The new season got underway in Latvia in early April. The top flight, the LMT Virsliga, now has ten clubs instead of the previous eight and the league format has also been modified. After the first phase, in which the ten clubs will play against each other home and away, the league will split into two. The top six teams will meet each other again on a home-and-away basis to determine the champions, leaving the bottom four clubs to fight relegation in another “mini-league”. The team that finishes at the bottom of this mini-league will be relegated to the second division, leaving the team that finishes third in the “relegation league” to face a play-off against the runners-up from division two.
March also saw the start of the new season in Kazakhstan and the reintroduction of the Super Cup after 14 years. The Super Cup, which was the curtain-raiser for the new season, was won by reigning league champions FC Aktobe. The top flight has also been renamed as the Premier League. There are currently sixteen clubs in the division, although their number will be reduced to 14 for 2009, which means that four clubs will be relegated at the end of the current season.
In Denmark, futsal took centre stage during the country’s winter break with the launch of an official national championship. Following the conclusion of the preliminary phase, six teams took part in the final competition over two days. IF Albertslund won the first-ever men’s title and Fortuna Hjorring claimed the equivalent honour in the women’s game.
The Swedish football association is this year celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1958 FIFA World Cup™, a competition it hosted and finished as runners-up to Brazil. To mark the occasion, the Museum of Sport in Stockholm will host a special exhibition and Sweden will play a gala match against France in Gothenburg on 20 August.