The Azerbaijan Premier League (Topaz Premyer Liqası) is a growing league and it recently replaced Finnish Veikkausliiga in the 32nd place on the UEFA country ranking.
Before recent changes in player restrictions it was a popular destination for foreign players from all around the world while nowadays more and more local players are given a fairer chance.
Azerbaijan Premier League, fully named Topaz Premyer Liqası after its main sponsor, is the top division in Azerbaijani club football. It was founded in 1992 and it runs under UEFA Confederation.
Topaz Premyer Liqası – Azerbajian
Number of teams: 10
Domestic cup: Azerbaijan Cup, Azerbaijan Supercup
Current champions: Qarabağ FK
Transfer window (2015) 5th January – 2nd February 2015
Season duration: August – May
Number of allowed foreign players (per team): max. 6
Number of foreign players: 89
Average stadium attendances: 1,608
The competition format follows the usual double round-robin format. During the course of a season, which lasts from August to May, each club plays every other club four times, twice at home and twice away, for a total of 36 games. The club who finishes last is relegated to the First Division while its champion joins the Premier League.
There are 10 clubs competing for the title in the league while since its inception, 8 were able to win it. Neftchi Baku is by far the most successful team having won it eight times, followed by Kapaz and Shamkir who hold three titles to their name respectively. The current champions Qarabag have won it twice.
The season runs from 9th August to 28th May. Clubs are able to sign players in two transfer windows with the winter one lasting through all of January and the summer one stretching from June 10th to August 31st. Not too long ago clubs were allowed to have an unlimited number of foreign players on their team but this has changed in the last years.
89 foreign players (21 Brazilians)
Teams are allowed to have a maximum of 6 foreign players on their squad are now required to have at least 5 home-grown players where at least one has to be under the age of 21. This gives the club youth a higher chance of making it to the main team. There are currently 89 foreign players in the league which accounts for more than 34% of all players with the number rising every year. The most, 21, come from Brazil, followed by Georgia.
The most of the transfers happen inside the Topaz Premyer Liqası: 47% while players from abroad most often come from Turkey (11%) and aforementioned Brazil (10%). For the outgoing transfers the most likely destination is Turkey (23%), followed by Georgia (10%).
There are quite a few players from The Azerbaijan Premier League on Fieldoo. One of them is Etto who plays for FC Baku had this to say: “The league is at a fairly high standard when it comes to technique and tactical knowledge but there is room for improvement in the physical fitness. They have recently restricted the number of foreigners allowed on teams which increased the number of local players given a chance but it also caused a slight decrease in the overall quality of the league.”
Life-style in Azerbajian
Country population: 9,494,600
Average salary (€): 430 / month
Tax rate (gross vs net): 14%, 25%
National currency: Manat (AZN) = 1.02€ = 1.27$
Average temperature, humidity & rainfall during the season: 12 C, 73,5%, 18,5mm
Food: Fish, mutton and beef, vegetables and greens, rice, fresh herbs
Most popular sports: Football, wrestling, chess
Transport (domestic flights): Domestic flights between major cities (cca. 1 hour)
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