The Austrian Regional League is the third-highest division in Austrian football, after the Austrian Bundesliga and the First League. It is divided into three conferences: East (German: Ost), covering the states of Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland; Central (Mitte), covering the provinces of Styria, Carinthia, Upper Austria and the exclave of East Tyrol; and West, covering the provinces of Salzburg, Tyrol (with the exception of East Tyrol) and Vorarlberg.
Tauernliga and Arlbergliga
With introduction of the Staatsliga A as the first division and the Staatsliga B as the second division of Austrian football in the1949/50 season, also the teams from the Austrian provinces were allowed to play for the first time again in the highest leagues since the end of the second world war. This entailed also a change of the categorization in the amateur football. While Central and Eastern Austrian football teams played in the respective national leagues, from which the champions got promoted either directly or by Play-Offs (Relegationsspiele) to the Staatsliga B, the Western provinces didn't participate in the Staatsliga B.
In 1949/50 the teams from Carinthia (Kärnten) and Salzburg already played in the again-created Tauernliga and from 1955/56 to 1958/59 in the Tauernliga South (Kärnten) and Tauernliga North (Salzburg). Besides the Arlbergliga consisted from 1950/51 to 1959/60 the clubs from Tyrol (Tirol) and Vorarlberg. These leagues can be regarded as second divisions (apart from the Staatsliga B) since their champions played in direct duels for promotion to the Staatsliga A.
- In 1960, the Carinthian teams already played in the Central Regionalliga and the Tyrolean and Vorarlberg clubs were still in the Arlbergliga. For this reason the champion of the Salzburger Landesliga was entitled to deny the qualification matches against the champion of the Arlbergliga.
The Regionalliga and the Alpenliga
In the season of 1959/60, the Eastern and Central Regionalligen were established and one year later the Western Regionalliga. The Regionalligen counted up to the season of 1973/74 as soccer's second division in Austria. The respective champions were allowed to get promoted directly to the top level. In 1974/75 the introduction of the first and second Austrian Bundesliga happened, with in each case 10 clubs and to the abolishment of the Western and Central Regionalligen. For the promotion to the 2nd Bundesliga the champion of the Eastern Regionalliga, which was allowed to move upwards directly, and which the champions of the State Leagues (German: Landesligen) of Salzburg, Tyrol (Tirol), Vorarlberg, Carinthia (Kärnten), Upper Austria (Oberösterreich) and Styria (Steiermark) those Play Offs (Relegationsspiele) had to complete in each case. In the 1977/78 season, the provinces of Salzburg, Tirol and Vorarlberg merged their Landesligen to the Alpine League (in German, Alpenliga) as the 3rd division. In the 1980/81 season, the Western Regionalliga was once again introduced as the third division. The Eastern Regionalliga championship was not held from 1980/81 to 1983/84 and it would not be until the 1984/85 season that it would be reintroduced. Up until the 1995/96 season, the Champions of the Western and Eastern Regionalligen earned a direct promotion to the 2nd Bundesliga. The Central Regionalliga, however, would not be reintroduced until the 1994/95 season. The champions of the regional organizations, the state football associations (Landesverbände) of Upper Austria (Oberösterreich), Carinthia (Kärnten) (with East Tyrol (Osttirol)) and Styria (Steiermark) had their only promotional spon to the 2nd division decided in play off matches.
Between the 1996/97 and 2003/04 seasons, the three champions of the Regionalligen together with the last one of the 1st Division (since the renaming of the 1st Division as "Max Bundesliga" the second highest division in Austria) played those Play Off matches to accomplish the two remaining promotional/relegation spots. After an expansion of the 1st Division was decided that - starting from the 2005/06 season - on twelve clubs (due to deprival of pro-league-licenses (Lizenzentzuegen) at present still with 10 slots), the winners of the regional leagues can go up directly again.