Ukraine Rework by Harry1892Hi and welcome to my second rework project.
Staying on the topic of post-Soviet Europe, I've decided to revamp Ukraine this time. The Ukrainian Premier League has announced its intention to expand the league back to 16 teams for 2021-22. This comes after a period where the league was made up of 12 teams, necessitated by the Donbass War's financial consequences provoking a flurry of bankruptcies among many of Ukraine's traditional clubs, with Dnipro being perhaps the most famous casualty.
The Premier League has been expanded to 16 teams again - 16th place is directly relegated to the First League, meanwhile 15th and 14th place are entered into a promotion/relegation playoff against 2nd and 3rd in the First League. Prize money distribution is based on this Futbolgrad article... with a slight increase. Even this increase isn't much; a defining feature of the Ukrainian footballing landscape is that very few teams actually have any money.
The First League (Persha Liha) contains 18 teams, with the champions being directly promoted and 2nd and 3rd entering the aforementioned promotion playoffs. 18th and 17th place are directly relegated, whilst 16th and 15th place enter into a similar promotion/relegation playoff with 3rd and 4th place in the tier below.
The Second League, rather than being two separate leagues, is now a single division consisting of 20 teams. The top 2 are promoted, and as mentioned above 3rd and 4th enter into the playoffs. The relegation system similarly contains 4 teams - the bottom 2 are relegated and the next 2 up enter into yet another playoff with 2 from the division below.
Below this is the Third League (Tretya Liha), which is divided into two groups of 18 teams, Group A and Group B. The winner of each group is promoted to the Second League, and the runners up in each enter the playoffs. Only the last-placed team in each group is relegated.
Below this are the Amateur Leagues. They aren't playable and instead act as a pool of teams which can be promoted into the league system proper.
The Cup incorporated all leagues apart from the amateur league, with the Third and Second League teams going through two qualifying rounds, the First League teams entering in the first round and the Premier League teams being inducted in the second round. The semi-finals and final are played at neutral venues. The Super Cup is between the league winners and the cup winners at the start of the season.
Interesting Teams to ManageDynamo Kyiv - A shadow of their former selves, Dynamo have fallen well behind Shakhtar due to mismanagement and incompetence at all levels. However, they are still comfortably the second best team in the country, possess a 70,000 capacity stadium, some of Europe's best training and youth facilities and have a talented young squad.
Dnipro-1 - After Dnipro's death, Dnipro-1 inherited the old club's players, staff and facilities in murky circumstances, and although not officially considered as such, are widely viewed as the former Europa League finalists' successor. Although hated by the old club's ultras, Dnipro-1 have brought top flight football back to the city and may now push to reclaim Dnipro's spot as the third best team in the country.
Metalist 1925 Kharkiv - Unlike their hated rivals Dnipro's unpopular and cold transition to a new club, the death of Metalist Kharkiv was met with a new fan-supported phoenix club. They too inherited the old club's facilities, but after bursting out of the amateur second leagues have stalled and failed to gain promotion from the first tier. Metalist remain one of the best supported teams in the country and in the right hands could return to being European regulars upon their Premier League return.
FC Minaj (Mynai) - From a village just outside of Uzhhorod near the borders with Hungary and Slovakia, Minaj, funded by an ambitious local businessman have shot up through the league system and find themselves in the the Premier League just 5 years after their foundation. The death of the traditional local club Hoverla has opened up a gap for a top-tier club in the region which Minaj could potentially fill.
Karpaty Lviv - At the end of the 19/20 season, one of the best-supported clubs in Ukraine was expelled from the Premier League after failing to appear for two consecutive fixtures. Karparty have since been admitted into the third tier for next season with a youthful squad. They still have the infrastructure of a Premier League club however, and will look to return to the top as soon as possible.
Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih - Another phoenix club, Kryvbas were one of Ukraine's established Premier League sides before their dissolution in 2013. Fellow Kryvyi Rih side Hirnyk were renamed Kryvbas just before the start of the 20/21 season, and in this rework start in the Third League. With a rundown but large stadium, the Ukrainian authorities would very much like the large city to be once again represented in the top flight.
PFC Sumy - At the end of 18/19, Sumy were stripped of their professional licence after being implicated in a match fixing scandal. However, in this rework I have softened this punishment to relegation to the third tier, as put simply the impressive and modern 25,000 capacity Yuvileiny Stadium needs an occupant. The infrastructure for a Premier League team is certainly in place; can you lead this disgraced team to redemption?