Belarus Premier League to be reduced to 10-12 football clubs?

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Belarus Premier League to be reduced to 10-12 football clubs?

Minister of Sport and Tourism Alexander Shamko has expressed his opinion on the situation in Belarusian football in an interview with the ONT TV channel. In his opinion, the format of the Highest League needs to be changed and football made more transparent.

The minister is sure that the changes in football have matured a long time ago - the domestic championship needs to be more entertaining. So far, unfortunately, there are frankly weak teams that cannot compete with the favorites, said Alexander Shamko.

- Today the format of the championship should change. 16 teams for our country - this is probably not an entirely permissible financial burden, on the one hand. On the other hand, in order to increase competitiveness and interest in the tournament, the number of teams should decrease. I think, down to 10-12 teams. We have mutual understanding with the federation of football, said Shamko.

Note that the majority of football clubs in Belarus are sponsored from the state budget.

FIFA and UEFA are closely watching to ensure that authorities do not interfere in the activities of national federations. Otherwise, the country may face disqualification from international football tournaments.

Now the top football league of Belarus consists of 16 teams.

MORE: Club promoted to 2018 Belarus Premier League with 10-point deduction

At the end of the tournament, two worst teams are relegated to the First League, from which top two teams are promoted to the Highest League (also known as Premier League).

By the way, a few years ago the scheme involving only 12 teams in the top flight was quite successfully tested in Belarus (from 2010 to 2014). However, back then it was largely dictated by the fact that the clubs were not ready to withstand the financial burden of performing in the highest league.

In 2011, FC Partizan Minsk did not pass the licensing procedure because of lack of money and the number of teams in the top league decreased to 11. However, after 2014 it was decided to gradually return to the 16-team format of the highest league. The main motivation was "the expansion of football geography." 14 clubs played in the 2015 season. Since the 2016 season the highest league featured 16 clubs.