The Ukrainian football league system has developed over the years.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, all professional clubs from Ukraine have joined own national football competitions as the Soviet competitions transitioned to Russian. The amateur-level clubs/teams played at Ukrainian republican competitions always. The top two tiers traditionally have a single group with double round robin system. The third tier, while having the same type of competition organization, usually has two groups organized geographically. The depth of the nation league competitions is about three levels. The amateur national competitions, while being mandated to participate before joining professional competitions, are often ignored and many teams on various types of "justifications" were allowed to skip those competitions. There is no practical inter-regional league competitions. For short period there existed separate Donbas League which was in an oscillation. Regional competitions in oblasts and the autonomous republic usually have one or two tiers, separate regions had up to five tiers sometimes. Information about regional competitions is not popularized by the FFU/UAF.
A sarcastic comment about activities of the UAF Committee on clubs' certification by the Ukrainian PFL sports director Yevhen Moroz on 9 July 2020was answered by the UAF Control and Disciplinary Committee with an official reprimand.
Parallel to the senior team, there are also junior team competitions, separate student league, female competitions, and other types of football (indoor, beach, others). Female association football, which was struggling after the fall of the Soviet Union, has shaped into a more stable competition with its own two tier league competition and junior team tournament.
|1|| Ukrainian Premier League |
|2|| Ukrainian First League |
| 2 (2)|
|3|| Ukrainian Second League |
Number of teams changes every season
| 4 (1)|
|4|| Ukrainian Amateur League |
(before 1998 – KFK competitions)
|5|| Regional championships (first level) |
|6||Regional championships (second level)|
|District (city) championships (first level)|
|7||Regional championships (third level)|
|District (city) championships (second level)|
|8||Regional championships (fourth level)|
|District (city) championships (third level)|
|Ukrainian Premier League (UPL)|
|Professional Football League (PFL)|
|Ukrainian Football Amateur Association (AAFU)|
|1||Vyshcha Liha||Vyshcha Liha||Premier Liha|
|2||Persha Liha||Persha Liha|
|3||Perekhidna Liha||Druha Liha||Druha Liha|
|3 (lower)||Perekhidna Liha||Tretia Liha|
|4||no competitions||KFK||Amatorska Liha||Amatorska Liha|
Unlike male club sport that has multiple organizations, female football is administered by a one "All-Ukrainian Association of Women Football" that until 2012 did not have full membership within the Ukrainian Association of Football (at that time FFU). Only the Higher League has a status of professional.
|3||Regional championships (first level)|
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.
|U-21|| UPL U-21 Championship / Reserve championship|
|U-19|| UPL U-19 Championship |
| PFL U-19 Championship |
|U-17|| Youth Football League |
Multiple groups, 100+ teams
|U-13|| Leather Ball Cup (unisex competitions)|
|U-13|| Leather Ball Cup (unisex competitions)|
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 considered amateur and primarily organized by the football organizations of their respective regions. For some period there existed the FFU Council of Regions that was providing some degree of uniformity between the competitions of different regions and answering 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 notable and it is NOT 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 national student team sometimes is composed of professional-level players and can be considered as a type of B-team.
In early March 1993 there was established a football club in Boryspil which joined the already on going competitions (1992–93 Ukrainian Transitional League) merging with FC Nyva Myronivka, which (the merging) later became temporary. That way in 1993 in the Second League appeared FC Boryspil without competing in the Transitional League. In 1995 FC Boryspil playing in the First League as Borysfen Boryspil received financial support from the Central Sports Club of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (CSK ZSU) and was renamed as CSKA-Borysfen, while the CSK ZSU kept its original club FC CSKA Kyiv playing in the Third League. That year CSKA-Borysfen was promoted to the 1995–96 Ukrainian Premier League and finished just outside of the prize podium placing 4th. In 1996 to manage the CSK ZSU were placed individuals from a company known as "Kiev-Donbass".After that season the original ownership of the Boryspil football club was removed out of CSKA-Borysfen to stop merger with FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk sponsored by Ihor Bakai and the club was renamed as CSKA Kyiv. In 1997 FC Borysfen Boryspil was readmitted to the Second League without participating at amateur competitions. By 2001 CSKA Kyiv ended up in financial crisis, but was bought out by a mayor of Kyiv Oleksandr Omelchenko as he ran for the 2002 Ukrainian parliamentary election and renamed as Arsenal Kyiv after another factor club that existed some 50 years ago.
Yavir Krasnopillia from a small town near Sumy which existed since 1982 and represented local forestry made it to the First League. In 1999 there was established FC Spartak Sumy in the First League instead of FC Yavir-Sumy Sumy that couple of years before moved to Sumy. While Spartak continued on, in 2000 Yavir Krasnopillia was revived again in Krasnopillia. Yavir again made it to professional level playing in the Second League and, soon after Spartak Sumy went bankrupt, Yavir was brought again to Sumy and in 2008 transformed into PFC Sumy.
In 2005 Arsenal Kharkiv earned promotion to the 2005–06 Ukrainian Premier League, but instead to the top league was promoted a newly created FC Kharkiv and Arsenal was demoted to the Second League.
A practice of team swapping is also practiced as a way to avoid league system. In 2007 FC Zirka Kropyvnytskyi failed to get a promotion to the Second League and in 2008 it swapped with FC Olimpik Kropyvnytskyi which already competed in the Second League. In 2003 Prykarpattia Ivano-Frankivsk finished in relegation zone. It soon announced that it merged with LUKOR Kalush that won the Second League and was expected to get promoted. For few years FC Kalush was forced to become the farm team of the club from regional center. In 2017 there was established SC Dnipro-1 as supposedly completely unrelated to FC Dnipro that was under FIFA sanctions for avoiding paying own debts. SC Dnipro-1 was admitted to the 2017–18 Ukrainian Second League without playing in amateur competitions and during the season many FC Dnipro players along with a head coach were transferred to SC Dnipro-1.
In 2015 in Rivne was revived NK Veres Rivne and was admitted to the Second League without playing in any amateur competitions. For justification there was used a claim that NK Veres Rivne is a "people's club" like no other that existed before in Ukraine and comparing it to 1. FC Union Berlin. In 2016 it gained promotion to the First League. In 2017 NK Veres Rivne was promoted ahead of FC Desna Chernihiv on pretense that the Chernihiv club had problems with a home stadium. After being promoted Veres Rivne was forced to play in Lviv as its home stadium was in emergency conditions. The next season Veres announced that it merging with FC Lviv that was recently admitted to the Second League from amateur competitions, but instead joined the Second League, while FC Lviv ended up in the Premier League.
With asterisk (*) identified leagues which in certain season carried transitional (semi-professional) status.
|Season \ Tier|| Premier League |
| First League |
| Second League |
Football Club Arsenal Kyiv is a Ukrainian football club based in Kyiv. In 2019 the club's professional team was dissolved, but its junior teams continue to compete in city competitions. The club claims to be a successor of Kyiv Arsenal factory team which traces its history back to 1925. The original factory team used to compete in the Soviet Class B, but was relegated in 1964 and its teams of masters was officially dissolved.
The Ukrainian Second League is a professional football league in Ukraine which is part of the Professional Football League of Ukraine, a collective member of the Ukrainian Association of Football. As the third tier it was established in 1992 as the Transitional League and changed its name the next season.
FC CSKA Kyiv is a Ukrainian association football club, until 2001 of the Central Sports Club of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which is government sponsored by the Ministry of Defense. As its farm team CSKA-2 Kyiv, in 1994-2001 it served as a farm team of CSKA Kyiv which later was renamed into FC Arsenal Kyiv.
FC Borysfen Boryspil is a formerly professional Ukrainian football club from Boryspil, Ukraine. The club was created as a phoenix club in 1997 by Ihor Kovalevych after disagreement in FC CSKA Kyiv. The history of the club is controversial and its admission to professional competitions is dubious. In mid 1990s the original team of Zlobenko reached some agreement with the Central Sports Club of the Armed Forces of Ukraine after which there was established a joint team "CSKA-Borysfen" that became the first successful debutant of the Ukrainian Vyshcha Liha finishing among top 5 at the end of season. Following that season the newly created Professional Football League for unknown reason decided to dissolve the joint venture and recognize ownership of the club after company "Kyiv-Donbass" that was associated with the Ministry of Defense.
The 2006–07 Ukrainian First League is the sixteenth since its establishment. There were 20 teams competing. Two teams were relegated from the Ukrainian Premier League 2005-06. Four teams were promoted from the 2005–06 Ukrainian Second League.
FC Sumy was a Ukrainian football team based in the city of Sumy, which used to play in the Persha Liha. In April 2019 the Ukrainian Football Federation deprived the club of its professional status.
1994–95 Ukrainian First League was the fourth season of the Ukrainian First League which was won by Zirka-NIBAS Kirovohrad. The season started on August 6, 1994, and finished on July 2, 1995. In the last round the Kyiv club was only a point away and was visiting Oleksandriya, while the leading Zirka was hosting the former Premier League participant Bukovyna. The Kirovohrad club has managed to prevail with goals from Borysenko and Oliynyk becoming the season champions.
The 2008–09 Ukrainian Second League was the 18th season of 3rd level professional football in Ukraine. The competitions are divided into two groups – A and B.
The 1997–98 Ukrainian Second League was the 7th season of 3rd level professional football in Ukraine. The competition commenced on 31 July 1997 and ended on 29 June 1998.
1998–99 Ukrainian First League was the eighth season of the Ukrainian First League which was won by FC Dynamo-2 Kyiv. The season started on July 31, 1998, and finished on July 4, 1999.
The 2000–01 Ukrainian First League was the tenth season of the Ukrainian First League which was won by FC Dynamo-2 Kyiv. The season started on July 23, 2000, and finished on June 28, 2001.
The Ukrainian Cup 1993–94 was the third annual edition of Ukraine's football knockout competition, known as the Ukrainian Cup.
The 1999–2000 Ukrainian Second League is the ninth season of 3rd level professional football in Ukraine. The competitions are divided into three groups – A, B, and C.
The 2001–02 Ukrainian Second League was the 11th season of 3rd level professional football in Ukraine.
The 2002–03 Ukrainian Second League was the 12th season of 3rd level professional football in Ukraine.
The 2003–04 Ukrainian Second League was the 13th season of 3rd level professional football in Ukraine.
The 2010–11 Ukrainian Second League was the 20th season of 3rd level professional football in Ukraine. The competitions were divided into two groups according to geographical location in the country – A is western and northern Ukraine and B is eastern and southern Ukraine.
The 2015–16 Ukrainian Second League was the 25th season of 3rd level professional football in Ukraine. The competition commenced on 26 July 2015 with a full round of matches. From 1 November 2015 to 26 March 2016 the competition was on winter break. The competition resumed with Round 16 and completed on 1 June 2016.
Ukrainian Amateur Football Championship is an annual association football competition in Ukraine among amateur teams. The competition is administered by the Ukrainian Association of Amateur Football (AAFU).