Ukrainian football league system

Ukrainian football league system has developed over the years.

Since fall of the Soviet Union, all clubs of Ukraine participate in the national championship. The top two tiers traditionally have single group round robin system. The third tier usually has two groups organized by geographical principle. Parallel to senior team, there are conducted competitions for junior teams.

Female association football that was struggling after fall of the Soviet Union has shaped into more stable competition with own two tier league competition and junior team tournament.

League system (senior teams)

Level League(s)/Division(s) P/R
1Ukrainian Premier League
Premier Liha
12 teams

2Ukrainian First League
Persha Liha
16 teams
3Ukrainian Second League
Druha Liha
Number of teams changes every season
4Ukrainian Amateur League
(before 1998 – KFK competitions)
Amatorska Liha
35 teams
5Regional championships (first level)
~25 leagues
6Regional championships (second level)
~20 leagues
District (city) championships (first level)
Multiple leagues
7Regional championships (third level)
~5 leagues
District (city) championships (second level)
Multiple leagues
8Regional championships (fourth level)
~5 leagues
District (city) championships (third level)
Multiple leagues
Ukrainian Premier League (UPL)
Professional Football League (PFL)
Ukrainian Football Amateur Association (AAFU)
Regional competitions

Evolution of the Ukrainian football league system

1Vyshcha LihaVyshcha LihaPremier Liha
2Persha LihaPersha Liha
3Perekhidna LihaDruha LihaDruha Liha
3 (lower)Perekhidna LihaTretia Liha
4no competitionsKFKAmatorska LihaAmatorska Liha
5+Regional championships

League system (youth teams)

The league system is more based on age. All for levels are national leagues. Regional leagues organize own youth competitions along with adults. In independent Ukraine the first youth competition were established in 1998 and had two categories senior and junior.

In 2001 those competitions were transformed into the FFU Youth League which conducts competitions in four categories based on age. The league also has two divisions for each category between each takes place rotation of teams. Following that, in 2002 there were established youth competitions of the Professional Football League of Ukraine which were conducted among players under 19 of age.

Age League(s)/Division(s)
U-21UPL U-21 Championship / Reserve championship
12 teams
U-19UPL U-19 Championship
14 teams
PFL U-19 Championship
24 teams
U-17Youth Football League
Multiple groups, 100+ teams
U-13Leather Ball Cup
Shkiryanyi myach



The first three levels of the football League system in Ukraine are the professional level competitions, the rest are the amateur and sometimes inconsistent. The first four levels are the national type competitions and divided among three independent football organizations:

There is also national youth competition that consists of the youth teams from all of the professional clubs as well as some of the amateurs and schools of Olympic Reserve. The competitions are divided among several age group of participants between ages of 14 and 17. Each professional club is obliged to be represented with at least one team in those competitions.


The regional competitions are primarily organized by the football organizations of their respective regions. The regional organizations form the FFU Council of Regions that provides some degree of uniformity between the competitions of different regions and answers to the Executive Committee of FFU. There are 27 members of the council including representatives from the cities of Kyiv and Sevastopol. Similar to the national, each regional organization also have a leagues system, but usually do not exceed two levels. There are also cup competitions of each region. The regional youth competitions are organized consequently with the senior competitions and each round of those takes place usually a day prior. Each regional football association has the right upon conclusion of a season recommends the best club or clubs of their choice to the Ukrainian Football Amateur Association.


There also is the Student Football League, which is less famous and is completely a part of the league system. The players of the league represent Ukraine in Universiadas as a national team. There were some discussions to spread a similar type of competition through Europe. The student national team sometimes is composed of professional-level players and can be considered as a type of B-team.


Until 1996 all competitions in the country were organized exclusively by the FFU. The participants of today's professional type competitions were considered to be as the non-amateurs. In 1996 all clubs were required to get incorporated and form professional entities. From 1996 to 2008 PFL officially took over the control for all of the professional level competitions including the today's Vyscha Liha. Since the 2008 the Premier League has split from the PFL and reorganized as the independent organization guided by FFU. From 1993 to 1995, for three seasons, the league system consisted of four levels of the non-amateur football. At the end of the 1995 the Tretia Liha, the fourth level, was merged with the Druha Liha which in turn was split into two groups based on the regional principal (A is western part, B - eastern). Later for sometime the Druha Liha consisted of three regional groupes: A (west/north), B (center/south), C (big east).

Planned reform in 2019

Number of professional clubs

SeasonPremier LeagueFirst LeagueSecond LeagueThird LeagueTotal
1992 20 28 18 66
1992–93 16 22 18 18 74
1993–94 18 20 22 18 78
1994–95 18 22 22 22 84
1995–96 18 22 43 83
1996–97 16 24 33 73
1997–98 16 22 51 89
1998–99 16 20 46 82
1999–00 16 18 44 78
2000–01 14 18 48 80
2001–02 14 18 55 87
2002–03 16 18 46 80
2003–04 16 18 48 82
2004–05 16 18 44 78
2005–06 16 18 43 77
2006–07 16 20 30 66
2007–08 16 20 34 70
2008–09 16 18 36 70
2009–10 16 18 26 60
2010–11 16 18 24 58
2011–12 16 18 28 62
2012–13 16 18 24 58
2013–14 16 16 19 51
2014–15 14 16 10 40
2015–16 14 16 14 44
2016–17 12 18 17 47
2017–18 12 18 23 53
2018–19 12 16 20 48
2019–20 12 16 22 50


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