Football in Kazakhstan
Governing bodyFootball Federation of Kazakhstan
National team(s)men's national team
National competitions
Club competitions
International competitions

Football in Kazakhstan is governed by the national body the Football Federation of Kazakhstan. The FFK organises the men's, women's and futsal national teams.[1] Football is the most popular sport in the country, followed by ice hockey.[2][3]


Pioneers of the Kazakh football FC Yarysh of Semipalatinsk, 1914.

Kazakh football first appeared in Semey before World War I, when British merchants brought the game to the area. Among the early players of the game was writer Mukhtar Auezov who turned out for the 'Yarysh' club, the biggest of the time [1] Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine. Teams soon followed in Pavlodar and Dzhambul, before the first official appearance of a Kazakh SSR representative team in 1928. By the 1930s Kazakh club sides were regularly participating in the lower ranks of Soviet football.

After World War II a regular league began in 1946 while a cup competition, previously held sporadically was instituted full-time in 1948. A permanent Kazakh SSR Football Federation was established in 1959. Leading club side FC Kairat Almaty went on to make history in 1960 by becoming the first Kazakh side to compete in the Soviet Top League and made further history in 1963 by reaching the semi-finals of the Soviet Cup, the best performance by a Kazakh team in the competition. They would go on to record Kazakhstan's first triumph in the Soviet First League in 1976.

No Kazakh footballer had represented the USSR until 1977 when FC Kairat defender Seilda Baishakov made his debut in a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Hungary. Later, in 1986, his club would go on to add further to their honours by finishing seventh in the Top League, an all-time best finish for a Kazakh club. The country's Eugeny Yarovenko also added to the honours as a member of the victorious Soviet side at the 1988 Summer Olympics.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, a Football Association of the Republic of Kazakhstan was set up in 1992 and soon accepted into FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation. The national team debuted soon afterwards and individual Kazakh competitions were established. The renamed FFK went on to join UEFA in 2002, ending their relationship with the AFC.[2] [4][5][6]

Domestic competition

The main league competition in the country is the Kazakhstan Premier League, formed in 1992 from Zone 8 of the Third Level of Soviet football with other higher placed Kazakh clubs co-opted. A first division was added in 1994 and this competition is now organised on a regional basis and is fed into by a further regionalised second division. The Kazakhstan Cup is also competed for, while successful clubs gain entry to the early rounds of the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League.[7]

League system




Kazakhstan Premier League
13 clubs

↓ 1 club ↑ 2 clubs


Kazakhstan First Division
13 clubs + 3 reserve teams

↓↑ 2 clubs


Kazakhstan Second Division
9 clubs + 15 reserve teams

National team

Main article: Kazakhstan national football team

Although they participated in matches against other Republics of the Soviet Union, the Kazakhstan team did not make their official debut as an independent country until 1 June 1992, when they defeated Turkmenistan 1–0. Based at the Almaty Central Stadium, they are yet to qualify for a major tournament.

Champions during Soviet era (1936–91)

A Kazakh SSR championship was founded in 1936 with no Kazakh clubs competing in the Soviet Top League. The winners of this competition were:


  • 1936 – Sbornaya Almaty
  • 1937 – Dinamo Almaty
  • 1938 – Dinamo Almaty
  • 1939–47 – no competition
  • 1948 – Dinamo Almaty
  • 1949 – Lokomotiv Zhambyl
  • 1950 – Sbornaya Almaty
  • 1951 – Metallurg Shymkent
  • 1952 – Metallurg Shymkent
  • 1953 – Metallurg Shymkent
  • 1954 – Dinamo Almaty
  • 1956 – Sbornaya Almaty
  • 1957 – Stroitel Almaty

1980–81. Zone 7, 3rd level of Soviet football, including Kazakhstan and other Central Asian teams

1982–91. Zone 8, 3rd level of Soviet football, including only Kazakhstan teams

See also


  1. ^ Gilbey, Mark. "When Saturday Comes - Capital gains". Archived from the original on 8 August 2017. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  2. ^ a b Paxton, Robin (6 September 2012). "Kazakhstan looks to Europe for soccer growth". Reuters. Archived from the original on 22 April 2018. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  3. ^ Fergus, Michael; Jandosova, Janar (21 April 2018). Kazakhstan: Coming of Age. Stacey International. ISBN 9781900988612. Retrieved 21 April 2018 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Wilson, Jonathan (15 September 2015). "FC Astana's group stage debut shows how far Kazakh football has come - Jonathan Wilson". the Guardian. Archived from the original on 5 August 2017. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Ames: A trip to see FC Astana's grand project". 14 September 2015. Archived from the original on 21 April 2018. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  6. ^ "A belief in west is best for future of Kazakhstan". 7 September 2012. Archived from the original on 21 April 2018. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  7. ^ "The Champions League Lands in Kazakhstan". 30 September 2015. Archived from the original on 21 April 2018. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  8. ^ "Kazakhstan - List of Champions". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 27 July 2022. Retrieved 21 April 2018.