AFFA Region Liqası: Həvəskarlar üçün futbolun zirvəsi
What is AFFA Region Liqası and Why You Should Care About It
If you are a fan or a player of football in Azerbaijan, you have probably heard of AFFA Region Liqası. But what exactly is it? How does it work? And why is it important for Azerbaijani football? In this article, we will answer these questions and more.
affa region liqası
AFFA Region Liqası is the third tier of football in the Azerbaijani football league system. It is run by the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan (AFFA), which is the governing body of football in Azerbaijan. It represents Azerbaijan in international football competitions.
The Region Liqası was established in 2017 to provide a platform for amateur and semi-professional teams from different regions of Azerbaijan to compete with each other. It aims to develop grassroots football, increase participation and interest, raise standards and quality, and promote fair play and sportsmanship.
The Region Liqası is not only a competition but also a community. It connects players, clubs, fans, officials, sponsors, media, and other stakeholders who share a passion for football. It showcases the diversity, talent, culture, and potential of Azerbaijani football.
The History of AFFA Region Liqası
The Early Period (Before the 1920s)
The history of football in Azerbaijan dates back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when the sport was introduced by British oil workers and merchants who settled in Baku. The first official football match in Azerbaijan was played in 1905 between two teams of British expatriates. Soon, local teams were formed by Azerbaijani students, workers, and merchants who learned the game from the British. The first Azerbaijani team was Neftchi Baku, which was founded in 1906 by oil workers. Other teams that emerged in this period were Sabail, Araz, and Turan.
In 1912, the first unofficial football tournament between Azerbaijani and Georgian teams was held in Tbilisi. The tournament was organized by the Caucasian Muslim Charity Society, which aimed to promote cultural and sporting ties between the two nations. The tournament was won by Neftchi Baku, which defeated Dinamo Tbilisi 4-2 in the final. The tournament was repeated in 1914 and 1916, with Neftchi Baku winning both times.
The Soviet Era (1920s-1991)
After the establishment of Soviet rule in Azerbaijan in 1920, football became a popular and regulated sport under the auspices of the Soviet sports authorities. The first official football championship of Azerbaijan was held in 1928, with eight teams participating. The championship was won by Stroitel Baku, which later became known as PFC Neftchi Baku.
During the Soviet era, Azerbaijani football developed rapidly, producing many famous players and referees who represented Azerbaijan and the Soviet Union in national and international competitions. Some of the most notable names include Anatoliy Banishevskiy, Alakbar Mammadov, Kazbek Tuayev, Agaselim Mirjavadov, Tofiq Bahramov, and Khagani Mammadov.
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However, Azerbaijani football also faced many challenges and difficulties under the Soviet system. Azerbaijani clubs and national teams often suffered from discrimination, corruption, and political interference from Moscow. Azerbaijani players and coaches were frequently denied opportunities to play or work abroad. Azerbaijani fans were subjected to violence and repression by the Soviet security forces. Azerbaijani football also suffered from the lack of adequate infrastructure, facilities, and funding.
The Modern Era (1992-Present)
After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the restoration of independence in 1991, Azerbaijani football entered a new era of development and transformation. In 1992, AFFA was founded as the governing body of football in Azerbaijan. AFFA became a member of FIFA and UEFA in 1994 and 1996 respectively.
In 1992, AFFA organized the first national football league of independent Azerbaijan, with 23 teams participating. The league was won by Qarabağ Ağdam, which became the first champion of Azerbaijan.
In 2017, AFFA established the Region Liqası as the third tier of football in Azerbaijan. The Region Liqası replaced the previous Second Division, which had been running since 1997. The Region Liqası was designed to provide more opportunities for amateur and semi-professional teams from different regions of Azerbaijan to compete with each other and develop their skills and potential.
The Structure and Format of AFFA Region Liqası
The Divisions and Zones
The Region Liqası is divided into five zones based on geographical regions of Azerbaijan. Each zone has its own teams and stadiums. The zones are as follows:
Number of Teams
Baku and Absheron
Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic
The teams in each zone play against each other in a double round-robin format, meaning that each team plays every other team in its zone twice, once at home and once away. The teams are awarded three points for a win, one point for a draw, and zero points for a loss. The teams are ranked by points, and then by goal difference, and then by goals scored.
The Promotion and Relegation System
The Region Liqası is connected to the higher and lower levels of football in Azerbaijan through a promotion and relegation system. This system allows teams to move up or down between the leagues depending on their performance and results.
The top two teams in each zone at the end of the season qualify for the promotion play-offs, where they compete with each other for four spots in the First Division, which is the second tier of football in Azerbaijan. The promotion play-offs are played in a single round-robin format, meaning that each team plays every other team once. The top four teams are promoted to the First Division, while the bottom six teams remain in the Region Liqası.
The bottom two teams in each zone at the end of the season are relegated to the Amateur League, which is the fourth tier of football in Azerbaijan. The Amateur League consists of regional amateur teams that play in local tournaments. The top two teams in each regional tournament qualify for the relegation play-offs, where they compete with each other for ten spots in the Region Liqası. The relegation play-offs are played in a single round-robin format, meaning that each team plays every other team once. The top ten teams are promoted to the Region Liqası, while the bottom ten teams remain in the Amateur League.
The Season and Schedule
The Region Liqası season runs from September to May, with a winter break from December to February. Each team plays 22 matches in total, 11 at home and 11 away. The matches are usually played on Saturdays or Sundays, with some exceptions for national holidays or other events.
The Benefits and Challenges of AFFA Region Liqası
The Benefits for Players and Clubs
Participating in the Region Liqası can bring many benefits for players and clubs, such as:
Gaining exposure, experience, and opportunities. The Region Liqası can help players and clubs showcase their skills and potential to a wider audience, gain valuable experience of playing in different conditions and against different opponents, and seize opportunities to advance to higher levels of football or join national teams.
Improving skills and fitness. The Region Liqası can help players and clubs improve their technical, tactical, physical, and mental skills and fitness by providing them with regular and competitive matches, training sessions,