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The Professional Football League, formerly the Russian second division, is the third tier of Russian professional football.
In 1998-2010 it was run by the Professional Football League. The 2011-12 season was run by the Department of Professional Football of the Russian Football Union, Department professional'nogo futbol Rossijskogo futbol'nogo Soyuza (DPF RFS)). In the 2013/14 season, the league is again led by the Professional Football League and the name Second Division is no longer used.
The PFL is geographically divided into 5 zones: Western (North-Western European Russia), Central (Northern and Eastern European Russia), Southern (Southern European Russia), Ural-Povolzhye (Southern Urals and Western Siberia) and Eastern (Other Siberia). , The number of clubs in each zone varies between the years. In the 2015/16 season there are 62 clubs in the division.
The winners of each zone will automatically be promoted to the Russian Football Nationalliga (known as First Division before 2011). The taillights of each zone lose their professional status and descend into the Russian amateur football league. In the zone with the lowest population in the East each club plays three times against each opponent, while in all other zones the traditional home and away game applies.
As the USSR set out in 15 different countries, the once-known sports structure of the union collapsed. Football was the second most popular sport in the Soviet Union. While the national teams and clubs were formerly associated with state institutions or mass organizations, in 1991 some of them became private companies. Like many other businesses, a corrupt and sometimes bloody separation of powers began. In addition, many teams of the former Soviet Premier League, once considered one of the strongest and able to keep up with England and Italy, were split between the national football associations of the new independent republics. Many of the top brand names lost their funding from the government and were rotted, waiting for some forms of sponsorship. The citizens of Russia are particularly interested in the national team that is allowed to participate in the World Cup and the European Championship, and in the Premier League, in which clubs from various Russian cities want to become champions. There are also competitions that are considered less important, such as the Russian Cup. The most successful clubs include Spartak Moscow, Lokomotiv Moscow, CSKA Moscow, Zenit St. Petersburg, Dynamo Moscow and FC Torpedo Moscow.
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