The Russian Second League (Russian: Первенство России II дивизиона ФНЛ), formerly the Russian Professional Football League are both the third (Division A) and fourth level (Division B) of Russian professional football.
|Number of teams||Division A - Gold Group: 10|
Silver Group: 10
Division B - Group 1: 14
Group 2: 18
Group 3: 18
Group 4: 9
|Level on pyramid||3–4|
|Promotion to||First League|
|Relegation to||Third Division|
|Current: 2023–24 Division A|
2023 Division B
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 (Russian: Департамент профессионального футбола Российского футбольного союза (ДПФ РФС), Departament professional'nogo futbola Rossijskogo futbol'nogo soyuza [DPF RFS]). From 2013 to 2021 season the league was again run by the Professional Football League and the name Second Division was no longer used, the league was just called PFL. Before the 2021–22 season, the league was merged organizationally with the second-tier First League and renamed to FNL2. Before the 2022–23 season, its short name was changed again, to a historical name "Russian Second League", even though the league's full title ("Second Division of the Football National League") remained the same.
The Second League was geographically divided into 4 zones: 1 (ex-South - Southern European Russia), 2 (ex-West - Western European Russia and Eastern Siberia), 3 (ex-Centre - Northern and Eastern European Russia and Sakhalin), 4 (ex-Ural-Povolzhye - Southern Urals and Western Siberia). The number of clubs in each zone varied between years. In the 2020–21 season, there were 64 clubs in the division.
The winners of each zone were automatically promoted to the Russian First League (known before 2011 as the First Division and from 2011 to 2022 as Russian Football National League). The bottom finishers of each zone lost professional status and were relegated to the Russian Amateur Football League. The teams typically could avoid relegation as long as they still have necessary financing to stay in the FNL2. Each club plays its opponents twice home and away.
For the 2023–24 season, the league was reorganized once again and split into two tiers - third-tier Russian Second League Division A and fourth-tier Russian Second League Division B.
Division A consists of two groups of 10 teams each - Gold Group and Silver Group, based on the 2022–23 results. In the first part of the season (summer/autumn 2023), each team in the Gold and Silver groups plays each other team in the same group twice, home-and-away, for 18 games in total for each team. For the second part of the season (spring/summer 2024), Groups will be re-constituted. Gold Group will now include top 6 first-stage Gold Group teams and top 4 first-stage Silver Group teams. Silver Group will include bottom 4 first-stage Gold Group teams, 5th and 6th-placed first-stage Silver Group teams and four winners of the Division B groups. Bottom 4 first-stage Silver Group teams would be relegated to Division B for 2024. The teams in re-constituted groups will play each other twice more for 18 more games. Top 2 Gold Group teams at the end of the season will be promoted to the Russian First League for the 2024–25 season. The 3rd-placed Gold Group team will play in promotion play-offs (two games, home-and-away) against the team that finishes first in the Gold Group in the first part of the season, the winner of those play-offs will also be promoted to the Russian First League. The bottom four teams in the Gold Group at the end of the season would be moved to Silver Group for the 2024–25 season, and the top four teams in the Silver Group would be moved to the Gold Group.
Division B consists of four groups, mostly based on geography (1, 2, 3, 4). A transitional season of Division B is played from July to November 2023. The winners of groups 1, 2, 3 and 4 will be included in the Division A Silver Group for the spring/summer part of the 2023–24 season. Beginning in 2024, Division B would switch to the spring-to-autumn cycle, the 2024 season would be played from March to November.
The rotation between Division A and Division B will be happening in the winter from then on. For example, in November 2024, bottom 2 teams of Division A Silver Group standings at the time would be relegated to 2025 Division B directly, 7th and 8th-placed teams in Division A Silver Group will play in relegation play-offs against the bottom two teams of the 2023–24 Division A Silver Group season, with 2 losers of the playoffs also relegated to Division B. Winners of the 2024 Division B groups will be promoted to Division A Silver Group at that time.
- Второй дивизион - очень важный пласт (in Russian). Russian Football Union. 6 December 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
- "Реформы в российском футболе уже произошли. Всё о ФНЛ-2 с тремя клубами Петербурга" (in Russian). NV Sport. 18 July 2021. Retrieved 29 July 2022.
- "ВТОРАЯ ЛИГА – НАЧИНАЕМ!" (in Russian). Russian Second League. 15 July 2022. Retrieved 29 July 2022.
- From 2016–17 – Zone Ural-Povolzh'e was renamed Ural-Privolzh'e and all zones began to be referred to as "groups" instead.
- Since the 2020–21 season, the Vostok group has been abolished. The teams from Vostok were scattered in groups 2, 3 and 4.
- "Бюро исполкома РФС утвердило реформу Второй лиги" (in Russian). Russian Football Union. 10 May 2023.
- "ВТОРАЯ ЛИГА БУДЕТ РЕФОРМИРОВАНА С СЕЗОНА 2023/2024" (in Russian). FNL. 10 May 2023.
- (in Russian) Professional Football League official website
- (in Russian) Department of professional football of the Russian Football Union
- (in English) Russian Professional Football League summary (Soccerway)