzhi Makhachkala10.000

Current clubs

The following teams are competing in the 2018–19 season:

Team Home city Stadium Capacity
Akhmat Grozny Grozny Akhmat-Arena 30,597
Anzhi Makhachkala Kaspiysk Anzhi-Arena 26,500[11]
Yenisey Krasnoyarsk Krasnoyarsk Tsentralny 22,500
Arsenal Tula Tula Arsenal Stadium 20,048
CSKA Moscow Moscow VEB Arena 30,457[12]
Dynamo Moscow Moscow VTB Arena 26,700
Krasnodar Krasnodar Krasnodar Stadium 34,291
Lokomotiv Moscow Moscow Lokomotiv Stadium 27,320
Rostov Rostov-on-Don Rostov Arena 45,000
Rubin Kazan Kazan Kazan Arena 45,093[13]
Orenburg Orenburg Orenburg Stadium 7,520[14]
Spartak Moscow Moscow Otkrytiye Arena 44,307[15]
Krylia Sovetov Samara Samara Cosmos Arena 44,918
Ufa Ufa Neftyanik Stadium 15,132[16]
Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast Yekaterinburg Central Stadium 35,696
Zenit Saint Petersburg Saint Petersburg Krestovsky Stadium 67,800 [17]

Champions and top scorers

Season Champion Runner-up Third place Top scorer
1992* Spartak Moscow Spartak Vladikavkaz Dynamo Moscow Vali Gasimov (Dinamo Moscow, 16 goals – 1–8 place)
Yuri Matveyev (Uralmash Yekaterinburg, 20 goals – 9–20 place)
1993* Spartak Moscow (2) Rotor Volgograd Dynamo Moscow (2) Victor Panchenko (KamAZ Naberezhnye Chelny, 21 goals)
1994* Spartak Moscow (3) Dynamo Moscow Lokomotiv Moscow Igor Simutenkov (Dinamo Moscow, 21 goals)
1995* Spartak-Alania Vladikavkaz Lokomotiv Moscow Spartak Moscow Oleg Veretennikov (Rotor Volgograd, 25 goals)
1996* Spartak Moscow (4) Alania Vladikavkaz (2) Rotor Volgograd Aleksandr Maslov (Rostselmash, 23 goals)
1997* Spartak Moscow (5) Rotor Volgograd (2) Dynamo Moscow (3) Oleg Veretennikov (Rotor Volgograd, 22 goals)
1998** Spartak Moscow (6) CSKA Moscow Lokomotiv Moscow (2) Oleg Veretennikov (Rotor Volgograd, 22 goals)
1999** Spartak Moscow (7) Lokomotiv Moscow (2) CSKA Moscow Georgi Demetradze (Alania Vladikavkaz, 21 goals)
2000** Spartak Moscow (8) Lokomotiv Moscow (3) Torpedo Moscow Dmitri Loskov (Lokomotiv Moscow, 18 goals)
2001** Spartak Moscow (9) Lokomotiv Moscow (4) Zenit Saint Petersburg Dmitri Vyazmikin (Torpedo Moscow, 18 goals)
2002 Lokomotiv Moscow CSKA Moscow (2) Spartak Moscow (2) Rolan Gusev (CSKA Moscow, 15 goals)
Dmitri Kirichenko (CSKA Moscow, 15 goals)
2003 CSKA Moscow Zenit Saint Petersburg Rubin Kazan Dmitri Loskov (Lokomotiv Moscow, 14 goals)
2004 Lokomotiv Moscow (2) CSKA Moscow (2) Krylia Sovetov Samara Aleksandr Kerzhakov (Zenit St. Petersburg, 18 goals)
2005 CSKA Moscow (2) Spartak Moscow Lokomotiv Moscow (3) Dmitri Kirichenko (Moscow, 14 goals)
2006 CSKA Moscow (3) Spartak Moscow (2) Lokomotiv Moscow (4) Roman Pavlyuchenko (Spartak Moscow, 18 goals)
2007 Zenit Saint Petersburg Spartak Moscow (3) CSKA Moscow (2) Roman Pavlyuchenko (Spartak Moscow, 14 goals)
Roman Adamov (Moscow, 14 goals)
2008 Rubin Kazan CSKA Moscow (4) Dynamo Moscow (4) Vágner Love (CSKA Moscow, 20 goals)
2009 Rubin Kazan (2) Spartak Moscow (4) Zenit Saint Petersburg (2) Welliton (Spartak Moscow, 21 goals)
2010 Zenit Saint Petersburg (2) CSKA Moscow (5) Rubin Kazan (2) Welliton (Spartak Moscow, 19 goals)
2011–12 Zenit Saint Petersburg (3) Spartak Moscow (5) CSKA Moscow (3) Seydou Doumbia (CSKA Moscow, 28 goals)
2012–13 CSKA Moscow (4) Zenit Saint Petersburg (2) Anzhi Makhachkala Yura Movsisyan (Krasnodar/Spartak Moscow, 13 goals)
Wánderson (Krasnodar, 13 goals)
2013–14 CSKA Moscow (5) Zenit Saint Petersburg (3) Lokomotiv Moscow (5) Seydou Doumbia (CSKA Moscow, 18 goals)
2014–15 Zenit Saint Petersburg (4) CSKA Moscow (6) Krasnodar Hulk (Zenit Saint Petersburg, 15 goals)
2015–16 CSKA Moscow (6) Rostov Zenit Saint Petersburg (3) Fyodor Smolov (Krasnodar, 20 goals)
2016–17 Spartak Moscow (10) CSKA Moscow (7) Zenit Saint Petersburg (4) Fyodor Smolov (Krasnodar, 18 goals)
2017–18 Lokomotiv Moscow (3) CSKA Moscow (8) Spartak Moscow (3) Quincy Promes (Spartak Moscow, 15 goals)

Performance by club

Club Winners Runners-up Third place Years won
Spartak Moscow
1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2016–17
CSKA Moscow
2003, 2005, 2006, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2015–16
Zenit St. Petersburg
2007, 2010, 2011–12, 2014–15
Lokomotiv Moscow
2002, 2004, 2017–18
Rubin Kazan
2008, 2009
Spartak Vladikavkaz
Rotor Volgograd
Dynamo Moscow
Torpedo Moscow
Krylia Sovetov Samara
Anzhi Makhachkala
Total 26 26 26

UEFA Ranking

All-time table

As of the end of the 2017–18 season. Teams in bold compete in 2018-19 Premier League.
1Spartak Moscow2718034281851601424-81615251053
2CSKA Moscow2718034061801871148-7311456683
3Lokomotiv Moscow2718033752181801131-7181403345
4Zenit Saint Petersburg2427123341921561085-6801247434
5Dynamo Moscow2627723072122231053-8651173-14
6Krylya Sovetov Samara253746233207306793-971906--1
8Rubin Kazan161464184122128570-4347122-2
9Torpedo Moscow1622014–15492188142162625-598706--1
10Spartak Vladikavkaz1632012–13489179109201630-66364612-Disbanded and reestablished 2014
11Rotor Volgograd1312004402151109142562-506562-21
12Amkar Perm1412017-18434114131159368-478508---Disbanded 2018
13Saturn Moscow Oblast1212010360120121119396-378481---
14Akhmat Grozny12234410277135322-404422 4---
15Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast1123089358127337-421374---
17Anzhi Makhachkala1133148683115299-353365--1
18Moscow912009270928395295-311359---Disbanded 2010
19Shinnik Yaroslavl10420083048586133294-403341---
20Kuban Krasnodar952015-162847596113304-379321---Disbanded 2018
21Tom Tomsk922016-172847577132259-395302---
22Chernomorets Novorossiysk8220032487465109274-357287---
23Lokomotiv Nizhny Novgorod8220002486863117233-356267---Disbanded 2006
24Zhemchuzhina Sochi7119992226157104263-390240---Disbanded 2003 and 2013, reestablished 2007
25Spartak Nalchik612011–12194545783207-239219---
26Energia-Tekstilshchik Kamyshin511996158534362172-177202---
27KAMAZ Naberezhnye Chelny511997162513279198-253179 5---
28Uralan Elista522003150363975138-225147---Disbanded 2005, reestablished 2014
30Luch-Energia Vladivostok422008124343258116-187134---
31Baltika Kaliningrad31199898303731114-111127---
32Fakel Voronezh432001124312964101-175122---
33Dynamo Stavropol3119949427234494-125104---Disbanded 2014, re-established 2015
35Arsenal Tula326014113538-8695---
36Volga Nizhny Novgorod312013–1410425166387-17191---Disbanded 2016
37Mordovia Saransk322015-169020224882-15082---
38Okean Nakhodka2119936422142865-8380---Disbanded 2015
40Asmaral Moscow2119936019113074-10268---Disbanded 1999
41Sokol Saratov2120026017133055-8764---
42Lada Togliatti2219966410163842-10546---
44Tosno112017-1830661823-5424---Disbanded 2018
45Sibir Novosibirsk11201030481834-5820---
47Yenisey Krasnoyarsk1100000---
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 1 August 2018
1 Sergei Ignashevich489
2 Sergei Semak456
3 Dmitri Loskov453
4 Igor Semshov433
5 Vasili Berezutski402
6 Igor Akinfeev398
7 Ruslan Adzhindzhal397
8 Valery Yesipov390
9 Dmitri Kirichenko377
10 Igor Lebedenko371

Most goals

As of 20 July 2017
1 Oleg Veretennikov1432740.52
2 Aleksandr Kerzhakov1393400.41
3 Dmitri Kirichenko1293770.34
4 Dmitri Loskov1204530.26
5 Roman Pavlyuchenko1043090.34
6 Sergei Semak1024560.22
7 Andrey Tikhonov983460.28
8 Igor Semshov984330.23
9 Yegor Titov883360.26
10 Valery Yesipov883900.23

Champions (players)

Media coverage

Country Broadcaster
 CIS Match Premier
 Russia NTV (till Nov. 1st), Match TV (since Nov. 1st), Sport Plus, Match Premier
 Azerbaijan CBC Sport
 Ukraine Poverkhnost TV (Sport 1 Ukraine)
 United States beIN Sports
 Puerto Rico
 Brazil Esporte Interativo
 Portugal Sport TV
 France L'Equipe 21
 Turkey TivibuSpor
 Lithuania Sport1
 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


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