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|Number of teams||10|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||Latvijas 1. līga|
|Domestic cup(s)|| Latvian Cup |
|International cup(s)|| UEFA Champions League |
UEFA Europa Conference League
|Current champions|| Riga FC |
|Most championships||Skonto (15)|
|Current: 2021 Latvian Higher League|
Latvian Higher League or Virslīga is a professional football league and the top tier of association football in Latvia. Organised by the Latvian Football Federation, the Higher League is contested by 10 clubs. The full name of the league is Optibet Virslīga for sponsorship reasons since 2019.
The first all-national Latvian championship, which succeeded the Riga Football League and other regional leagues, was organized in 1927, which lasted until the Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940. After World War II, between 1945 and 1991 the championship of Soviet Latvia was the main footballing competition in the Latvian SSR.
With Latvia regaining full independence in August 1991, the newly established Latvian Football Federation (LFF) decided to reorganise its competitions within the Virslīga from 1992.The same year Latvia returned to FIFA and became a member of UEFA.
After the 2007 season the league increased from eight to ten sides.In 2008 each side played the others four times. From 2015 till 2018 there were eight participating clubs. This was increased to nine for the 2019 season and ten for the 2020 season.
At the end of the season, the lowest placed team are automatically relegated into 1. līga, and the winner of the 1. līga automatically takes their place. The second lowest placed team in Virslīga and the second team of 1. līga 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.
A winter off-season league cup, the Virslīga Winter Cup, was played in January of each year from 2013 to 2017, which was replaced in 2018 by the Virslīga Cup (Latvian : Virslīgas kausa izcīņa).
The League has changed sponsors for several times. From 2005 until 2010 it was known as the LMT Virslīga. No sponsorships were established for the 2011 season. Starting from the 2012 season, the league was reorganised in partnership with an NGO as "Latvijas Futbola virslīga",adopting the NGO's name in the 2012 season. From 2013 to 2015, the league was known as the SMScredit.lv Virslīga due to a contract with the online microfinance company SMScredit. In March 2016, it was announced that the Virslīga would be sponsored by SynotTip Sports Bar on a three-year contract. They were succeeded by betting firm Optibet on a two-year contract, beginning with the 2019 season.
|Metta / LU||9th|
|Noah Jurmala||1st in First League|
This is a list of clubs, in order of most titles won in championships in independent Latvia (1922–1940 and 1991 to date).Teams in bold are part of 2020 Virslīga.
|Club||No. of Titles||Years won|
|Skonto Riga||15||1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2010|
|RFK Riga||8||1924, 1925, 1926, 1930, 1931, 1934, 1935, 1940|
|Olimpija Liepāja||7||1927, 1928, 1929, 1933, 1936, 1938, 1939|
|Ventspils||6||2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014|
|Riga FC||3||2018, 2019, 2020|
|Liepājas Metalurgs||2||2005, 2009|
|Kaiserwald Riga||2||1922, 1923|
|JPFS/Spartaks Jūrmala||2||2016, 2017|
The most well-known rivalry is the Kurzeme Derby (Kurzemes derbijs) between Ventspils and Liepāja. [ circular reference ] The two biggest clubs in Kurzeme have played 86 matches between themselves with a record of 31–28–27 (including Metalurgs) in favor of Liepāja prior to the 2019 Virslīga.
Since 2016, the Riga Derby (Rīgas derbijs) was started between Riga FC and Rīgas FS as two clubs were promoted at the same time. A 2019 match in Skonto Stadium between the two sides broke a ten-year attendance record.
Ventspils was the Latvian first club who qualified for the group stage of a UEFA club competition, reaching the 2009–10 UEFA Europa League group stage. [ circular reference ]
Skonto reached the UEFA Champions League last qualifying stage for a number of times in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but lost to such teams like FC Barcelona in 1997, Internazionale FC in 1998 and Chelsea FC in 1999.
Commonwealth of Independent States Cup
Runners-up (3): 2001, 2003, 2004.
Runners-up (1): 2007.
Champions (1): 2007.
Champions (1): 2010.
Runners-up (2): 2007, 2011.
Champions (1): 2011.
Runners-up (1): 2008.
Skonto FC was a Latvian football club, founded in 1991. The club played at the Skonto Stadium in Riga. Skonto won the Virsliga in the first 14 seasons of the league's resumption, and often provided the core of the Latvia national football team. With those 14 national championships in a row, they set a European record, men and women's football combined, until the women of Faroese club KÍ Klaksvík won their 14th championship in a row in 2013.
Latvian Higher League 2009 was the 18th season of top-tier football in Latvia. It began on 14 March 2009 with the first round of games and ended on 8 November 2009 with the 36th round of matches. Ventspils were the defending champions.
Ruslan Kamilyevich Mingazov is a Turkmenistani footballer who plays for FC Caspiy, and the Turkmenistan national football team, as a right or left midfielder.
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Artūrs Karašausks is a Latvian footballer, who plays in the Latvian Higher League for FK Liepāja.
Vladislavs Kozlovs is a Latvian footballer, who most recently played for FK Liepaja in the Latvian Higher League.
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The 2011 Latvian Higher League was the 20th season of top-tier football in Latvia. It began on 15 April 2011 and ended on 5 November 2011.
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The 2013 Latvian Higher League was the 22nd season of top-tier football in Latvia. FC Daugava were the defending champions. The season started on 29 March 2013.
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2014 Virsligas Winter Cup is second the edition of Virsligas Winter Cup. FC Daugava is the defending champion.
The 2014 Latvian Higher League was the 23rd season of top-tier football in Latvia. FK Ventspils are the defending champions. The season started on 21 March 2014. Initially, Skonto Riga and Daugava Daugavpils, the second and third teams from the previous season, were denied a license to participate and the league began with eight clubs. However, their appeals against this were successful and the league was restored to ten clubs.
The 2015 Latvian Higher League is the 24th season of top-tier football in Latvia. FK Ventspils are the defending champions. The season started on 13 March 2015.
The 2016 Latvian Higher League was the 25th season of top-tier football in Latvia. FK Liepāja were the defending champions. The season began on 11 March 2016 and ended on 5 November 2016; the relegation play-offs took place on 9 and 13 November 2016.
The 2018 Latvian Football Cup was the 24th edition of the football tournament. This edition of the competition began on 26 May 2018 and ended on 24 October 2018. Liepāja were the defending champions, having won the final 2–0 over Riga FC.