Ukrainian First League

Ukrainian First League

The Persha Liha (Ukrainian: Перша ліга) or Ukrainian First League is a football league in Ukraine and the second tier of national football competitions. Members of the league also participate in the Ukrainian Cup. Unlike the Ukrainian Premier League, Persha Liha does not conduct a parallel tournament for junior teams of its clubs. The league was set up by the newly reorganized Football Federation of Ukraine (a successor of the Football Federation of the Ukrainian SSR) with the falling apart Soviet Union as a second tier, lower than Ukrainian Higher League (Vyshcha Liha) and higher that Ukrainian Transitional League (Perekhidna Liha). The very first round of games that took place for this league was on 14 March 1992. The league itself was organised just a few months before that and consisted mostly of all the Ukrainian clubs that previously competed in the one of groups of the Soviet Lower Second League (4th tier, see Ukrainian Soviet competitions). To the league were also added some Soviet Top League reserve squads of the Soviet Top League reserve squads competition and the three best performers of the Ukrainian football championship among amateurs, KFK (Fitness clubs). The Persha Liha (First League) is lower than the Vyshcha Liha (Higher League) (currently known as the Ukrainian Premier League) and is the second division of the Ukrainian professional football league system. The First League was incorporated into the PFL organisation that combined all the football leagues of non-amateur clubs (Top, First, and Second). On 26 May 1996 the Constituent Conference of non-amateur clubs took place which created the professional league, and confirmed its statute as well as its administration. Most of the clubs that had previously participated in the Ukrainian football league competitions were reorganized as professional, a process that actually started in the late 1980s. On 17 July the professional league signed an agreement with several other national football organizations to organize competitions among the professional clubs (its members). According to the newspaper Halychyna (Ivano-Frankivsk) the annual budget of league's clubs varied between 6 mln to 30 mln hryvnias in 2010. The League officially became the top league of the Professional Football League (PFL) from 15 April 2008 when the Ukrainian Premier League reorganized itself into a self-governed entity. Usually the top two teams from the First League are promoted to the Premier League, while the two lowest teams from the Premier League are demoted to the First League. Because each club is only allowed to be represented with a single squad per each league, the second squad's promotion often is voided, thus, allowing the promotion of the third placed club during a season. One of the most successful second squads is of Dynamo Kyiv (FC Dynamo-2 Kyiv).

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