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Azerbaijan Premier liga
The Azerbaijani Premier League is the first league in Azerbaijani club football. The league is contested by 8 teams in which the season lasts from August to May. The winner will join the UEFA Champions League from the first qualifying round.
The Azerbaijani Premier League was first organized in 2007 and succeeded the 1992- 2007 Top Division (Azerbaijan: Yüksək Liqa).
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Since 1992, a total of 8 clubs have been crowned champions of the Azerbaijani football system. The current champion is Qarabağ, who won the title for the seventh time in the 2018-19 season.
The league was dominated by teams such as Neftchi Baku, Capacity, Turan Tovuz and Shamkir. However, financial problems had a negative impact on local clubs, and most teams such as Khazri Buzovna, Shamkir, Vilash Masalli and Shafa Baku went bankrupt due to increasing debt. In 1997, Capa were known for their unbeaten run as the club's last record for the 1997/98 league was 22 wins, 4 draws and 0 losses from a total of 26 games, an unbeaten run that has not been matched by any team in any single season was in an Azerbaijani League Division.
As the league entered a new century, the Neftchi Baku faced new challengers. They were challenged by distinguished Khazar Lankaran, Inter Baku and Baku in both competitions. The country's football suffered a heavy blow in 2002, when UEFA imposed a two-year ban in response to a longstanding conflict between the Association of Football Associations of Azerbaijan and the majority of the country's top clubs. As a result of the conflict, the national championship was broken off and the top clubs prevented their players from playing for the national team. Tax officials also investigated fraud allegations with the Azerbaijani Association. Under the leadership of Agaselim Mirjavadov, Khazar Lankaran ended the Azerbaijani Cup Winners in 2006 and 2007, while in the years 2006 to 2007, he finished in the league despite losing the title to Neftchi in the 2004-05 play-offs. Qarabağ was the first team from Azerbaijan to reach the UEFA Europa League in the 2009/10 and 2010/11 seasons. Few gave chances of qualifying for the next round, although the Aghdam side caused a stir against favorites Rosenborg, Honka, Twente and Wisła Kraków.
Under the leadership of Gurbanov Gurbanov Qarabağ was the second team that represented Azerbaijan in the European Cup. The 2010s brought a brilliant start, with Neftchi emerged victorious after six years of unsuccessful running. Neftchi repeated his domestic success the following season, having won his seventh title in club history. This year, Neftchi Baku became the first Azerbaijani team to enter the group stage of European competition. In the 2012/13 season Neftchi could win three titles in a row. In the 2013/14 season Qarabağ managed to get the second title after 21 years and continue to win the championship title in a row. In 2014, Qarabağ became the second and most successful Azerbaijani team to reach the group stage of a European competition. After successively participating in the Europa League in 2017, Qarabağ Agdam was the first Azerbaijani team to advance to the group stage of a Champions League.
The competition format follows the usual double-round-robin format. During a season that runs from August to May, each club plays four times, twice at home and twice away, a total of 28 games. Teams receive three points for a win, one point for a draw and no points for a defeat. The teams are ranked by total score, with the highest ranked club at the end of the season being the champion.
There is an ascension and descent system between the Azerbaijani Premier League and the Azerbaijani First Division. The Premier League's lowest ranked Premier League team moves down to the First Division, and the First Division's top-flight team progresses to the Premier League.
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