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The predecessor to the Australian Football League.

Eight clubs formed the Victorian Football League on October 2, 1896. These clubs (Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon, Fitzroy, Geelong, Melbourne, South Melbourne and St Kilda) formed the basis of the league, with further teams joining in later years. By 1925 Victoria boasted a 12 team competition widely acknowledged as the strongest state league in Australia. Known as the VFL it remained in this format until 1982, when the South Melbourne Football Club relocated to Sydney, NSW. A new era of expansion came as more teams were admitted, however, these teams were from outside the state of Victoria. The VFL changed its name in 1990 to become the Australian Football League (AFL).

Before the VFL became the AFL, the clubs that formed the league were: