Since August 2014, the Armenian national football team has been ranked 36th in the FIFA World Ranking. Since independence in 1991, Armenia has had its own national association, which participates in all FIFA competitions (senior, youth and women's football). Ararat Yerevan was one of the leading teams in the top league of the Soviet Union and often played in European club competitions.
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A number of Armenian players played for the national team of the USSR, including Khoren Oganesian at the 1982 FIFA World Cup and Eduard Markarov in the 1960s. Markarov was later co-coach of the youth team of the Soviet Union and was in 1991 the coaching staff of the FIFA World Youth Championship in Portugal, when the team finished in third place.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the first Armenian football clubs were founded in Constantinople, Smyrna and many other cities of the Ottoman Empire.
The first game between Armenian and Turkey teams was recorded in 1906. The Armenian club Balta-Liman (after a district of Constantinople, which is now called Baltalimanı) met Galatasaray. Later, Balta-Liman was dissolved and two new clubs were founded: Araks and Tork.
However, the outbreak of the First World War and the Armenian genocide led to a sharp decline in Armenian involvement in Ottoman sport.
Soviet era (1920-1991)
The oldest records of football teams in Russian Armenia date from 1926-1927, when the Transcaucasian Championship was organized in Tbilisi. Three South Caucasian countries participated: Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
The first professional association in Armenia was founded in 1935 as Spartak and later renamed Ararat. The Ararat Yerevan FC is known for its victories in the Soviet Championship and the Cup in 1973. Ararat FC also reached the quarter-finals of the European Cup in 1974/75 and lost to eventual champions Franz Beckenbauer, Bayern Munich, Germany. The first stadium in Armenia was also called Spartak and was built in the late 1920s in front of today's Yerevan circus.
The FC Shirak was founded in 1958 in Gyumri (then Leninakan) and played until the independence of Armenia in 1991 in the Soviet Premier League.
Independent Armenia (1992 - present)
Football became the most popular sport in independent Armenia. Armenia became an independent state in 1991. The Armenian SSR had previously played for the national football team of the Soviet Union. The Armenian Football Association was founded on January 18, 1992, and established relations with FIFA in 1992 and 1993. The history of the Armenian national team began on 14 October 1992, when Armenia played its first game against the Republic of Moldova. This meeting ended in a goalless draw. Since 1996, the team is a member of the qualification for European and World Championships. Armenia has participated in every UEFA Euro and FIFA World Cup qualifying since 1994.
The lack of funds, however, forced many clubs in Yerevan and other provinces to withdraw from professional football. From 2016, only five clubs from Yerevan, one from Gyumri, one from Kapan and one from Abovyan will play professional football and participate in the Armenian football league system.
In the first decade of the 21st century, many new football stadiums were built in Armenia. However, many of the Soviet-era stadiums are still in poor condition. Most professional clubs have either their own stadium or their own football training academy.
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