Uzbekistan

UZB

The Uzbekistan Professional Football League (Uzbek: Oʻzbekiston Professional Futbol Ligasi, formerly the Uzbek Oliy League), is the top division of football in Uzbekistan, and is operated under the auspices of the Uzbekistan Football Federation. The top three teams get a chance to compete in the AFC Champions League, while the two last ranked teams are relegated to the Uzbekistan First League.

The Uzbek League was founded in 1992 after the collapse of the Soviet Union and it’s domestic league, the Soviet Top League. The league is known locally as the Higher League with relegation to the First League.

17 clubs took part in the inaugural campaign. Before the league was formed, there was a domestic competition, but top club sides playing in the Soviet Union league system did not take part and therefore could not be crowned Uzbek champions.

The first season in 1992 saw the title shared by Pakhtakor Tashkent and Neftchi.

League winners between 1992 and 2011 were invited to play in the Russian hosted Commonwealth of Independent States Cup. League champions also qualified for the AFC Champions League from the 1994–95 Asian Club Championship onwards. This competition from 2008 on would feature the Uzbekistan Cup winners and possibly more teams from the league system depending on the allocation granted by the Asian Football Confederation at the time. This also had the possibility that members club could play in the AFC Cup which is generally a competition for developing nations. Participation in the Asian Cup Winner’s Cup was also played between 1993 and the last competition in 2001–02.

Thus far, only Nasaf Qarshi have won any silverware, winning the 2011 AFC Cup in which they also hosted the final. Pakhtakor Tashkent did however win the IFA Shield when invited by India in 1993 and also later went on to win the 2007 Commonwealth of Independent States Cup, the first and only victory for a club side from Uzbekistan.