Soviet Top League

Highest football division (1936 to 1991) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Soviet Top League, known after 1970 as the Higher League (Russian: Чемпионат СССР по футболу: Высшая лига[1]), served as the top division (tier) of Soviet Union football from 1936 until 1991. The league's name was a conditional designation used for brevity since being completely owned and governed by the Football Federation of the Soviet Union. The full official name was USSR Championship in football: Top League. An attempt to create fully professional league as autonomously governed organization during "perestroika" period was denied by Federation due to political culture in the Soviet Union.

Quick facts: Founded, Folded, Country, Confederation, Divi...
Soviet Top League
Высшая лига
Founded22 May 1936 (as Group A)
CountrySoviet Union
Number of teamsVarious
Level on pyramidLevel 1
Relegation toSoviet First League
Domestic cup(s)USSR Cup
USSR Super Cup (unofficial)
League cup(s)USSR Federation Cup
International cup(s)European Cup
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
Last championsCSKA Moscow
Most championshipsFC Dynamo Kyiv (13)
Top goalscorerOleg Blokhin (211)

The professional top level of football competition among clubs was established in 1936 on proposition of Nikolai Starostin and was approved by the All-Union Council of Physical Culture. Originally it was named Group A. After World War II it became known as the First Group. In 1950, after another reform of football in the Soviet Union, the First Group was replaced with Class A. By 1970, the Class A had expanded to three tiers with the top tier known as the Higher Group which in 1971 was renamed into the Higher League.

After the World War II, along with the competition among the first teams also there were conducted official competitions among reserve squads. It carried the name of "Tournament of Doubles" (Turnir doublyorov). The reserve squads' competitions were running parallel to the first teams' competitions normally scheduled a day prior with relegation rule completely depended on the league standing of their respective first team.

The Top League was one of the best football leagues in Europe, ranking second among the UEFA members in 1988–89 seasons. Three of its representatives reached the finals of the European club tournaments on four occasions: FC Dynamo Kyiv, FC Dinamo Tbilisi, and FC Dynamo Moscow. In the same way that the international community widely[by how much?] considers Russia to be the political successor state to the Soviet Union, UEFA considers the Russian Premier League to have succeeded the Soviet Top League.