Soviet First League

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Soviet First League
Country Soviet Union
Founded 1936
Folded 1991
after 52 seasons
Level on pyramid 2
Promotion to Soviet Top League
Relegation to Soviet Second League
Last champions FC Rotor Volgograd (1)
Most championships FC Krylya Sovetov Samara (5)

The Soviet First League was the second highest division of Soviet football, below the Soviet Top League. The division lasted from the inception of Soviet league football in 1936 to the dissolution of the USSR in 1991.


It has been known as Group B, Group 2, Class B, and Class A, group 2 before being renamed First League in 1971. The number of teams playing at this level fluctuated significantly during the history of Soviet football. In 1940s-1970s the league frequently consisted of several groups. The group winners qualified for the final tournament.

  • 1936-1940 Group B (no competition in 1938)
  • 1945-1949 Second Group
  • 1950-1962 Class B
  • 1963-1970 Second Group (Class A)
  • 1971-1991 First League

One unusual feature of the league was one that have taken place before 1989. The Soviet Football Union tried to eliminate the growing amount of drawn games, thus, intensify the competition. The participated clubs were receiving a point for each drawn game, but the amount of all their drawn games could not exceed a third of all their games played. After that they received no points for any further draws that they earned. In 1987, for example, FC Fakel Voronezh was relegated by being short of a point having received no points for their two extra drawn games. [1]

The season's best

The teams that either won its group or participated in play-offs are included as well. All seasons are double-round robin unless otherwise indicated in "Notes".

Season Winner Runners-up Notes
1936 (spring) Dinamo Tiflis ZIS Moscow
Stalinets Leningrad
1936 (autumn) Serp i Molot Moscow Temp Baku
Stalinets Moscow
1937 Spartak Leningrad FC Dynamo Rostov/Don
Temp Baku
1938 not held, part of the Super League
1939 Krylya Sovetov Moscow Lokomotivi Tbilisi
FC Dynamo Rostov/Don
single round robin
1940 Krasnaya Zarya Leningrad FC Spartak Leningrad
Stroitel Yuga Baku
1941-44 no competition due to World War II
1945 Krylya Sovetov Kuybyshev VVS Moscow
FC Moscow Military District
single round robin
1946 VVS Moscow FC Pischevik Moscow Final VVS-Pischevik 3:2 1:0
1947 Lokomotiv Moscow Torpedo Gorkiy
Lokomotyv Kharkiv
final between winners of six groups
1948 Lokomotyv Kharkiv Metallurg Moscow
Dynamo Yerevan
final between winners of six groups
1949 Spartak Tbilisi Kalinin Kaliningrad
Kharchovyk Odessa
final between winners of six groups
1950 VMS Moscow Torpedo Gorkiy
Spartak Vilnius
1951 Kalinin Dinamo Minsk
Lokomotiv Moscow
1952 Lokomotyv Kharkiv Spartak Vilnius
DO Tbilisi
three preliminary groups
1953 Dynamo Minsk Torpedo Gorkiy
Shakhtar Stalino
three preliminary groups
1954 Shakhtar Stalino Spartak Vilnius
Neftchi Baku
three groups
1955 Burevestnik Chisinau
ODO Sverdlovsk
Spartak Kalinin
Spartak Yerevan
two groups, no final
1956 Spartak Minsk
Krylya Sovetov Kuybyshev
Torpedo Taganrog
ODO Tbilisi
two groups, no final
1957 Avangard Leningrad Spartak Stanislawow
SK Military District Tbilisi
four groups
1958 SK Military District Rostov-na-Donu SK Military District Sverdlovsk
SK Black-Sea Fleet Sevastopol
final between winners of six groups
1959 Admiralteets Leningrad Trudovye Reservy Leningrad[1]
Trud Voronezh
seven group winners; final final between winners of four selected groups
1960 Trud Voronezh (RSFSR)
Metalurh Zaporizhzhya (UkrSSR)
Torpedo Kutaisi (other republics)
FC Irtysh Omsk
Sudobudivnyk Mykolaiv
Lokomotivi Tbilisi
nine groups, three final groups
1961 Krylya Sovetov Kuybyshev (RSFSR)
Chornomorets Odessa (UkrSSR)
Torpedo Kutaisi[2] (other republics)
Terek Grozny
SCA Odessa
Lokomotivi Tbilisi
ten groups, three final groups
1962 Spartak Krasnodar (RSFSR)
Trudovye Rezervy Lugansk (UkrSSR)
Shakhtyor Karaganda (other republics)
Trud Voronezh
Chornomorets Odessa
Lokomotiv Gomel
ten groups, three final groups
1963 Shinnik Yaroslavl Torpedo Gorkiy
Trud Voronezh
1964 Lokomotiv Moscow SCA Odessa
Pakhtakor Tashkent
two preliminary groups
1965 Ararat Yerevan Kairat Alma-Aty
Avanhard Kharkiv
two preliminary groups
1966 Zorya Luhansk Žalgiris Vilnius
Politotdel Tashkent
three groups
1967 Dynamo Kirovabad Shakhtar Karaganda
SCA Kyiv
three groups
1968 Uralmash Sverdlovsk Karpaty Lviv
Irtysh Omsk
four groups
1969 Spartak Ordzhonikidze Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
SKA Khabarovsk
five groups
1970 Karpaty Lviv Kairat Alma-Aty
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
1971 Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk Lokomotiv Moscow
Chornomorets Odessa
1972 Pakhtakor Tashkent Shakhtar Donetsk
FC Chornomorets Odessa
1973 Chornomorets Odessa Nistru Kishenev
Lokomotiv Moscow
1974 Lokomotiv Moscow SKA Rostov/Donu
Dinamo Minsk
1975 Krylya Sovetov Kuybyshev Dinamo Minsk
Torpedo Kutaisi
1976 Kairat Almaty Neftchi Baku
Pakhtakor Tashkent
1977 Spartak Moscow Pakhtakor Tashkent
Tavriya Simferopol
1978 Krylya Sovetov Kuybyshev SKA Rostov/Donu
Dinamo Minsk
1979 Karpaty Lviv Kuban Krasnodar
Pamir Dushanbe
1980 Tavriya Simferopol Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
Metalist Kharkiv
1981 Metalist Kharkiv Torpedo Kutaisi
Lokomotiv Moscow
1982 Žalgiris Vilnius Nistru Kishenev
Kolos Nikopol
1983 Kairat Almaty SKA Rostov/Donu
Fakel Voronezh
1984 Fakel Voronezh Torpedo Kutaisi
SKA Karpaty Lviv
1985 Daugava Rīga CSKA Moscow
SKA Karpaty Lviv
two preliminary groups, two final groups
1986 CSKA Moscow Guria Lanchkhuti
Daugava Rīga
1987 Chornomorets Odessa Lokomotiv Moscow
Daugava Rīga
1988 Pamir Dushanbe Rotor Volgograd
CSKA Moscow
1989[3] CSKA Moscow Guria Lanchkhuti
Kairat Alma-Aty
1990[4] Spartak Vladikavkaz Pakhtakor Tashkent
Metalurh Zaporizhia
1991 Rotor Volgograd Tiligul Tiraspol
Uralmash Yekaterinburg
Last season. Russian SFSR clubs form new Russian Top Division with compatriot clubs from Soviet Top League, and other SSR clubs do the same.


  1. Trudovye Reservy were replacing Dynamo Leningrad for several season. Later Dynamo was reinstated in their place.
  2. Torpedo was the winner of one of the two groups. Lokomotivi won the other. No final between them is recorded.
  3. After 1989 season teams from Baltic states (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia) and Georgia withdrew from the Soviet competitions. Only the two pro-Soviet, pro-Russian teams: Pardaugava (Riga) and Dinamo Sukhumi continued to participate.
  4. Four teams were promoted due to withdrawal of several teams prior to this season. The fourth team was Lokomotiv Moscow.