The Russian Premier League's calendar change has seen it slip 42 places to 53rd in the annual rankings of the world's strongest football championships, the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) said Tuesday.
The country had climbed to 11th in 2011, but this year the league switched from a summer to a winter calendar, and the 15-month transition season meant games were spread out too far for teams to accrue points quickly enough.
"The Russian Premier League has for some years shown great fluctuation in performances, but its present low is also explained this year by the switching of the season from calendar year to the autumn-spring-cycle," said the IFFHS in a statement.
Fifty-third place puts the Russian championship, which last season supplied teams that reached the Champions League knockout stages, below Mali, Vietnam, Qatar and Yemen.
Spain retained the top spot in the IFFHS rankings, with Argentina replacing England in second place and Brazil in third. England is down to fourth while Italy move from seventh to fifth.
The rankings are based on the results of the five best-placed clubs of each league in all the competitions.
The IFFHS is an independent organization founded in 1984 with close links to world governing body FIFA.