There is not much football action around at the moment, but one country which has kept its top-level professional game going, and which has earned itself a swathe of new followers as a result, is the Belarus Premier League.

Indeed, with action continuing in the country, many football fans looking for a wager at sites like bet365 Sport, or a number of American sites in Indiana (one of which you can join using the latest BetRivers Affiliate code HOOSIERBONUS) have found the fact that the games are continuing a real source of entertainment.

Indeed, some of the less than familiar teams from the country have now found a whole new fanbase. One team, the somewhat unfortunately named FC Slutsk, has a Facebook page which over 2,000 fans have now subscribed to, all to follow the fortunes of the little known team from a small city directly south of the capital Minsk.

So with all this attention now focused on the Belarus Premier League, we thought it a good time to refresh your knowledge of the league, the teams involved and some of the bigger stars that have played for the clubs, as well as some of Belarussian football’s biggest names from the past and present.

Belarussian Premier League

First contested in 1992, just a year after Belarus became independent from Russia, the Belarussian Premier League runs each year from March through to the autumn which means that at the present moment, the league is only three games old.

The largest team in the league is the capital city-based team Dinamo Minsk, who won six of the first seven league championships. However since then, the largest team in Belarus has added just one league title to that number, a sole win in 2004, as BATE Borisov have dominated the league in recent years, claiming their first in 1999, their second in 2002 and then a run of 13 successive titles from 2006 to 2018. That run was ended last year when Dynamo Brest beat BATE to the title for the first time in their history.

Sixteen teams compete in the Premier League in Belarus and for the 2020 season, the league comprises of the following teams (shown in current league position).

Belarus Premier League Table (as of 8th March 2020)

Pos Team Played Points
1 Enegetiic-BGU Minsk 3 9
2 FC Slutsk 3 6
3 FC Minsk 3 6
4 Isloch 3 6
5 Slavia Mozyr 3 6
6 FC Vitebsk 3 6
7 Torpedo Zhodino 3 6
8 Neman Grodno 3 4
9 Shakhter Soligorsk 3 4
10 Dinamo Brest 3 4
11 Dinamo Minsk 3 3
12 FK Ruh Brest 3 3
13 BATE Borisov 3 3
14 FK Gorodeya 3 3
15 Smolevichi 3 1
16 Belshina Bobruisk 3 0

This weekend’s fixtures take place from Friday 10th April through to Monday 13th April and are as follows:

  • Neman Grodno v Belshina Bobruisk (Fri 10th April – 5pm)
  • FC Slutsk v FC Vitebsk (Sat 11th April – 12pm)
  • Torpedo Zhodino v Energetic-BGU Minsk (Sat 11th April – 2pm)
  • FK Gorodeya v Dinamo Minsk (Sat 11th April – 4pm)
  • FC Minsk v BATE Borisov (Sun 12th April – 3pm)
  • Smolevichi v Shakhter Soligorsk (Sun 12th April – 3pm)
  • Dinamo Brest v Isloch (Sun 12th April – 5pm)
  • Slavia Mozyr v FK Ruh Brest (Mon 13th April – 3.30pm)

Betting is available on each of these games at bet365 Sport and there are live streams of all the matches across the weekend available to those at bet365 Sport that have placed a bet in the preceding 24 hours, or that have a credit balance on their account.

The Top Players in the Belarus League

Although not a destination for the top players in Europe, you are not going to see Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi lacing up their boots for FC Gomel or Dynamo Brest anytime soon, the league is or was home to some players that have made a name for themselves across Europe.

Perhaps the most famous player to come from the country is ex-VfB Stuttgart, Arsenal and Barcelona midfielder Alexander Hleb. Hleb retired from football at the end of last season, having played 13 games for Isloch. He ended his career with 80 caps and six goals for his country.

Another famous name from Belarussian football is Vitali Kutuzov. Having scored 55 goals in 99 games for BATE Borisov between 1998 and 2001, he then went on to play across Europe, notably in Italy for Milan, Avellino, Sampdoria, Parma, Pisa and Bari, as well as a loan spell in Portugal with Sporting. He retired in 2012, having played 53 times for his country, scoring 13 goals.

Current stars in the country that have made a name for themselves are defender Syarhey Matsveychyk, who plays for Shakter Soligorsk, and experienced midfield trio Stanislaw Drahun, Ihar Stasevich and Pavel Nyakhaychyk, all of whom play for BATE Borisov. Anton Saroka (BATE Borisov) and Mikhail Gordeichuk (Dinamo Brest) are amongst the most feared strikers in the league.

The country also has a number of foreign stars playing for their clubs including the likes of Danilo, Karlo Brucic, Dominik Dinga and Marko Pavlovski, who all play at Dinamo Minsk while Artem Milevskyi of the Ukraine is one of the top players at current champions Dynamo Brest.

Title Odds

With the league championship just three games old in Belarus, the odds on a team winning the title are still pretty good, especially since the teams that normally contest things at the top end of the table have all endured pretty uninspiring starts to their season after three games.

At the time of writing, bet365 Sport are offering the following odds on teams to win the championship.

Belarus Championship – To Win Outright

(Odds correct as of 11am on Wed 8th April 2020 with bet365)

  • BATE Borisov – 5/4
  • Dinamo Brest – 15/8
  • Shakhter Soligorsk – 7/2
  • Dinamo Minsk – 14/1
  • Torpedo Zhodino – 33/1
  • Isloch – 66/1
  • Neman Grodno, Slavia Mozyr, FC Slutsk – 100/1
  • FK Gorodeva, FC Minsk, Enegetic-BGU Minsk – 150/1
  • FC Vitebsk – 250/1
  • FK Ruh Brest – 1000/1
  • Belshina Bobruisk – 1500/1
  • Smolevichi – 2500/1

History suggests that BATE Borisov are the smart pick for the season, but the fact that they lost their 13 year stranglehold on the title last season makes that far from certain and the improving Shakhter Soligorski could well be one to watch.