Football in Estonia
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|Football in Estonia|
|National team(s)||men's national team|
Football in Estonia is governed by the Estonian Football Association (Eesti Jalgpalli Liit). The EJL controls the domestic club championships (Meistriliiga, II liiga, III liiga, IV liiga; Naiste Meistriliiga, Naiste Esiliiga, Naiste II liiga), the Estonian Cup, Estonian SuperCup, Estonian Small Cup and the national teams (Estonia national football team, Estonia women's national football team, all youth teams).
The Estonian football league system is a series of interconnected leagues for club football in Estonia. Reserve teams play in the same league pyramid as their senior teams, but as in most other leagues, cannot be promoted to the same division. The system has a hierarchical format with promotion and relegation between leagues at different levels, and allows even the smallest club to dream of rising to the very top of the system. An additional league, Esiliiga B, was added between Esiliiga and II Liiga for the 2013 season. In 2013 there were 145 teams in 12 leagues, although the exact number of clubs varies from year to year as clubs join and leave leagues or fold altogether.
- Meistriliiga – Top division, consists of Professional, Semi-professional and Amateur club sides.
- Esiliiga – Second tier of Estonian club football, consists of Amateur and Reserve clubs. Winner wins automatic promotion to the top division, runner up plays in the promotion/relegation play-off.
- Esiliiga B – Third tier of Estonian club football, consists of Amateur and Reserve clubs. Winner wins automatic promotion to the second division, runner up plays in the promotion/relegation play-off.
- II Liiga – Fourth level of Estonian club football consists of two regional divisions – North/East and South/West, winners of each division win automatic promotion to the Esiliiga B.
- III Liiga – Fifth level of Estonian club football is divided into four regional divisions – North, East, South and West. Winners of every division win automatic promotion to II Liiga.
- IV Liiga – Sixth level of Estonian League pyramid is divided into four divisions – North/East, South and North/West.
- Estonian Cup – an annual knock-out competition for all clubs, which, unlike league competitions, follows the autumn–spring season.
- Estonian Small Cup – an annual knock-out competition for clubs from II Liiga and lower, follows the autumn–spring season.
- Estonian Supercup – annual season opener between last season's Meistriliiga and Estonian Cup winners.
The league system
The table below shows the current structure of the system. For each division, its official name, its name in English and number of clubs is given. Each division promotes to the division(s) that lie directly above it and relegates to the division(s) that lie directly below it.
|↓↑ 1-2 clubs|
|↓↑ 2-3 clubs|
|↓↑ 2-3 clubs|
|↓↑ 4-6 clubs|
|↓↑ 8-12 clubs|
The Estonia national football team took part in the qualifying campaigns for the 1934 and 1938 FIFA World Cups in Italy and France respectively. In 1940–1991 Estonia could not participate in international competitions because it was part of the Soviet Union. After the reindependence, from the 1994 FIFA World Cup, in all qualifying campaigns for both the World and European Championships, although they have, so far, failed to qualify for any major competition. The country has given the international goalkeeper star Mart Poom. Estonia advanced to the UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying play-offs against the Republic of Ireland.
Estonia's highest FIFA ranking (47th) came in March 2012.
- Estonia national football team
- Estonia women's national football team
- Estonian Footballer of the Year
- Estonian Cup
- Estonian SuperCup
- List of active football clubs in Estonia
- Estonian County Competition
- Eesti 2011. aasta täiskasvanute meistrivõistlustel osaleb 164 võistkonda (in Estonian)
- "Esiliiga B-tasand suurendab tõsiste klubide arvu ja aitab noori" (in Estonian). Postimees. 28 November 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
- "Jalgpalli meistrivõistlustel osaleb rekordarv võistkondi" (in Estonian). Estonian Football Association. 7 March 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2013.