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Post by Scottish » Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:29 pm

A ten-club top division with teams meeting four times for a total of 180 matches. Estonia is ranked 88th (and last) of all the countries I have details for. However, in truth, it probably has better crowds than those European countries for which I have no details so I have given it 50th position out of fifty-four in UEFA.

Even at that, it is one of just four countries not to have at least one team capable of drawing a four-figure average. The overall average of 263 in the Meistriliiga is comparable to regional fourth levels in Austria and Switzerland

768 Flora
412 Kalju Nömme
320 Tammeka
317 Levadia
209 Sillamäe Kalev
146 Narva Trans
143 Infonet
122 Paide Linnameeskond
117 Johvi Lokomotiv
93 Tallinna Kalev

The bottom club goes down and second last into a play-off. In theory the champions of the level two Esiliiga are promoted automatically and the runners-up face a play-off against second last in the top division. In practice that seldom happens – in that way at least – as the second level contains a number of reserves sides which are ineligible for promotion. However, in sharp distinction to Scotland in the days when a 10,000 all-seated stadium was a requirement for promotion, the Estonians simply move down a place until they find an eligible club. Hence last season the third placed club were automatically promoted and the fifth (of ten, the format being exactly the same as the top league) were granted a play-off place, which they won on away goals.

Unsurprisingly, Estonia also has the lowest average attendance for second level clubs which, considering the number of reserve teams, maybe isn’t surprising – though they are narrowly behind Armenia where the second level consists entirely of reserve teams. The average of 82 is a few shy of the South West Peninsula Premier League at England’s level ten. Oddly enough the best supported side was one of the relegated teams.

157 Vandra Vaprus
141 Parnu Linnameeskond
113 Viljandi Tulevik
105 Kuressaare
103 Rakvere Tarvas
84 Irbis Kivioli
68 Kalju Nömme II
49 Flora II
39 Puuma
33 Levadia II

Once again there’s a generous system of promotion and relegation. The bottom pair drop down automatically and the third last – eighth of ten – goes into a play-off against the third in the Esiliiga B, the third level and last with a national structure. The top two go up from here and the third goes into the play-off. There are no restrictions on reserve teams gaining promotion from this level.

As you’d expect, crowds here are at a minuscule level. The average is just 66, the same as you’d get in the second levels (and tenth in the national structure) of the Eastern Counties or Western Leagues. Top club Elva’s figures are a little less than the average gate at North Shields. And the combined total for the season for the worst supported clubs is similar to one match at Annan Athletic.

260 Elva
103 Santos Tartu
55 Maardu
54 Sillamäe Kalev II
43 Jarve
34 Legion
33 Infonet II
27 Ararat
25 Flora III
25 HUJK Emmaste

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Post by Swampy » Wed Jul 01, 2015 2:09 am

Was reading about a team who lost 36-0 to top flight Infonet Tallinn in the Cup the other week. Meet Virtsu Jalgpalliklubi of the Rahvaliiga (translates as the Peoples' League or Public League... Public House league would be just as appropriate):

Apparently they're capitalizing on their notoriety with extra Facebook likes, but they also have a website that, amazingly, lists attendance data in each match report.

They don't have a league table, so I had to dig to find what level of the competition they're actually in. They're in the 'A' tournamet, which is the top level of non-league football and the seventh overall:

(By the way, can I say what a pleasure it was to run the Rahvaliiga 'A' page through Google Translate? According to Google, there are teams in Estonia named 'FC Turf', 'heath in the pub', 'Hospital Football', 'Good Old Well', 'Gun SK', and the peerless 'JK Spicy Ruffle'.)

Most of these grounds barely look fenced so whether or not there's a charge at the gate is anyone's guess but either way, here are their attendances. The ones that aren't league games could have been in local tournaments or friendlies - not sure.

Virtsu 4-3 Haapsalu II 145 (Friendly?)
Lihula 7-1 Virtsu 79 (Friendly?)
Virtsu 1-2 Tori 25 League
Raama Zenit 4-5 Virtsu 26 League
Virtsu 10-0 Haapsalu Utd 8 League
Vatla 12-3 Virtsu 48 League
Kohila 3-1 Virtsu 35 (Friendly?)
Nirvana 6-1 Virtsu 31 (Friendly?)
Virtsu 4-3 Tahkuranna 21 (Friendly)
Valmieras 3-1 Virtsu 29 (this was an amateur tournament in Latvia... apparently Valmiera is a glassworks)

Quite interesting that they can manage 48 for a league game and 145 for a friendly, even if I imagine 8-30 is more along the standard lines.

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