In this season’s Champions League, meanwhile, Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk must exchange journeys of 9,300km to face each other in Group H.

Kaliningrad is a Russian port and exclave, an area geographically separated from the rest of the country, and sits between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea.

Maybe teams from Siberia and Far East can be given hand by local authorities when they are playing away. For example, just as in hockey, Vladivostok should go for a 15-day away tour in which they play 4 games. This is not ideal for a football team and it should pose some difficulties but I think this is the best solution. Travelling for 10hrs for every single away game, flying through more than three time zones is much more devastating then spending half of the month away from home.

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The two clubs both compete in Russia’s second division and boast by far the longest away journey in domestic football – roughly a quarter of the way around the world.

Event details: NAME: Luch-Energiya Vladivostok - Orenburg DATE: April 18, 2016 TIME: 09:00 UTC VENUE: Dinamo Stadium, Vladivostok , Russia

The symbol of FC Luch is the Siberian tiger, a prestigious animal which is found on the banks of the Amur and Ussuri rivers in the Khabarovsk and Primorsky Krai.

The club played in the Far East regional tournament of “B-class” teams and eventually won it in 1965, earning promotion to the “A-class”, where they played until the league reorganization in 1972. Following 1972, Luch spent the rest of the Soviet era in the Eastern Zone of the Soviet second tier, with the best result being runner-up in 1984.

Never again can fans of Europa League clubs complain of long away trips and be taken seriously – at least not in the eyes of Russian clubs FC Luch-Energiya Vladivostok and FC Baltika Kaliningrad.

After writing about Baltika Kalingrad, who are situated in the far western reaches of Russia in my previous piece, I felt it was only fair to travel 10,000 kilometres to the far eastern corner of the Russian Federation to balance this. There we find the city of Vladivostok, also known as Russia’s Gateway to the East.

In 1992, after the dissolution of Soviet Union, Luch was entitled to play in the Eastern zone of Russian First League and won that tournament. Luch played in Russian Top League in 1993 and was relegated, having finished 15th.

When the sides face each other, one club must make a round journey totalling a whopping 20,732km – or 12,882 miles – just for 90 minutes of football.

In 1992, after the dissolution of Soviet Union, Luch was entitled to play in the Eastern zone of Russian First League and won that tournament, meaning they got their debut in the top flight the following season. This was however no success for Luch, who only collected 29 points and eventually were relegated after promotion/relegation play-off.

FC Luch-Energiya (Russian: Футбольный клуб "Луч-Энергия" Владивосток) is an association football club based in Vladivostok, Russia. In 2005, Luch-Energia won the Russian First Division and played in the Premier League from 2006 to 2008.

The club was called Luch before 2003, when it was renamed Luch-Energia due to sponsorship from Dalenergo, an energy distribution company.

FC Luch Energiya Vladivostok are currently as we speak situated 13th in the Russian second tier after 15 games. They are however currently on the back of a four game unbeaten run. They have scored a total of 12 goals so far and might be showing promising signs of pushing up the league table with strong improvements from their early form. They do however remain far from the years when they hosted some of Russia’s biggest stars on a regular basis.

Luch has been playing in the Soviet Union championship since 1958. The club played in the Far East regional tournament of "B-class" teams and eventually won it in 1965, earning promotion to "A-class". Luch played in this regional tournament until league reorganization in 1972.

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

More details: Luch-Energiya Vladivostok live score, schedule and results Orenburg live score, schedule and results

READ MORE: Baltika Kaliningrad – The Western Outpost of Russian Football

In 1961, FC Luch moved to the Dinamo stadium. The attendance levels occasionally reached 20,000. On the 21st June 1961 FC Luch played their biggest game to date when they drew Lev Yashin’s Dinamo Moscow in the last 32 of the USSR Cup.  The match was played at the Dinamo Stadium in Vladivostok with the Muscovites edging a 2-1 victory over their eastern rivals.

In 1963, Luch did not lose a home game but the quantity of draws only allowed them to finish 4th.  The following year, the sixth zone, which included FC Luch, was expanded to 18 teams. In this competition the team finished sixth and was forced to prove his “aptitude” at the local level. The Marginal Federation arranged sparring with Vladivostok “border guards”.  FC Luch won on aggregate, and remained in the master classes “B”.

Very similar to my previous blog regarding Baltika, Luch suffers from the same complications of being situated in Russia’s Far East and with the majority of opponents situated in the west.  Due to the quantity of national teams from the Western Russia, as a percentage, Luch have several long travels across the country, which puts a lot of pressure on the club’s already tight budget.

But clearly the incredible distance travelled by Luch Vladivostok to Baltika in September did them little harm, as they ran out 2-1 victors.

1) Veretennikov was also manager of Rotor Volgograd when they were disbanded due to money problems in spring of this year. 2) Two years ago Alania Vladikavkaz too were riding high in the FNL, but as with Luch financial meltdown loomed. They didn’t return after the winter break.

Had international caps for their respective countries. Players whose name is listed in bold represented their countries while playing for Luch-Energiya.

For context, the longest journey in the Premier League comes when Swansea face Newcastle, with away fans making a 1,132km round trip.

Situated in the Far East of the country, their location poses a significant problem for away teams, for example being 9 hours by flight from Moscow. When playing FC Zenit Saint Petersburg at home, a trio of Zenit fans drove 15,000 km across the country only for their car to break down when in Vladivostok, leaving them unable to drive home. These fans thus took the Trans-Siberian Railway back to Saint Petersburg, upon which the club rewarded them with a new car on October 1, 2006.[1]


From 1972 to 1991, Luch played in the Eastern zone of Soviet Second League. The club's best result was a runner-up position in 1984.

In 2007, CSKA goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev perfectly summed up the frustration that many players and fans felt about the exhausting trips to Vladivostok, when he after a 4-0 defeat said “they [Luch] should play in the Japanese league”.

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