An unhindered Belarus rolls on

With the rumoured return of the German Bundesliga, let’s turn our attention to Belarus, home of the one league that never stopped in the first place.

The Vysheyshaya Liga might not ring any bells in the minds of football fans, though BATE Borisov just might.

From their outings in the Champions or Europa Leagues, the Belorussian side has endured little international success. The 15-time domestic champions’ most significant claims to fame in Europe come in the form of results rather than progression.

Famed draws and victories in the UCL against big names like Juventus and Bayern Munich remain etched in Borisov’s history books, regardless of regular demotions or eliminations from the competition.


However, past achievements are not of current importance, instead, those of the league are. Belarus currently boasts the title of being the only football league in Europe to continue playing league fixtures despite the disruptions caused by the ongoing COVID-19 virus.

Due to the low number of victims to the pandemic, it’s business as usual in the country famed for its beautiful women, prior association Russia, and the Chernobyl disaster.

The formation of the first Belorussian league began in 1992, with former Soviet Top League side Dinamo Minsk the primary participants. The division continued to grow year on year until now, where 16 sides form the championship.

Perhaps, in a time where there’s no other football or sport to turn to, it might be worth following one of these Bulgarian sides to get your fix.

The aforementioned current league leader FC Slutsk might take your fancy (just be careful with the pronunciation), or maybe, for those partial to a relegation scrap, one of Belshina Bobruisk or Smolevichy might be to your liking.

If it’s a star you’re looking to follow, then search no further than Shakhtyor Soligorsk’s Uladzimir Khvashchynski on loan at Minsk FC. The experienced attacker is set to top the goal-scoring charts this campaign with his lethal right foot and aerial ability.

Whichever side you choose, this season suggests stiff competition for usual winners Borisov. With only five games played however, there’s plenty of time for the champions to make up lost ground and recover from their current 8th place position.

In these tough times, it might well be that an unlikely saviour in the form of the Vysheyshaya Liga may come to our footballing rescue.

Jordan Yeardsley-Jones
Forever trying to understand newfangled football terminology - what is a trequartista anyway?
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