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The Worlds Furthest Domestic Away Game

Posted by John Hickey on

Russia's extensive territory is very well known, but just how big it actually is and how it affects the countries soccer scene is not often discussed. This is party due to the fact that most of important cities and wealth in Russia is concentrated in the European side of the country, which then causes most of the top clubs to be from that region. However, a lot of Russian clubs are located well passed the Ural Mountains and deep into the Asian continent.

FC Luch Vladivostok is the most extreme example of just how far an away match in Russia can be. Located in the eastern-most region of the country, Luch Vladivostok has unwillingly provided controversy and discontent in Russian soccer. The city of Vladivostok is 5,673 miles away from the capital Moscow, where most top clubs are located, that's 119 hours by car. Between Vladivostok and Kaliningrad, the furthest possible match between two Russian clubs, the distance is 6,441 miles, or 137 hours by car. All of these figures are just one way, and that's not even taking into consideration the 7 hour time difference. To give an American example for comparison, New York to Los Angeles is 2,445 miles or 41 hours by car.

CSKA Moscow legend Akinfeev once complained after a 4-0 loss away to Luch Vladivostok, saying the club should join the Japanese League (Tokyo is "just" 700 miles away). Luch's Matija Kristic responded by stating that if other teams thought it was bad making the trip once a year, imagine having to do it for every away game. Srdan Radonjic went as far as suggesting the Russian League should be divided into Eastern and Western Conferences, interestingly enough there was a time where this was the case. Before the USSR dissolved, the Soviet second division was indeed divided into East and West, and Luch Vladivostok's trips were a lot shorter.

There's even a curious story of 3 Zenit fans who actually drove from Saint Petersburg to Vladivostok for the away match. Their car broke down before making their way back and had to return by train. The story made headlines in Russia and the club decided to give the 3 faithful fans a brand new car.

In April of 2020, in order to combat Covid-19, the local government decided to pull investments from the club. FC Luch Vladivostok still exists but only participates in regional amateur leagues. Other professional clubs in the region exist but none are in the Russian Premier League at this moment, to the joy of many Russian players and fans.


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