The history of football in Lithuania, which begins at the turn of the last century, has been strongly conditioned by political events. The country became independent in 1918, was annexed by the USSR in 1940, before regaining independence in 1990.
The first recorded match took place in 1911 in Kaunas between teams representing the cities of Kaunas and Vilnius. In 1923 the Lithuanian Sports League was admitted to FIFA. In the same year Lithuania played their first international as an independent state, also in Kaunas, losing 5-0 to Estonia. This early flurry of activity came to a climax in 1924 when the Lithuanian Football League (LFL) was founded and the national team participated in the Paris Olympics. The LFL became the sole supervisor of Lithuanian football in 1925, organising the first national championship, which featured seven teams, in 1931.
From 1946 Lithuanian clubs competed within the USSR's footballing pyramid. In 1982 FK Žalgiris Vilnius won the first division title to gain promotion to the Supreme Soviet League, where they finished third in 1987. They duly qualified for the 1988/89 UEFA Cup, where they were eliminated in the first round by FK Austria Wien. They qualified again the next season and took the scalp of IFK Göteborg before bowing out in the second round. One standout talent from this era was Viačeslavas Sukristovas, who figured in the USSR team that finished as runners-up at the 1988 UEFA European Championship. Two other players, Arminas Nabekovas and Arvydas Janonis, helped the USSR claim Olympic gold in Seoul in 1988.
When Lithuania re-established its independence on 11 March 1990, it was the cue for clubs such as Žalgiris, FK Atlantas and ASSM Inkaras to withdraw from the Soviet setup following a request by the Lithuanian sports authorities. A Lithuanian championship promptly started in 1991. A Baltic Football Championship was also launched in 1990, involving sides from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and the Kaliningrad enclave of the USSR.
The national team of the newly independent Lithuania made their debut in a 2-2 draw with Georgia in Tbilisi on 27 May 1990. A bold line was then drawn under the country's international isolation as the Lithuanian Football Federation (Lietuvos Futbolo Federacija or LFF) was readmitted to FIFA on 9 December 1991. As a result, the national side, under Algimantas Liubinskas, played in 1994 FIFA World Cup qualifying, picking up their first points with a 2-2 draw with Northern Ireland in Belfast on 28 April 1992. The first victory came against Latvia in Riga on 12 August 1992. Players such as Janonis, Narbekovas and Valdas Ivanauskas went west to ply their trade in the Austrian Bundesliga.
The LFF became a fully fledged member of the European football family at the 1992 UEFA Congress in Gothenburg. Since then, it has worked hard to develop the country's soccer infrastructure with the aim of improving performances at club and national-team levels.
While getting to the final round of a major championship remains a long-term target, the LFF gained valuable experience and recognition by succesfully staging the the UEFA European Under-19 Championship finals in 2013. Progress in the women's game was also apparent when Gintra Universitetas became the first club side – of any gender – to join the continental elite by qualifying for the UEFA Women's Champions League round of 16 in 2014/15.
Date of birth: 13 April 1976
Association president since: 2016
• A finance specialist by trade, Edvinas Eimontas has worked at the Lithuanian Football Federation (LFF) since the end of 2001, after moving from the banking industry to work as the head of the LFF projects department.
• Eimontas completed numerous projects, including the implementation of the club licensing system and development of infrastructures, marketing and others, while the number of grassroots football participants in Lithuania increased tenfold over the ten-year period.
• In 2012, Eimontas was appointed LFF general secretary, and oversaw the successful organisation of Lithuania’s first UEFA final tournament – the UEFA European Under-19 Championship final round in 2013. He was elected as LFF president in January 2016.
Date of birth: 26 June 1978
Association general secretary since: 2016
• Started his footballing career with local club Telšiai Mastis, before spells in Kaunas with FK Atletas, FK Inkaras and FK Kareda. After winning the Lithuanian Cup with FK Atlantas Klaipėda in 2001, Dunauskas cut short his playing career to take on an administrative job in the Lithuanian Football Federation (LFF).
• After starting out in the youth department, Dunauskas worked as head of the LFF‘s competitions department from 2003, and was also a member of the executive committee for one term from 2008 to 2012.
• In addition, Dunauskas was a prominent football referee. Having started out in 2005, he refereed 48 international matches over five years as a FIFA listed official, before hanging up his whistle in 2015.