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• Born in Valmiera, Guntis Indriksons was never a professional player but has been passionate about football throughout his life; having become one of the nation's most successful businessmen after Latvia regained independence, he founded the nation's most successful club, Skonto FC, in 1991.
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Nationality: Latvian Date of birth: 18 December 1955 Association president since: 1996
The Europa League replaced the old UEFA Cup in 2009/10 and attracts 48 clubs playing six matches home-and-away. Chelsea became the first English side to win the tournament in 2013 with Atletico Madrid (2) and Porto the other winners. So if you want the very latest Europa League football odds visit Sky Bet.
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• Latvia sensationally reached the finals of UEFA EURO 2004, and Indriksons said: "We have a right to be proud. Latvian football made itself known. Maybe it's even more important that we now have thousands of kids playing football. We got them off the streets. This is our federation's biggest success."
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Football has been played in Latvia since the start of the 20th century. The first recorded match took place in 1906 during a sports festival held in Riga by the local Keizarmežs sporting union.
The first football clubs were established in 1907 and 1908 by British and German expatriates in the capital, while the first Latvian club in Riga, Amatieris, were formed in 1910. The game became popular in Liepaja too, where FC Olimpija were founded in 1909. By February 1910 the conditions were right for a Riga Football League to be created, and this body ran competitions between 1910 and 1915.
• The FK Daugava Rīga academy graduate enjoyed a year in the reserve team and spent the most of his career at FK VEF Rīga after a short stint at FC SKA Kaliningrad. Jānis Mežeckis began his coaching career in 1980, and spent 1991 as a football administrator in Belgium.
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• Mežeckis returned home to become Latvian Football Federation (LFF) general secretary in 1993. A member of various FIFA and UEFA committees, he was the head of Latvian delegation at UEFA EURO 2004 finals in Portugal.
Daugava was founded in 1944. It had its debut in the Latvian championship in 1946 by finishing 5th among 8 teams. In 1948 Daugava joined FC Dinamo Rīga as the second team from Latvia to play in the Soviet First League. For the 1949 season thanks to a changes in the tournament system Daugava was promoted to the Soviet Top League where it managed to remain for 4 seasons until being relegated in 1952.
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Latvia gained independence after the First World War, and in June 1921 the Latvian Football Union (Latvijas Futbola Savieniba – LFS) was set up. The LFS organised a national championship until 1927, when the Virslīga (Premier League) came into being. However, a national cup competition, the Latvia Cup, was only instituted ten years later, with 78 teams participating.
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• Mežeckis has worked as a delegate at more than 150 UEFA matches, including the UEFA EURO 2012 final between Spain and Italy. The same year, he was elected one of the Latvian Olympic Committee's vice-presidents.
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Skonto FC did not obtain a license to play in the 2016 Higher League. Skonto appealed the decision, but the appeal was denied. Since 2015 Latvian First League runners-up Valmiera Glass FK/BSS refused from opportunity to be promoted to the Higher League, 3rd placed Rīgas Futbola skola (RFS) was promoted instead.
After Latvia was occupied by the USSR in 1940 almost all football clubs were disbanded. The next year, however, a Soviet Latvia championship was initiated … yet almost immediately interrupted as Germany declared war on the USSR. During the resulting German occupation from 1942 to 1944, teams played in the Latvian championship using their old names. However, the 1944 season had to be halted because of a Red Army offensive, and soon Latvia was again incorporated into the USSR.
• Skonto won the first 14 post-independence titles in Latvia, with Indriksons being brought in as president of the Latvian Football Federation (LFF) for the first time in 1996; football became the nation's most popular sport under his tenure. He was re-elected in March 2012, and will serve another four-year term after being confirmed in office in April 2016.
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