FC Fakel Voronezh (Russian: Футбольный клуб "Факел" Воронеж) is a Soviet and Russian professional football club based in Voronezh. Founded in 1947. The club played in the Soviet Top League and the Russian Premier League. Currently the club plays in the Russian Football National League. The name of the club means "Torch" or "Flambeau".
The club was founded in 1947 at a then classified airplane plant. For secrecy reasons, the team was not officially given a name and was referred to as the Voronezh city team. In 1959 the team became a part of Trud sports society and was renamed Trud Voronezh. In 1976 the team was renamed Fakel.
The team played in the Soviet League since 1954:
- 1954–1960 in Class B
- 1961 in Class A
- 1962 in Class B
- 1963–1970 in Class A, Group 2
- 1971–1978 in Second League
- 1979–1984 in First League
- 1985 in Top League
- 1986–1987 in First League
- 1988 in Second League
- 1989–1991 in First League
The best result of Trud/Fakel was a place in the Top Division in 1961 (finished 15th) and 1985 (finished 17th). Fakel reached the semifinal of the Soviet Cup in 1984.
In the Russian league, Fakel played in various divisions, only on two occasions staying in the same division for more than two consecutive seasons:
- Top Division: 1992, 1997, 2000–2001
- First Division: 1993, 1995–1996, 1998–1999, 2002–2003, 2005–2006, 2011–2012, 2015–
- Second Division: 1994, 2004, 2010, 2012–2015
- Russian Amateur Football League: 2007–2008
The best result achieved by Fakel in Premier League was a 13th position in 2000.
Fakel has also experienced several short-lived name changes: to Fakel-Profsoyuz in 1992, Voronezh in 2002 and Fakel-Voronezh in 2002–2003.
Fakel and FC Yelets were excluded from the Russian Second Division for attempts to bribe and threaten the referee on 18 July 2009. At the time of exclusion (21 August), Fakel were sixth with 31 points from 19 games, while Yelets were 16th with 9 points from 19 games.
A new club called FC Fakel Voronezh technically independent from the club that played in 2009 as FC Fakel-Voronezh Voronezh was founded in 2010 and played in the Russian Second Division (FSA Voronezh failed licensing for 2010 and the new Fakel was the only Voronezh professional team for 2010). It employed the manager and 6 players from the 2009 FC Fakel-Voronezh roster. The reserve team FC Fakel-d Voronezh played in the Amateur Football League in 2010.
Before the 2011–12 season FC Saturn Moscow Oblast dropped out of Russian Premier League due to financial problems. FC Krasnodar replaced them in the Premier League, creating a vacancy in the Russian First Division. Despite only coming in 4th in their Russian Second Division zone in 2010, Fakel volunteered to take the First Division spot, and the Russian Football Union decided to promote the team. They were relegated back to the third level in the same 2011–12 season. They returned to the Russian Football National League in the 2015–16 season. Despite finishing in the relegation zone at the end of the 2017–18 season, the club was not relegated as other clubs ahead in the standings failed to obtain the league license for 2018–19.
They finished in the relegation zone once again in the 2018–19 season, but due to failure of FC Sakhalin Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and FC Anzhi Makhachkala to acquire a 2019–20 license, they were not relegated.
The 2019–20 season was abandoned due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Russia with Fakel once again in relegation spot. However, due to the pandemic, none of the teams, including Fakel, were relegated.
This page also has a version in other languages: Факел (русский)