The Australian Football League
) is the pre-eminent and only fully professional men's competition of Australian rules football. Through the AFL Commission, the AFL also serves as the sport's governing body, and is responsible for controlling the laws of the game. Originally known as the Victorian Football League (VFL), it was founded in 1896 as a breakaway competition from the Victorian Football Association (VFA), with its inaugural season commencing the following year. The VFL, aiming to become a national competition, began expanding beyond Victoria to other Australian states in the 1980s, and changed its name to the AFL in 1990.