Victorian Football League
The Victorian Football League (VFL) is an Australian rules football competition in Australia operated by the Australian Football League (AFL) as a second-tier, regional, semi-professional competition. It includes teams from clubs based in eastern states of Australia: Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, including reserves teams for the eastern state AFL clubs. It succeeded and continues the competition of the former Victorian Football Association (VFA) which began in 1877. The name of the competition was changed to VFL in 1996. Under its VFL brand, the AFL also operates a women's football competition known as VFL Women's, which was established in 2016.
|Current season, competition or edition:|
2023 VFL season
|Formerly||Victorian Football Association (VFA) (1877–1995)|
|Sport||Australian rules football|
|Founded||17 May 1877 , (in Melbourne)|
|No. of teams||21|
|Most titles||Port Melbourne (17 titles)|
|TV partner(s)||Seven Network|
|AFL, NAB League|
Its predecessor, the VFA, was formed in 1877 and was the second-oldest Australian rules football league, replacing the loose affiliation of clubs that existed in the early years of the game. The VFA was the top-level club competition in Victoria until 1896 but became the secondary-level competition from 1897, after its eight strongest clubs seceded to form the VFL (now AFL). As a secondary-level competition, the VFA enjoyed peaks of popularity, in the 1940s with a faster-paced rival code of rules and in the 1970s by playing on Sundays at a time when its competitor, the VFL, played on Saturdays.
In 1995, the VFA ceased to exist as an independent organisation and control of its football competition was taken over by its former rival, the AFL which operates the competition through its subsidiary, the Victorian State Football League. AFL clubs' reserves teams first entered the competition in 2000. In 2021, the competition expanded geographically, when the AFL merged it with the North East Australian Football League to include clubs from New South Wales and Queensland. In 2022, it comprised 21 teams from the eastern states, nine of which have a continuous VFA heritage.