Ukrainian Premier League Stadiums & Stats

Ukraine Football Pitch Map

The top-flight of Ukrainian football now known as the Ukrainian Premier League was started back in 1991 when the country declared independence from the Soviet Union, although it was called the Vyshcha Liha or Supreme League back then.

It became a member of the Professional Football League of Ukraine in 1996 but was reformed into a self governing entity in 2008 when it was given its current name, withdrawing from the Professional Football League of Ukraine.

In this section of the website we’ll tell you all about the league itself, its history and the sort of football grounds you’d be likely to find if you went to watch a few matches in Ukraine.

Stadium Stats

Stadium Year Opened Capacity Ave Attendance Record Attendance Record Attendance Match
Metalist Stadium
FC Metalist 1925 Kharkiv
1926 40,003 10,124 41,973 Metalist v Tavria (1980)
NSC Olimpiyskiy
Dynamo Kyiv & Shaktar Donesk
1923 70,050 28,931 100,062 Dynamo Kiev v Utrecht 1985

Team Stats

Team Year Founded Nickname Team Owner
Dynamo Kyiv 1927 Ihor Surkis
FC Shakhtar Donetsk 1936 Hirnyky (The Miners), Kroty (The Moles) Rinat Akhmetov

Ukrainian Premier League Stadiums

Football is Ukraine’s most popular sport and this is reflected in the size of some of the stadiums that belong to teams in the Ukrainian Premier League. To suggest that there is a large variation in the type of grounds you’ll find in Ukraine is, to be honest, to understate things by quite some margin.

Olimpiyskiy National Sports Stadium
Валерий Дед [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Dynamo Kyiv, for example, play their home games in the Olimpiyskiy National Sports Stadium, which is the country’s national stadium and can house over 70,000 people. Meanwhile, Olimpik Donetsk play their matches in the nearby Olimpik Sports Complex that can only manage just over 1,500 people. There are a number of grounds with capacities around the 34,000 mark and others that can welcome less than 10,000. In other words, the facilities in Ukraine are best described as ‘mixed’.

About The League

Shakhtar Donetsk Victory
Oleg Dubyna from Poltava, Ukraine [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

There are 48 professional teams that play their football in Ukraine, with twelve of them plying their trade in the Ukrainian Premier League. On first viewing it appears as though the league works in a regular fashion, with all teams playing each other twice: once at home and once away. Three points are awarded for a win, none for a loss and each team gets one point if the match ends in a draw.

At the end of the first stage of the season the league is split in half. The top six teams enter a playoff phase to decide who will be champions and who will be awarded European places. The bottom six teams have a playoff against each to decide who will be relegated. Points from the first phase are carried over into the second phase and the bottom two teams are relegated before being replaced by the winners and runners-up from the Ukrainian First League.

It is usually a two horse race if previous years are anything to go by. The first season was won by Tavriya Simferopol, but since then the top place has been shared by only two teams, Dynamo Kyiv (15 titles) and Shakhtar Donetsk (13 titles).

Ukrainian Premier League History

Old Football Boots Ukraine

The current format was only introduced for the start of the 2016-2017 season. Before that it followed a much more conventional way of operating which was introduced when the league was first formed in 1991. Back then it consisted of all of the teams that were based in Ukraine but had previously been participating in Soviet competitions.

Going back even further, it was in 1921 that the first Ukranian football championship took place, just before the establishment of the Soviet Union. Even that developed from a competition held in the Russian Empire in 1912, although information from that time is scarce. What we do know is that football has been played in this part of the world for well over 100 years, regardless of the political landscape.

In 2008 the Ukrainian top-flight separated itself from the Professional Football League of Ukraine and became an entity of both the Football Federation of Ukraine and the Professional League called the Ukrainian Premier League. Up until 2007 the league had been subsidised by the government and was, therefore, not very profitable. To counter this the league has attracted numerous sponsors over the years.