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Post by Scottish » Fri Jan 30, 2015 11:18 am

There’s plenty to play for in the sixteen-team Russian Premier League which is organised on the traditional system of playing each other twice for thirty games per team and 240 overall. Six teams qualify for Europe at one end and at the other two go down automatically and two into the play-offs. That leaves just six teams unaffected by the season’s end and there’s a good chance some of them will have been involved at either end until close to the finish. The league risks losing 25% of its clubs each season to relegation and is a good, competitive system.

Which makes it perplexing that attendances aren’t higher than they are. The average of 11,499 makes Russia the 18th best supported league in the world and 9th highest in Europe. But Russia is, by a considerable margin and despite a seriously declining birth rate, the most populated country in Europe (144M to Germany and Turkey’s approximate 80M) and ninth in the world. So it’s difficult to understand why a country with a long football tradition should be 500 per game behind Belgium and a whacking 8,000 adrift of the Netherlands, not to mention being only a little over 1,000 in front of Switzerland, Scotland and Portugal.

Yes, I know there are often huge distances involved in travel (though nowhere near as much as in the days of the Soviet Supreme League) and that makes it next to impossible for away fans to follow their team but Moscow is the second biggest city in Europe (biggest if you exclude the Asian segment of Istanbul) and only London separates Moscow from St Petersburg in population yet champions CSKA Moscow draw fewer than 10,000 and the four Moscow teams in the Premier League combined average a little over 40,000 – in other words about one Chelsea home game. Zenit have St Petersburg all to themselves and can’t even manage 20,000 on a regular basis. Zenit however have the best crowds in Russia yet they stand a lowly 185th in the world – less than a hundred ahead of Brazil’s Fortaleza, a third tier team! The highest crowd all season was just 30,527 and the lowest a dire 443. The one saving grace as far as crowds are concerned is that unlike the leagues close to it in averages no Russian team had an average of under 5,000.

18952 Zenit St Petersburg
18019 Terek Grozny
13819 Kuban Krasnodar
13673 Anzhi Makhachkala
13156 FK Ural
12831 Lokomotiv Moscow
11880 Krylya Sovetov
11570 FK Krasnodar
11527 Rostov
11183 Spartak Moscow
10807 Amkar Perm
9593 CSKA Moscow
7826 Dynamo Moscow
7388 Rubin Kazan
6303 Volga Nizhniy Novgorod
5420 Tom Tomsk

The second level National Football League has an even greater geographical spread – from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok via Siberia. Financial problems saw two clubs withdraw during the winter break and one club even volunteered for relegation despite finishing in mid-table. There was an uneven number (nineteen) to start with. However the season proceeded as normally as possible with two up, two into the play-offs and four relegated – even if one of them finished tenth!

Unlike the Ukraine, no records were expunged so I have included the withdrawn teams in the averages. The overall average of 3,392 was 15th in the rankings. The highest crowd was 16,800 and the lowest 150.

11087 Arsenal Tula
6656 Khimik Dzershinsk
5456 Rotor Volgograd
4870 Alania Vladikavkaz
4594 Luch-Energiya Vladivostok
4388 Baltika Kaliningrad
3278 Gazovik Orenburg
3083 Mordovia Saransk
3011 SKA-Energiya Khabarovsk
2916 Yenisey Krasnoyarsk
2700 Ufa
2642 Salyut Belgorod
2400 Shinnik Yaroslavl
2216 Sibir Novosibirsk
1611 Torpedo Moscow
1597 Angusht Nazran
1429 Spartak Nalchik
1306 Dynamo St Petersburg
666 Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk

Understandably, the third level Russian Professional League is split into five regions with the winners of each gaining promotion and last in each dropping down to amateur level.

Numbers in the regions vary but last season the largest the South with eighteen teams playing each other twice for thirty-four games and 306 in all. Highest crowd was 3,500 and the average 833.

In the West there were seventeen teams playing each other twice, thirty-two games each and 272 in all. Highest gate was 7,800 and the average 1,131. The Centre had sixteen teams, playing each other twice, thirty games each, 240 in total. Best crowd was an impressive 11,500 and the average was 1,874.

The Ural-Povolzhe region had twelve teams playing each other three times with fourteen home games for half the division and thirteen for the other half and 162 games in all. The highest gate was 7,000 and the average 1,227

The East region also played each other three times but contained just nine teams. Every team played twelve home and away fixtures for a total of 108 in the league. The best was 5,100 and the average 1,834.

Deciphering from Cyrillic script wasn’t the easiest of tasks and somewhere along the line I have misplaced the lowest crowds for each of these divisions. But if you look at the lowest average in each division then obviously the worst gate will be somewhat below that figure.

There were in total 1,088 matches played at this level and I have no intention of going through them all again to find what are probably estimated figures saying fifty for their lowest gates in each region.

2229 Chernomorets Novorossiysk
1624 Volgar Astrakhan
1507 FC Astrakhan
1539 Torpedo Armavir
1047 SKVO Rostov-on-Don
806 Vityaz Krymsk
762 Taganrog
744 MITOS Novocherkassk
706 Energiya Volzhskiy
659 Krasnodar 2
613 Mashuk-KMV Pyatigorsk
518 Olimpia Volgograd
506 Biolog-Novokubanls Progress
468 Gazprom transgaz Stavropol Ryzdvyany
426 Druzhba Maykop
421 Terek Grozny 2
391 Alania-d Vladikavkaz
200 Dagdizel Kaspiysk

4394 Tekstilshchik Ivanovo
1719 Torpedo Vladimir
1672 Dnepr Smolensk
1623 Kolomna
1400 Tosno
1356 Pskov-747
1009 Sever Murmansk
978 Dolgoprudny
838 Volga Tver
825 Spartak Kostroma
802 Khimki
711 Vologda
609 Znamya Truda Orekhovo-Zuyevo
331 Lokomotiv Moscow 2
331 Zenit St Petersburg 2
319 Rus St Petersburg
313 Strogino Moscow

6613 Fakel Voronezh
5107 Sokol Saratov
2707 Dynamo Bryansk
1967 Avangard Kursk
1813 Metallurg Lipetsk
1743 Oryol
1530 Lokomotiv Lipski
1527 Tambov
1373 Metallurg Vyksa
1157 Zenit Penza
1147 Vityaz Podolsk
1000 Kaluga
867 Metallurg-Oskol Stary Oskol
753 Zvezda Ryazan
363 Podolye Podolsky district
310 Spartak Moscow 2

2779 Volga Ulyanovsk
2350 Spartak Yoshkar-Ola
1821 Tyumen
1458 Syzran-2003 Syzran
1314 Lada-Togliatti Togliatti
1192 Zenit-Izhevsk Izhevsk
1143 KAMAZ Naberezhnye Chelny
846 Chelyabinsk
681 Dynamo Kirov
541 Nostra Novotroitsk
321 Oktan Perm
235 Rubin Kazan 2

3300 Chita
3000 Amur-2010 Blagoveshchensk
2408 Irtysh Omsk
2375 Smena Komsomolsk-na-Amure
1558 Sibiryak Bratsk
1438 Sakhalin Yuzhno-Sakalinsk
1175 Yakutiya Yakutsk
1029 Baikal Irkutsk
225 Sibir Novosibirsk 2

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