Football Federation of the USSR
Founded27 December 1934
Folded25 December 1991
HeadquartersMoscow, Russian SFSR
FIFA affiliation1946–1991
UEFA affiliation1954 (since 1992 as the Russian Football Union)
President(see chairmen list below)

The Football Federation of the USSR (Russian: Федерация футбола СССР) was a governing body of football in the Soviet Union and since 1972 the main governing body of football in the country.[1] The Federation was created in late 1934 by the decision of the Supreme Council of Physical Culture of the USSR (Russian: Высший Совет Физической Культуры, VSFK) as its sports section governing specifically football. It was the only organization that obtained recognition of FIFA in 1946.


After the establishment of the Soviet regime in the former Russian Empire all its former affiliations abroad were discontinued. Football life in the country however did not stop. In July 1920, the first championship of the Russian SFSR took place, won by the collective city team of Moscow. The general government and organization of sports in Soviet Union was intended to be conducted by the All-Union Council of Physical Culture (VSFK) that was formed in 1920. In September 1923, the first championship of the Soviet Union took place which was won also by the Moscow team over a Petrograd team. With appointed of Nikolai Semashko as chairman of VSFK, a conflict ensued between him and the chairman of Red Sportintern Nikolay Podvoisky.[2] Later this argument joined couple of other groups among which were Komsomol that was in opposition to Podvoisky since 1922 (at times of Vsevobuch) and various trade unions.[3]

In August 1928, the first Spartakiad took place in Moscow (not to be confused with the Spartakiad of Peoples of the USSR) which included a football tournament.

On 27 May 1934, the "Distinguished Master of Sports" achievement award was established, and given to eight footballers that same year.

On 27 December 1934, the All-Union Council of Physical Culture (VSFK) of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Union (TsIK USSR) established a special public organization – the Football Section of the USSR – to take charge of football events in the country. In addition, there was also the Football Directorate of the Soviet Sports Committee, subordinated directly to the Soviet government.

First memorable exhibition games

On 30 August 1935, the Ukrainian SSR national team beat Red Star Olympique (from France) 6:1. Goals were scored by Shylovsky (3), Parovyshnikov (2), Shchehodsky. Team squad of UkrSSR (2-3-5):[4][5]

  1. Trusevych
  2. K. Fomin (captain)
  3. Kirillov
  4. M. Fomin
  5. V. Fomin
  6. Hreber
  7. Makhynia
  8. Parovyshnikov
  9. Shchehodsky
  10. Laiko
  11. Shylovsky

Next month a collective team of Prague visited the Soviet Union playing against team of Leningrad, Moscow, and UkrSSR. In January 1936 the Moscow team consisting of players from Dynamo Moscow and Spartak Moscow visited Racing Paris to which they lost 1:2. A single goal for the Soviets was scored by Yakushyn. Team squad of Moscow (2-3-5):

  1. Akimov
  2. Al. Starostin (captain)
  3. Korchebokov
  4. Ryomin
  5. And. Starostin
  6. Leuta
  7. Lapshyn (Stepanov, 46)
  8. Yakushyn
  9. Smirnov
  10. Pavlov (Velichkin, 86)
  11. Ilyin

all coached by Konstantin Kvashnin and Nikolai Starostin.

Later history

In 1936, the Section of Football of USSR established the Soviet Top League as a championship among teams of Volunteer Sports Sovcieties (DSO) and agencies introducing four hierarchal groups (leagues) of eight teams.

On 22 July 1937, for the first time TsIK USSR given awards to 38 best Soviet sportsmen among which were 12 football players. The first recipient of Order of Lenin among football players became Nikolai Starostin. The Order of the Red Banner of Labour received Alexander Starostin and Sergei Ilyin, other nine players received Order of the Badge of Honor.[6]

During parts of World War II (1941–1944), the main football events were suspended, but there were several regional competitions. When the Soviet Union was liberated from the occupation of Nazi Germany in August 1944, the next national cup competition took place as the first official post-war football event.

In July 1946, the Football Section of the USSR was admitted to FIFA on the proposition of delegates from Soviet satellite states of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, and on 27 September 1947 the USSR was awarded a permanent seat of the vice-president of FIFA which was taken by Valentin Granatkin. The main national football team of the Soviet Union, however, did not enter the FIFA World Cup until 1958. The first coach appointed was Boris Arkadiev who in 1952 led the team to the Olympic Games in Helsinki. Later, he and several other football specialists were accused by Joseph Stalin of sabotaging the team that was eliminated in the tournament's round of 16.

In January 1957, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR awarded the Order of Lenin to Vsevolod Bobrov and Lev Yashin to commemorate their achievements in sport.

In May 1959, the Football Section of the USSR was reorganized as the Football Federation of the USSR.

In 1960, the Soviet Union national team won the first continental championship beating the Yugoslavia national team 2–1 in extra time.

In 1963, Lev Yashin became the first Soviet player to be awarded the Ballon d'Or.

For the first time in the 1965–66 season, Soviet football clubs debuted in the European international football competitions.

In 1972, the Football Federation of the USSR became a government agency of the State Committee of Sports (Goskomsport). However, because Granatkin continued to chair the Football Federation, that reorganization did not draw much attention from FIFA.[7]

Dynamo Kiev became the first Soviet club to win a European club trophy, when they defeated Ferencvaros 3–0 in the 1975 European Cup Winners' Cup final.

On 8 February 1992, the federation was recognized as the parent association of the newly established Russian Football Union (RFS). In July of the same year, the executive committee of FIFA confirmed the succession of the Soviet federation as the Russian Football Union and readmitted it under the new name and statute.

Regional Federations


Source: [9]

Chairmen of Football Section of the USSR (27 December 1934 – 6 May 1959)

Chairmen of the Football Directorate of the Soviet Sports Committee (27 December 1934 – 1972)

The first team coaches


  1. ^ Законодательство. Постановление совмина СССР, ВЦСПС, ЦК ВЛКСМ № 945 о совершенствовании управления футболом, другими игровыми видами спорта и дополнительных мерах по упорядочению содержания команд и спортсменов по основным видам спорта
  2. ^ Svetlana Kuznetsova. "Appeared on grounds of this physical culture brawl" ("Возникли на почве этой физкультурной драки"). 15 April 2013
  3. ^ Основные вехи российского (советского) футбола
  4. ^ Краткая история украинского футбола / 1878–1963 годы /
  5. ^ История украинского футбола. Хронология
  6. ^ Сборная России по футболу. История
  7. ^ Football of double subordination Archived 16 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "History of the Football Federation of Kazakhstan". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  9. ^ Футбол. Энциклопедия. Том 3
  10. ^ Николай Николаевич Ряшенцев (in Russian)