|Organising body||Russian Football Union (RFU)|
|Founded||1992 (as Top League)|
2001 (as Premier League)
|Number of teams||16|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||Football National League|
|Domestic cup(s)|| Russian Cup |
Russian Super Cup
|International cup(s)|| UEFA Champions League |
UEFA Europa League
UEFA Europa Conference League
|Current champions|| Zenit Saint Petersburg (7th title)|
|Most championships||Spartak Moscow (10 titles)|
|TV partners||List of broadcasters|
|Current: 2021–22 Russian Premier League|
The Russian Premier League (RPL; Russian : Российская премьер-лига; РПЛ) (Russian Premier Liga) is the top division professional association football league in Russia. It was established at the end of 2001 as the Russian Football Premier League (RFPL; Russian : Российская футбольная премьер-лига; РФПЛ) and was rebranded with its current name in 2018. From 1992 through 2001, the top level of the Russian football league system was the Russian Football Championship (Russian : Чемпионат России по футболу, Chempionat Rossii po Futbolu). 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 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 Tinkoff Russian Premier League (Russian : Тинькофф Российская Премьер-Лига) (Tinkoff Russian Premier Liga) for sponsorship reasons.
Since the introduction of the Russian Premier League in 2002, Zenit Saint Petersburg (7 times), CSKA Moscow (6 times), Lokomotiv Moscow (3 times), Rubin Kazan (2 times) and Spartak Moscow (1 time) have won the title. Zenit Saint Petersburg are the current Russian Premier League champions.
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 the Premier League since 2002) 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 preparation for the 2018–19 season, it was decided to hold a rebranding in which a new logo was presented.
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 2020–21 season, the champions qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stage. The runners-up qualifies for the Champions League third qualifying round. The third and fourth-place teams qualify for the UEFA Europa Conference League. If the winner of Russian Cup ends in first or second on the championship in same season, then the third-place team qualifies to UEFA Europa League group stage, while fourth and fifth-place teams qualify for the UEFA Europa Conference League instead. The bottom two teams are relegated to the National League. Starting on the 2020–21 season the teams ranked in 13th and 14th-place play a two legs relegation play-off against 4th and 3rd-place team from National League. The two winners of this play-off secures the right to play in Premier League in following season.
Unlike most other European football leagues, the league traditionally used to 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).Under the current autumn-spring calendar, the league takes a three-month winter break from mid-December until mid-March. Merging the calendar with other UEFA leagues however, has increased numbers of games in winter. This has resulted in the Russian Far East and Siberian teams being forced to play more home games in hostile weather conditions which affected the Premier League when SKA Khabarovsk took part.
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.
Russia are currently seventh in the UEFA coefficient rankings. The following are the best ranked Russian teams in Europe as of December 2020:
|27||Zenit Saint Petersburg||50.000|
The following teams are competing in the 2020–21 season:
|Arsenal Tula||Tula||Arsenal Stadium||20,048|
|CSKA Moscow||Moscow||VEB Arena||30,457|
|Dynamo Moscow||Moscow||VTB Arena||26,700|
|Khimki||Khimki, Moscow Region||Arena Khimki||18,636|
|Lokomotiv Moscow||Moscow||Lokomotiv Stadium||27,320|
|Rotor Volgograd||Volgograd||Volgograd Arena||45,568|
|Rubin Kazan||Kazan||Kazan Arena||45,093|
|Sochi||Sochi||Fisht Olympic Stadium||44,287|
|Spartak Moscow||Moscow||Otkrytiye Arena||44,307|
|FC Ural Yekaterinburg||Yekaterinburg||Central Stadium||35,696|
|Zenit Saint Petersburg||Saint Petersburg||Krestovsky Stadium||67,800|
|Season||Champions||Runners-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)|
|2018–19||Zenit Saint Petersburg (5)||Lokomotiv Moscow (5)||Krasnodar (2)||Fyodor Chalov (CSKA Moscow, 15 goals)|
|2019–20||Zenit Saint Petersburg (6)||Lokomotiv Moscow (6)||Krasnodar (3)|| Sardar Azmoun (Zenit Saint Petersburg, 17 goals)|
Artem Dzyuba (Zenit Saint Petersburg, 17 goals)
|2020–21||Zenit Saint Petersburg (7)||Spartak Moscow (6)||Lokomotiv Moscow (6)||Artem Dzyuba (Zenit Saint Petersburg, 20 goals)|
|Club||Winners||Runners-up||Third place||Seasons won|
|Spartak Moscow||1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2016–17|
|Zenit Saint Petersburg||2007, 2010, 2011–12, 2014–15, 2018–19, 2019–20, 2020–21|
|CSKA Moscow||2003, 2005, 2006, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2015–16|
|Lokomotiv Moscow||2002, 2004, 2017–18|
|Rubin Kazan||2008, 2009|
|Krylia Sovetov Samara|
UEFA League Ranking at the end of the 2018–19 season:
A total of 51 teams had competed in at least one season at the top division. Spartak Moscow, CSKA Moscow and Lokomotiv Moscow are the only teams to have played in the top division in every season since the league's inception at 1992. The teams in bold participate in the 2021–22 Premier League.
|30||Spartak Moscow , CSKA Moscow , Lokomotiv Moscow|
|27||Zenit Saint Petersburg , Krylia Sovetov Samara|
|16||Alania Vladikavkaz, Torpedo Moscow|
|14||Rotor Volgograd, Amkar Perm, Ural Yekaterinburg|
|11||Anzhi Makhachkala, Krasnodar|
|9||Moscow, Tom Tomsk, Kuban Krasnodar|
|8||Lokomotiv Nizhny Novgorod, Chernomorets Novorossiysk, Ufa|
|7||Zhemchuzhina-Sochi, Arsenal Tula|
|5||Tekstilshchik Kamyshin, KAMAZ Naberezhnye Chelny , Elista, Tyumen, Khimki|
|4||Luch Vladivostok, Fakel Voronezh|
|3||Torpedo-ZIL Moscow, Baltika Kaliningrad, Dynamo Stavropol, Volga Nizhny Novgorod, Mordovia Saransk, Orenburg, Sochi|
|2||Okean Nakhodka, Asmaral Moscow, Sokol Saratov, Lada-Tolyatti, Tambov|
|1||Sibir Novosibirsk, Tosno, SKA-Khabarovsk, Yenisey Krasnoyarsk, Nizhny Novgorod|
|4||Zenit Saint Petersburg||27||2||802||395||210||167||1448-783||1247||7||3||4|
|6||Krylya Sovetov Samara||27||4||806||249||218||339||851–1057||965||-||-||1|
|10||Alania Vladikavkaz||16||3||2012–13||489||179||109||201||630–663||646||1||2||-||Disbanded and reestablished 2014|
|12||Amkar Perm||14||1||2017–18||434||114||131||159||368–478||508||-||-||-||Disbanded 2018|
|13||Saturn Moscow Oblast||12||1||2010||360||120||121||119||396–378||481||-||-||-|
|14||Akhmat Grozny||12||2||344||102||77||135||322–404||422 4||-||-||-|
|15||Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast||11||2||308||93||58||127||337–421||374||-||-||-|
|24||Zhemchuzhina Sochi||7||1||1999||222||61||57||104||263–390||240||-||-||-||Disbanded 2003 and 2013, reestablished 2007|
|27||KAMAZ Naberezhnye Chelny||5||1||1997||162||51||32||79||198–253||179 5||-||-||-|
|28||Uralan Elista||5||2||2003||150||36||39||75||138–225||147||-||-||-||Disbanded 2005, reestablished 2014|
|33||Dynamo Stavropol||3||1||1994||94||27||23||44||94–125||104||-||-||-||Disbanded 2014, re-established 2015|
|36||Volga Nizhny Novgorod||3||1||2013–14||104||25||16||63||87–171||91||-||-||-||Disbanded 2016|
|38||Okean Nakhodka||2||1||1993||64||22||14||28||65–83||80||-||-||-||Disbanded 2015, reestablished 2018|
|40||Asmaral Moscow||2||1||1993||60||19||11||30||74–102||68||-||-||-||Disbanded 1999|
|Competing in RPL|
|Competing in FNL (2nd tier)|
|Competing in PFL (3rd tier)|
|Competing in amateur leagues (below 3rd tier)|
|Defunct (see notes)|
|Match TV||60 matches per season live|
|Match Premier||All 240 matches live|
the Super Cup matches for viewers in Russia are excluded.
All 240 matches are aired live globally on YouTube with a required subscription. There will be two membership levels for the viewers outside Russia, CIS, and China. The first level includes two matches with English commentary each matchday and will cost a monthly fee of $2.99. The second level, for $4.99 a month, gives subscribers access to all eight matches in Russian and two matches with English commentary as well.In 2018–19 season, YouTube broadcast four live matches per week for free (in matchweek 30, aired all last eight matches). From 2020–21, YouTube also broadcast the FTA coverage of Super Cup before airing the league.
2004 in Russian football was marked with Lokomotiv's second championship, Terek's cup victory, and national team playing at Euro 2004.
2003 in Russian football saw the first title for PFC CSKA Moscow. Spartak Moscow, the Cup winners, had the worst league finish since 1976. The national team qualified for Euro 2004.
2002 in Russian football was the first season of the Premier League, which was won by FC Lokomotiv Moscow. The national team participated in the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
The 2006 Russian Premier League was the 55th season of the premier football competition in Russia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the 5th under the current Russian Premier League name.
The 2005 Russian Premier League was the 14th season of the premier football competition in Russia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the 4th under the current Russian Premier League name.
2002 was the first season of the Russian Premier League. While the structure of the competition did not change, the top level clubs gained independence from the Professional Football League.
The 2009 Russian Premier League was the 18th season of the Russian football championship since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and 8th under the current Russian Premier League name. The season started on 14 March 2009 with a goalless draw between Amkar Perm and Rostov. The last matches were played on 29 November 2009. On 21 November 2009 Rubin Kazan successfully retained their champion's title.
The 2010 Russian Premier League is the 19th season of the Russian football championship since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and ninth under the current Russian Premier League name. The season started on 12 March 2010 and the last matches were played on 29 November 2010. On 14 November 2010, Zenit Saint Petersburg clinched the title after a 5–0 win against Rostov. This season was the last one played during an entire year (March–November), as the Russian Football Union decided to schedule the following seasons in sync with the biggest European football leagues (August–May).
The 2011–12 Russian Premier League is the 20th season of the Russian football championship since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and 10th under the current Russian Premier League name. The season began on 12 March 2011. The last matches were played on 22 May 2012, as the league switched to an autumn-spring rhythm. Zenit were the defending champions, and managed to successfully defend their title.
The 2012–13 Russian Premier League was the 21st season of the Russian football championship since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and 11th under the current Russian Premier League name. It began on 21 July 2012 and ended on 26 May 2013, with a winter break between the weekends around 13 December 2012 and 10 March 2013.
The 2006 Russian football season, saw CSKA Moscow competed in the Russian Premier League, Russian Cup, the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Champions League. CSKA defended their Premier League and Cup crown as well as winning the Russian Super Cup, to complete a Domestic Treble.
The 2011–12 Dynamo Moscow season was the 89th season in club history. During this long season, club participated in three competitions – the Russian Premier League, the 2010–11 Russian Cup and the 2011–12 Russian Cup.
The 2014–15 Russian Premier League is the 23rd season of the Russian football championship since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the 13th under the current Russian Premier League name.
Brazilian legend Zico was appointed as the club's manager at the start of the season following the departure of Valery Gazzaev. Zico left the club in September, being replaced by Juande Ramos, who only lasted 47 days before being replaced by Leonid Slutsky.
The 2016–17 Russian Premier League is the 25th season of the premier league football competition in Russia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the 14th under the current Russian Premier League name. CSKA Moscow came into the season as the defending champions of the 2015-16 season. Fixtures for the 2016–17 season were announced on 20 June 2016.
The 2017–18 Russian Premier League was the 26th season of the premier football competition in Russia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the 15th under the current Russian Premier League name. Spartak Moscow came into the season as the defending champions.
The 2005 FC Rubin Kazan season was the club's 3rd season in the Russian Premier League, the highest tier of association football in Russia. They finished the season in fourth position, qualifying for the Second Round of 2006–07 UEFA Cup and progressed to the Round 16 in the Russian Cup.
The 2009 FC Moscow season was the club's 6th, and final season as a professional team. They finished the season in 6th place, reached the Semi-final of the 2008–09 Russian Cup and the Quarterfinal of the 2009–10 Russian Cup. Prior to the start of the 2010 Russian Premier League season, on 5 February 2010, FC Moscow announced that would not participate in the Russian Premier League with the club being officially excluded from the season on 17 February 2010.
The 2020–21 FC Lokomotiv Moscow season was the club's 96th season in existence and the club's 25th consecutive season in the top flight of Russian football. In addition to the domestic league, Lokomotiv Moscow participated in this season's editions of the Russian Cup, the Russian Super Cup, and participated in the UEFA Champions League. The season covered the period from 7 August 2020 to 30 June 2021.
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