With the Belarusian Premier League the last European football competition still active at the moment, mainly due to the COVID-19 crisis, it’s high time we take a look at the nation’s biggest clubs. Here’s the abridged history of Belarus football.
1. Dinamo Minsk
Dinamo Minsk, is, historically speaking, the biggest team in Belarus. However, in recent years its position at the top has been threatened, chiefly by BATE Borisov.
The Belarusian Premier League is a relatively new competition, having begun in 1992, one year after Belarus announced its independence from the Soviet Union. In 2020, the competition is comprised of 16 teams.
By 1992, the year of the first edition of the domestic league, Dinamo Minsk was already a well-established club. Until then, the Minsk side had been the only team from the Byelorussian Republic to have access to the Soviet Top League. Dinamo even won the Soviet league title in 1982.
Since then, Dinamo has won the Belarus Premier League seven times, the domestic cup on three occasions, and has played in the Europa League and Champions League qualifiers during multiple seasons.
2. BATE Borisov
BATE Borisov has been the more dominant side in Belarus over the past two decades. While they may seem like a relatively young club, BATE, in fact, has a rich history.
The club was founded in the 1970s and found success in the Byelorussian domestic league. They were then disbanded during the 1980s, only reforming in 1996.
Since then, BATE have been the Belarusian Premier League’s best delegates to Europe. The team has gained its place to the Champions League groups several times. Locally, they’ve won 15 Belarus Premier League titles.
3. FC Dynamo Brest
What are the biggest clubs in Belarus? The answer to that question usually includes a mention of Dinamo Minsk and BATE Borisov. But, in terms of support and history, a third challenger may be FC Dynamo Brest, the 2019 Belarus Premier League champions.
The club has been going for 60 years. It started life as Spartak Brest, adopting the current moniker in 1976. Before the start of Belarus Premier League soccer, Brest functioned mainly as a satellite-club for their more significant cousins, Dynamo Minsk.
Seen locally as the workers’ team, Dynamo Brest has the highest level of attendance in the league. One of the best picks for your own viewing of the BPL, which your local TV station may include in 2020, Brest has been quite successful locally in recent years. In 2019 they won the title, while 2017 and 2018 saw them achieve gold status in the cup.
The Belarusian Premier League is certainly one of the more exotic football competitions in Europe. It is, however, a league that has grown at a slow, yet consistent pace since 1992. And, in 2020, it is without a doubt, the most prized football league in Europe as far as many fans are concerned.
* Featured image source: Profimedia, AFP