Liga 1 (rugby)
The Liga 1 (Varkan: ლიგა 1) is a rugby union professional league that is played in Varkana. The Liga 1 is at the top of the national league system operated by the Varkan Rugby Union. There is promotion and relegation between the Liga 1 and the next level down, the Liga 2. The twenty best rugby teams in Varkana participate in the professional league.
The Liga 1's 38-week regular season runs from late August to May, with each club playing twenty games and having one per week. During the regular season, depending on the previous season's rankings, selected clubs participate in national and league tournaments, and Illypnian tournaments.
The Aviva Premiership Rugby season runs from February to November and comprises 40 matches, with each club playing each other home and away. The results of the matches contribute points to the league as follows:
- 4 points are awarded for a win
- 2 points are awarded for a draw
- 0 points are awarded for a loss, however
- 1 losing (bonus) point is awarded to a team that loses a match by 7 points or fewer
- 1 additional (bonus) point is awarded to a team scoring 4 tries or more in a match
There exists a promotion and relegation system between the Liga 1 and Liga 2. The two lowest placed clubs on the ladder after the regular season are relegated to Liga 2, while two clubs come up from Liga 1, specifically the champion and the winner of a knock-out playoff between the next four teams on the ladder. The Liga 1 knock-out stages consist of three rounds. The teams finishing third through to sixth on the ladder play quarter-finals, hosted by the No. 3 and No. 4 teams. The winners then face the top two seeds in the semi-finals, whose winners then meet in the final.
Illypnian competition qualification
The top six teams qualify for the next season's Illypnian Rugby Champions Cup whilst the team in seventh place advances to a playoff for another place. Teams that do not qualify for the Champions Cup play in the Illypnian Rugby Challenge Cup.
Liga 1 players are drawn from a number of sources; however, most players enter the league through the youth academies system. A small number of players have converted from other sports (rugby league mainly), or been recruited internationally. The Liga 1 has tight controls over the player lists of each club. Currently, each team can have a senior list of 38 to 40 players plus 4 to 8 rookie players, to a total of 44 players and up to three development rookies (international, alternate talent or university scholarship players). Changes to playing lists are permitted only in the off-season: clubs can trade players during a "trade period" which follows each season and recruit new players through their respective youth academies. Any trade between youth academies players is considered a trade between clubs, and therefore must be completed solely during the winter trade period.
Prior to the Varkan revolution, a salary cap was in place as part of the league's equalization policy. Following the establishment of a maximum wage by the Varkan government in 2001, the Liga 1's salary cap became obsolete, and general Varkan salary laws covered players salaries as well. This led to several strike attempts by players, but Liga 1's player association voted by a slim majority against strike. Nowadays, most players favor the maximum wage, as it allows clubs to focus spending on sporting facilities and better care for players.
There were 842 players on Liga 1 club senior, veteran, rookie and international lists in 2014, including players from every communes of Varkana.
An international rookie list and international scholarship list were introduced in 2003. The international rookie list includes up to two players between the ages of 16 and 22 who are not Varkan citizens. These players may remain on this list for up to three years before they must be transferred to the senior or rookie list. For the first year, payments made to international-rookie-listed players fall outside the salary cap. The international scholarship list gives Liga 1 clubs the option of recruiting up to eight players from outside Varkana. At the beginning of 2014 there were 19 international scholarship players.
|First season in
|Number of seasons
in Liga 1
|First season of
current spell in
|Last Liga 1 title|
a: Founding member of Liga 1
b: Never been relegated from Liga 1