Explainer: Belarus Premier League - Teams, standings, where to watch

Despite coronavirus fears, football in Belarus is yet to be suspended and the country's top-flight still the only league in Europe where you can watch live games.

BATE Borisov, which finished second last season, is the most successful side in the tournament's history with 15 triumphs.

BATE Borisov, which finished second last season, is the most successful side in the tournament's history with 15 triumphs.   -  AFP

Most of the world may be dealing with concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but the Belarus Premier League aka Vysheyshaya Liga is rumbling on. President Alexander Lukashenko has refused to implement a nationwide lockdown. However, local supporters have been increasingly staying away from stadiums.

Dynamo Brest consequently stuck photos of people onto mannequins and placed them in the stands to make up for lost numbers during its Belarusian Cup semifinal against Shakhtyor Soligorsk on Wednesday (8 April).

Here are a few things to know about the top division of Belarus.

How many teams are involved in the league?

Sixteen teams are currently fighting for the league title, with Dynamo Brest the defending champion. The team had won its maiden championship in 2019.

BATE Borisov, which finished second last season, is the most successful side in the tournament's history with 15 triumphs.

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BATE is also the only Belarusian club to have qualified to the group stage of the UEFA Champions League (CL) and one of two teams, other being Dinamo Minsk, to make it to the Europa League (EL) group stage. It is also the second most successful team in the Vysheyshaya Liga with seven titles.

The league's winner will qualify for the 2020-21 CL first qualification round, while teams finishing second and third will contest the 2020-21 EL second qualifying round. The two sides at the bottom of the pile will be relegated to the second division and the club finishing just above them will play the relegation play-off.

How are the teams placed in the 2020 season so far?

Torpedo-BeIAZ Zhodino is currently placed on top of the table after four game weeks, with nine points. It is above second-placed Energetik-BGU Minsk only on head-to-head record.

Find below the 2019-20 season's points table.

PositionName of the TeamMatches playedWonDrawnLostPoints
1.Torpedo-BeIAZ Zhodino43019
2.Energetik-BGU Minsk43019
3.Slavia Mozyr42117
4.Dynamo Brest42117
5.Slutsk42117
6.Vitebsk42117
7.BATE Borisov42026
8.Isloch Minsk Raion42026
9.Gorodeya42026
10.Minsk42026
11.Neman Grodno41215
12.Shakhtyor Soligorsk41215
13.Rukh Brest41124
14.Dinamo Minsk41033
15.Smolevichi40222
16.Belshina Bobruisk40131

 

Who are the players to watch out for?

Almost all Belarus national football team players ply their trade with the local league. Syarhey Kislyak, the country's most-capped active player with 71 matches to his name, plays for Dynamo Brest. Dinamo Minsk right back Igor Shitov is another regular for his country.

Stanislaw Drahun, who has 66 international appearances, plays for BATE Borisov. The midfielder was part of Belarus' U21 Euro bronze-winning team and also represented the nation at the London Olympics. Drahun's BATE teammate Ihar Stasevic has played over 300 games in the league. 

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BATE defender Bojan Nastic is a Bosnia and Herzegovina international. He has also represented Serbia at all junior levels.

Experienced Ukraine forward Artem Milevskiy is part of the Dynamo Brest squad. His countryman Yevhen Khacheridi also plays for the same club.

Which channel will telecast the Belarus Premier League live?

Currently, there's no live telecast of the Belarus Premier League in most parts of the world. However, with the sporting world coming to a halt and limited action available several sports channels across the world, including those in India, are trying to acquire temporary broadcast rights for the tournament.

Where can you stream the league's matches live online?

The FanCode app and website will stream some of the Belarus Premier League matches live. Fans can tune in to the competition on the Bet365 website which is live streaming fixtures weekly. However, they will have to create a paid account on the betting site. MyCujoo.tv is also streaming the league in 47 countries.

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