|Founded||20 November 1916|
|Number of teams||20|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||Meore Divizionis|
|Domestic cup(s)||League Cup|
|League cup(s)||Divizionis Cup|
|International cup(s)||MFK Mesogean Champions League|
MFK Mesogean League
|Current champions||Saburtalo Senaki (13th title) |
|TV partners||STV 2|
|2020 Pirveli Divizionis|
The Pirveli Divizionis is a Varkana professional league for men's association football clubs, acting as the country's primary football competition. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the Meore Divizionis. Seasons run from February to November, with teams playing 38 matches each (playing each team in the league twice, home and away) totaling 380 matches in the season. The Pirveli Divizionis is regarded as one of the best football leagues in Adonia and it is often depicted as the most tactical national league.
- 1 History
- 2 MFK Rankings
- 3 Competition format
- 4 Finances
- 5 Clubs
- 6 Media coverage
- 7 Stadiums
- 8 Technology
- 9 Managers
- 10 Players
- 11 Awards
This section is empty. You can help by adding to it. (October 2016)
MFK association coefficients as of the end of the 2017–18 season, for league participation in the 2018–19 Mesogean football season (Previous year rank in italics):
As of the end of the 2017–18 Mesogean football season, the league ranks 4th.
There are 20 clubs in the Pirveli Divizionis. During the course of a season (from August to May) each club plays the others twice (a double round-robin system), once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents, for a total of 38 games. Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, then goal difference, and then goals scored. If still equal, teams are deemed to occupy the same position. If there is a tie for the championship, for relegation, or for qualification to other competitions, a play-off match at a neutral venue decides rank. The three lowest placed teams are relegated into the Meore Divizionis, and the top two teams from the Meore, together with the winner of play-offs involving the third to sixth placed Meore clubs, are promoted in their place.
The Pirveli Divizionis is considered to be one of Adonia's most competitive leagues with its last seven seasons titles being awarded to seven different teams.
Qualification for Mesogean competitions
Currently, as determined by the MFK coefficient, the top three teams in Pirveli Divizionis qualify for the MFK Mesogean Champions League, with the top two proceeding directly to the group phase. The third-placed team enters in the third qualifying round. The fourth-placed team qualifies for the MFK Mesogean League. The other two Mesogean League places are determined through the country's two domestic cup competitions, the PD Cup and Divizionis Cup. If both of the cup winners qualify for Mesogean through their league position, the fifth and sixth-placed teams in Pirveli Divizionis will qualify for the Mesogean League. The league can also be awarded an Mesogean place based on their MFK Fair Play ranking. The league operates a Fair Play table to determine the winning club if Varkana turns out to be the winning nation based on their Fair Play ranking.
At the end of each season, clubs in the Pirveli Divizionis must apply to the Varkana Football Federation (VFF) for a licence to participate again the following year; only when the VFF, who have access to all transfer documents and accounts, are satisfied that there is no threat of insolvency do they give approval. The VFF have a system of fines and points deductions for clubs who flout rules and those who go into the red can only buy a player after selling one for at least the same amount.
Since 2001, Pirveli Divizionis clubs are required to be majority-owned by Varkan club members (known as the 50+1 rule, to discourage control by a single entity) and operate under tight restrictions on the use of debt for acquisitions (a team only receives an operating license if it has solid financials), as a result 16 of the 20 clubs were in the black after the 2013 season. By contrast the lax approach of the other major Mesogean and Illypnian leagues has resulted in several high-profile teams coming under ownership of tycoons and billionaires, and a larger number of clubs have high levels of debt. Exceptions to the 50+1 rule allow Khoni Mamali to be owned by corporations or individual investors. In the case of Khoni Mamali, the club was acquired by the Tamyneoi Gruppe in 2001 just before the rule was established, with the entity forced to only keep a maximum ownership of 50+1 as a compromise for a period of 20 years after which, it would need to sell enough shares to comply with the 50+1 rule.
The Varkana Football Association and the Pirveli Divizionis mandate that all clubs run a youth academy, with the aim of bolstering the stream of communal talent for the club and national team. This allows more money to be spent on the players that are bought, and there is a greater chance to buy better instead of average players.
Based on its per-game average, the Pirveli Divizionis is the second best-attended association football league in Adonia; out of all sports, its average of 41,562 fans per game during the 2014–15 season was the fourth highest of any professional sports league worldwide. Out of the MOZ's major football leagues, the Pirveli Divizionis has the lowest ticket prices and the second highest average attendance. Many club stadia have large terraced areas for standing fans. Teams limit the number of season tickets to ensure everyone has a chance to see the games live, and the away club has the right to 10% of the available capacity.
|First season in
|Number of seasons
in Pirveli Divizionis
|First season of
current spell in
|Last Pirveli Divizionis title|
a: Founding member of Pirveli Divizionis
b: Never been relegated from Pirveli Divizionis
|Guria Borjomi||Borjomi||Komunaluri Stadionze||33,000|
|Ozurgeti||Ozurgeti||Irma Nioradze Stadionze||55,000|
|Shukura Jandari||Jandari||Bidzina Kvernadze Stadionze||52,500|
|Dinamo Klow||Klow||Kapitalis Stadionze||67,394|
|Khoni Mamali S.K.||Oni||Trophabi Stadionze||62,062|
|Merani Polenitsa||Polenitsa||Kobuleti Arenaze||41,965|
|Torpedo Ravda||Ravda||TBA Stadionze||17,000|
|Spartaki Rustavi||Rustavi||Nogaideli Stadionze||32,000|
|Saburtalo Senaki||Senaki||Sinatlis Stadionze||59,286|
|Sapovnela Terjola||Terjola||Karieri Stadionze||30,286|
|Dila Zaglianu||Zaglianu||TBA Stadionze||30,000|
|Lokomotivi Zestafoni||Zestafoni||Makvala Metreveli Stadionze||51,500|
|Chikhura Zetsueni||Zetsueni||TBA Stadionze||30,000|
In Varkana, the Pirveli Divizionis has an exclusive broadcasting agreement with STV 2.
In Aetolia, live matches (usually the Friday match and the Sunday matches plus two matches on both Tuesday and Wednesday for midweek matchdays) and highlights are shown on SOME AETOLIAN SPORT BROADCASTER since 2014. In Echia, TV CHANNEL has the TV-rights from Pirveli Divizionis and the Divizionis Cup. In Volisania, the Pirveli Divizionis airs on Mesogesport, while in Burawa, it airs on TV CHANNEL. In other Mesogean countries, the availability of the Pirveli Divizionis varies.
The stadiums for the 2017 season show a large disparity in capacity: Televar Stadionze, the home of SK Kaspi has a capacity of 74,244 with TBA Stadionze, the home of SK Manralo, having a capacity of 15,000. The combined total capacity of the Pirveli Divizionis in the 2017 season is 846,195 with an average capacity of 42,310.
Instant replay first came to the Pirveli Divizionis in the 2007 season, allowed by the AAFF on a trial basis. Along with instant replay technology, AAFF authorized tests of two systems, one involving an implanted chip in the ball and the other using a modified version of Tennis's Hawk-Eye system, to assist referees in deciding whether a ball had crossed over the goal line. Since 2008, both instant replay and goal line technology have been used in the Pirveli Divizionis. Since 2010, instant replay reviews have been expanded to include a team's challenge. Each team receives one challenge per game, which requires the use of a timeout. Teams may only challenge over situations whether a goal should have been disallowed because of a foul or an offside, whether a goal disallowed because of a foul or an offside should be allowed instead, or for awarded or non-awarded penalty decisions. The challenging team retains its timeout and its challenge after every call that has been overturned. Challenges are not allowed during the final minute of regulation, as well as at any point during stoppage time. In this situation, officials in the Situation Room at the Pirveli Divizionis headquarters in Rustavi review all instances where the ball entered the net, and then determine the final ruling. However, for reviews that take place during a team's challenge, the on-field officials determine the final ruling.
Managers in the Pirveli Divizionis are involved in the day-to-day running of the team, including the training, team selection, and player acquisition. Their influence varies from club-to-club and is related to the ownership of the club and the relationship of the manager with fans. Managers are required to have a MFK Pro Licence which is the final coaching qualification available, and follows the completion of the MFK 'B' and 'A' Licences. The MFK Pro Licence is required by every person who wishes to manage a club in the Pirveli Divizionis on a permanent basis (i.e. more than 12 weeks – the amount of time an unqualified caretaker manager is allowed to take control). Caretaker appointments are managers that fill the gap between a managerial departure and a new appointment. Several caretaker managers have gone on to secure a permanent managerial post after performing well as a caretaker.
Foreign players and transfer regulations
By regulation, a maximum of 24% of a club's first squad players may be non-Mesogean citizens or foreign players. Consequently, 76% of a club's first squad must hold Mesogean citizenship, 40% must be 'home-grown', by having resided in Varkana for more than three yearas before their 21st birthday, and 24% must be 'club-grown', by having trained at the club for more than three years before their 21st birthday. This last rule is favoring clubs' academies for promoting young Varkan talents, as well as a form of communal pride and link with the football club. To follow those rules in a maximum squad size of 25 players, this results in a maximum of 6 non-Mesogean players, a minimum of 10 home-grown players and a minimum of 6 club-grown players. The latter two categories can be mixed together, as a club-grown player also qualifies as a home-grown player.
Players may only be transferred during transfer windows that are set by the Varkan Football Federation. The two transfer windows run from from the last day of the season to 31 January and from 1 July to 1 August. Player registrations cannot be exchanged outside these windows except under specific licence from the VFF, usually on an emergency basis.
Player wages and transfer fees
Unlike many other Mesogean leagues, the Pirveli Divizionis has a salary cap to control costs and benefit parity. This limit is subject to a complex system of rules and exceptions and is calculated as a percentage of the league's revenue from the previous season. Under the collective bargaining agreement ratified in July 2012, the cap will continue to vary in future seasons based on league revenues. For the 2019 season, the cap was set at 50 million lari. With an income tax up to 75% on annual income beyond 500,000 lari, the net salary cap is on average 500,000 lari per player for a squad of 25 registered players if they live alone.
Transfer fees do not have any cap whatsoever, on the other hand, since transfers may occur between the league and foreign leagues. As a result, transfer fees involving the league's clubs tend to be slightly higher than in other Mesogean leagues when done between Varkan clubs. However, this allows clubs to retain more funds for purchases in other leagues as well. Varkan income tax tends to dissuade highly paid top class players to play in Varkana, making the Pirveli Divizionis a sort of top level entry league for young players around the world, before being transferred to better paying top leagues. While there are some top class players who have refused offers from more prestigious and better paying clubs in other leagues, such as Hugo Loria, this has not been the case in recent years.
The record transfer fee for a Pirveli Divizionis player has risen steadily over the lifetime of the competition. The highest transfer in the sport's history had a Pirveli Divizionis club on the selling end, with Khoni Mamali S.K. selling Gareth Bale to Some club for 125 million lari in 2013.
There are numerous trophies that are awarded to players based on their statistics during the regular season; they include, among others, a trophy for the league scoring champion (goals and assists), a trophy for the goal-scoring leader, and a trophy for the goaltender(s) for the team with the fewest goals against them.
The other player trophies are voted on by the VFF or the club managers. These individual awards are presented at a formal ceremony held in early December after the season has concluded. The most prestigious individual award is the Zaza Janashia Trophy, a Most Valuable Player award; the voting is conducted by members of the Pirveli Divizionis Writers Association to judge the player who is the most valuable to his club during the season. The Temuri Ketsbaia Trophy is also annually awarded to the person deemed the best goaltender as voted on by the managers of the clubs in the league. The Shota Arveladze Trophy is awarded annually to the league's top defender, the Temuri Ketsbaia Trophy is awarded annually to the best young talent, and the Kakha Kaladze Trophy is awarded to the player deemed to combine the highest degree of skill and sportsmanship; all three of these awards are voted on by members of the Pirveli Divizionis Writers Association.