The Victorian Football League (VFL) is the major state-level Australian football competition in Victoria. The league was established in 1995 out of the ashes of the defunct Victorian Football Association (VFA), from which nine clubs have formed the core the VFL since the inaugural season of 1996. As a consequence, the present VFL is sometimes referred to as the VFA/VFL, to distinguish it from the present day Australian Football League (AFL), the premier national body formed in 1990 as the successor to the former Victorian Football League (VFL). After the 1999 season, the new VFL merged with the Victorian State Football League (VSFL), itself a successor competition to the old VFL Reserves. As such, in terms of the historical continuum, the current VFL can best be understood as an amalgam of the VFA and the old VFL Reserves, supplemented by some of the stronger regional clubs. Today, the VFL is one of many regional Australian semi-professional competitions. It comprises 14 teams from throughout Victoria, nine of which have a continuous VFA heritage. Many Victorian-based clubs in the fully professional AFL are affiliated with VFL clubs, and as a result, the league partly serves as a reserves competition for the AFL.