Croatian Third Football League
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|Level on pyramid||3|
|Feeder to||2. HNL|
|Relegation to||First County Football League (Croatia)|
|Domestic cup(s)||Croatian Cup|
|Current champions||Novigrad (West)
|Most championships||Mosor (3 titles)|
The Croatian Third Football League (Croatian: Treća hrvatska nogometna liga, or commonly Treća HNL or 3. HNL) is the third tier of the football league system in Croatia. The league was established in 1991 following the dissolution of the Yugoslav League. It is operated by the Croatian Football Federation.
The teams are divided into three divisions: West, East and South, competing in a double round-robin format. At the end of each season, the bottom teams are relegated to the regional leagues while the winners of each league are either promoted directly to Druga HNL or enter a two-legged playoff to gain promotion.
Subdivisions are organized geographically and composed of the following Croatian counties:
- Treća HNL West
- City of Zagreb (Grad Zagreb)
- Karlovac County (Karlovačka županija)
- Krapina-Zagorje County (Krapinsko-zagorska županija)
- Sisak-Moslavina County (Sisačko-moslavačka županija)
- Zagreb County (Zagrebačka županija)
- Lika-Senj County (Ličko-senjska županija)
- Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (Primorsko-goranska županija)
- Istria County (Istarska županija)
- Treća HNL East
- Brod-Posavina County (Brodsko-posavska županija)
- Osijek-Baranja County (Osječko-baranjska županija)
- Požega-Slavonia County (Požeško-slavonska županija)
- Vukovar-Syrmia County (Vukovarsko-srijemska županija)
- Bjelovar-Bilogora County (Bjelovarsko-bilogorska županija)
- Koprivnica-Križevci County (Koprivničko-križevačka županija)
- Međimurje County (Međimurska županija)
- Varaždin County (Varaždinska županija)
- Virovitica-Podravina County (Virovitičko-podravska županija)
- Treća HNL South
Since its inception in 1992 the league changed formats several times. In its inaugural season the league had four divisions (North, Center, South and West). In the 1992–93 a fifth division was added (East). The five-group league continued until the 2006–07 season when the league was re-organised and reduced to three geographical divisions with 18 clubs in each group. Official tables for the period between 1992 and 1998 are incomplete.
As for promotion to 2. HNL, at first it was automatic with all five winners entering next season's 2.HNL. A playoff system was later introduced, along with the requirement that 2.HNL hopefuls must meet second level competition standards. Therefore, some clubs finished top of their groups but then declined promotion as they were unable to provide suitable ground for home matches, while others were knocked out in inter-division playoffs. Furthermore, the 2. HNL format also changed several times: from 1998–99 to 2000–01 seasons 2.HNL was played as a single nationwide league; from 2001–02 to 2005–06 the league was organised in two geographical groups (North and South); from 2006–07 onwards the league reverted to a single nationwide league format. From season 2014–15 winners of division west, south and east are directly promoted into 2.HNL, while last three team from 2.HNL are relegated without play-off matches.
|†||Club gained promotion to the unified 2. HNL|
|N||Club gained promotion to 2. HNL North|
|S||Club gained promotion to 2. HNL South|
|Season||Division Center||Division West||Division East||Division South||Division North|
|1998–99||PIK Vrbovec †||Pomorac Kostrena †||Marsonia †||Mosor †||Čazmatrans †|
|1999–2000||TŠK Topolovac †||Žminj †||Papuk †||Hrvatski Vitez||Koprivnica †|
|2000–01||Trnje S||Uljanik Pula S||Metalac Osijek N||GOŠK Dubrovnik S||Podravac N|
|2001–02||Napredak VM||Opatija||Dilj N||Primorac Stobreč||Mladost Prelog|
|2002–03||Segesta S||Žminj||Slavonija Požega N||Mosor||Virovitica N|
|2003–04||Naftaš S||Draga||Višnjevac||Mosor S||Bjelovar N|
|2004–05||Karlovac S||Istra Pula||Graničar N||Konavljanin||Mladost Molve N|
|2005–06||Moslavina †||Jadran Poreč||Croatia Đakovo||GOŠK Dubrovnik||Suhopolje|
|Season||Division West||Division East||Division South||Also promoted|
|2006–07||Vinogradar †||Slavonac CO †||Trogir †||Segesta|
|2007–08||Karlovac †||Suhopolje †||Hrvace||Lokomotiva, Međimurje, Junak Sinj|
|2008–09||Rudeš †||Grafičar Vodovod||RNK Split †||Lučko, Vukovar '91|
|2009–10||Gorica †||Lipik||Dugopolje †||HAŠK, MV Croatia|
|2010–11||Radnik Sesvete †||Podravina||Raštane|
|Season||Division West||Division East||Division North||Division South||Also promoted|
|2011–12||Zelina †||BSK Bijelo Brdo||Mladost Ždralovi||Raštane||Primorac 1929|
|Season||Division Center||Division West||Division East||Division South||Division North||Also promoted|
|2012–13||Segesta †||Grobničan||Slavonija||Val||Mladost Ždralovi|
|2013–14||Maksimir||Opatija||BSK Bijelo Brdo||Imotski †||Međimurje||Bistra †|
|Season||Division West||Division East||Division South|
|2014–15||GNK Dinamo II †||Slavija||Šibenik †|
|2015–16||Novigrad †||Međimurje||Solin †|
- 1. a : Although Hrvatski Vitez of Posedarje finished top of the 1999–2000 South Division, they were demoted for unknown reasons and competed in the 4th league the following season. South Division runners-up Imotska Krajina were promoted to 2. HNL instead.
- 2. a : Although NK Hrvace finished top of the 2007–2008 South Division, they did not applied for promotion so South Division runners-up Junak of Sinj were promoted to 2. HNL instead.
- 3. a : Although NK Grafičar Vodovod finished top of the 2008–2009 East Division, they did not applied for promotion. As only fifth placed NK Vukovar '91 met the needed criteria they were promoted to 2. HNL instead.
- 4. a : Although NK Lipik finished top of the 2009–2010 East Division, they did not applied for promotion so East Division runners-up MV Croatia of Slavonski Brod were promoted to 2. HNL instead.
- 5. a : Although NK Podravina Ludbreg finished top of the 2010–2011 East Division and applied for promotion, they subsequently refused promotion for financial reasons. No one from East Division was promoted to 2. HNL instead.
- 6. a : Although NK Raštane finished top of the 2010–2011 South Division, their application for 2. HNL was refused because of lack of appropriate infrastructure. No one from South Division was promoted to 2. HNL instead.
- 7. a : Although NK BSK Bijelo Brdo finished top of the 2011–2012 East Division, they did not applied for promotion. No one from East Division was promoted to 2. HNL instead.
- 8. a : Although NK Mladost Ždralovi finished top of the 2011–2012 North Division, they did not applied for promotion. No one from North Division was promoted to 2. HNL instead.
- 9. a : Although NK Raštane finished top of the 2011–2012 South Division, they did not applied for promotion so South Division runners-up NK Primorac 1929 of Stobreč were promoted to 2. HNL instead.
- 10. a : Although Grobničan finished top of the 2012–2013 West Division, they did not applied for promotion. No one from West Division was promoted to 2. HNL instead.
- 11. a : Although Slavonija finished top of the 2012–2013 East Division, their application for 2. HNL was refused because of lack of appropriate infrastructure. No one from East Division was promoted to 2. HNL instead.
- 12. a : Although NK Mladost Ždralovi finished top of the 2012–2013 North Division, they did not applied for promotion. No one from North Division was promoted to 2. HNL instead.
- 13. a : HNK Val lose against Segesta in play-off.
- 14. a : Although Maksimir, Opatija and BSK Bijelo Brdo finished top of their respective 2013–2014 divisions, they have not applied for promotion. Međimurje, champion of 3. HNL North Division, applied for promotion but did not met necessary financial and infrastructural requirements.
The following teams are competing in 2016-17, split according to regional division.
| Bedem Ivankovo | Belišće | Bjelovar | Bijelo Brdo | Đakovo-Croatia | NK Koprivnica | Marsonia | Međimurje Čakovec | Mladost Ždralovi | Oriolik Oriovac | Osijek II | Slavija Pleternica | Slavonija Požega | Varaždin | Višnjevac | Vukovar
| Croatia Zmijavci | GOŠK Dubrovnik | Hajduk Split II | Hrvace | Jadran LP | Junak | Kamen Ivanbegovina | Neretva Metković | Neretvanac Opuzen | Omiš | Orkan | Otok | Primorac Stobreč | Primorac Biograd | Val Kaštel Stari | Zadar | Zmaj Blato | Zmaj Makarska
- "3. HNL". Soccerway. Perform. Retrieved 7 November 2016.