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The Russian First League (Russian: Первая лига, Первая Лига), formerly known as the Russian First Division (Russian: Первый Дивизион) and the Russian Football National League (FNL) (Russian: Первенство Футболной Навенство Футболной Навенство Футболной Навенство Футболной Навизин) are members of the Russian football league system. Second level.
The Russian Professional Football League (PFL) administered the division. Since 2011, it has been administered by the National Football League.
The league consists of 18 clubs. After each season the top two clubs are promoted to the Premier League and the bottom four clubs are promoted to the Russian Professional Football League. The third and fourth teams play in a home-and-away promotion play-off against the 13th and 14th Premier League teams. If one or more clubs are not licensed to participate in the upcoming season, previously relegated teams are placed in the league in order of last season’s position. Reserve squads of Premier League teams (eg FC Krasnodar-2) are not eligible for promotion, only retirement.
Due to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, all Russian clubs from the former Soviet Top League and Soviet First League were merged into the Russian Top Division, meaning that the new second tier of Russian football would remain regional.
On 10 June 2022, the number of teams in the league was reduced from 20 to 18 for the 2022–23 season. On the same day, the league requested the Russian Football Union to change its historical name to the Russian First League. The RFU officially approved the name change on 23 June 2022. On the same date the league announced that bookmaker Melbet would be the league’s title sponsor.