|Organising body||Russian Football Union (RFU)|
|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|| |
|TV partners||List of broadcasters|
|Current: 2020-21 Russian Premier League|
The Russian Premier League (RPL; Russian: ? ?-?; ) (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: ? ? ?-?; ?) 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: ?, 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: ? ?-?) (Tinkoff Russian Premier Liga) for sponsorship reasons.
Since the introduction of the Russian Premier League in 2002, CSKA Moscow (6 times), Zenit Saint Petersburg (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.
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 third 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). Under the current autumn-spring calendar, the league takes a three-month winter break from mid-December until mid-March.
The Youth championship (Russian: ? ?), also known as Youth teams championship (Russian: ? ? ), Reserve team tournament (Russian: ) or Reserves tournament (Russian: ), full name Youth football championship of Russia among teams of clubs of the Premier League (Russian: ? ? ? ?-?), 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 sixth in the UEFA coefficient rankings. The best Russian teams in Europe as of November 2018:
|17||FC Zenit Saint Petersburg||68.000|
|31||PFC CSKA Moscow||46.000|
|52||FC Lokomotiv Moscow||26.500|
|82||FC Spartak Moscow||16.000|
|84||FC Dynamo Moscow||16.000|
|120||FC Rubin Kazan||9.676|
The following teams are competing in the 2019-20 season:
|Arsenal Tula||Tula||Arsenal Stadium||20,048|
|CSKA Moscow||Moscow||VEB Arena||30,457|
|Dynamo Moscow||Moscow||VTB Arena||26,700|
|Lokomotiv Moscow||Moscow||Lokomotiv Stadium||27,320|
|Rotor Volgograd||Volgograd||Volgograd Arena||45,568|
|Rubin Kazan||Kazan||Kazan Arena||45,093|
|Spartak Moscow||Moscow||Otkrytiye Arena||44,307|
|Sochi||Sochi||Fisht Olympic Stadium||44,287|
|FC Ural Yekaterinburg||Yekaterinburg||Central Stadium||35,696|
|Zenit Saint Petersburg||Saint Petersburg||Krestovsky Stadium||67,800|
|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)|
|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)
|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 Saint Petersburg||2007, 2010, 2011-12, 2014-15, 2018-19, 2019-20|
|Lokomotiv Moscow||2002, 2004, 2017-18|
|Rubin Kazan||2008, 2009|
|Krylia Sovetov Samara|
UEFA League Ranking at the end of the 2018-19 season:
|4||Zenit Saint Petersburg||24||2||712||334||192||156||1085-680||1247||4||3||4|
|6||Krylya Sovetov Samara||25||3||746||233||207||306||793-971||906||-||-||1|
|10||Spartak 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)|
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.