The English football league system is a series of interconnected leagues for men’s association football clubs in England. This league system is also recognized as the football pyramid of interconnected leagues for club football in England.
Aston Villa director William McGregor created the English Football League in 1888. The league was dominated by those clubs who had supported professionalism. The English football league system is also known as the football pyramid.
A pyramid of leagues is bound together by the principle of promotion and relegation. However, those that finish the season at the bottom of their league can find themselves sinking a level.
The top five levels of English football league contain one division each and are nationwide in scope. Further levels have progressively more parallel leagues that cover progressively smaller geographic areas.
Most of the leagues have more than one division. If we talk about the lower levels, the existence of leagues becomes intermittent. Further, there are leagues more than twenty layers below the Premier League in some of the densely populated areas.
On the other hand, some leagues are not officially part of the system. This is because these leagues don’t have formal agreements with other leagues, but are recognized at various levels by county football associations.
If clubs from these leagues feel they meet the appropriate standard of play and have suitable facilities, they apply to join a league that does form part of the system. Below the Premier League and English Football League, seven levels are known as the National League System. These come under the jurisdiction of The Football Association.
English Football League:
The English Football League (EFL) is divided into three divisions of 24 clubs each. About 72 clubs in the English Football League and 20 clubs in the Premier League are all full-time professional clubs.
Football West Amateur League Premier Division:
It is a regional Australian association football league. It comprises teams from Western Australia. The league sits at level 4 on the Western Australian league system and level 5 of the overall Australian league system.
This competition is administered by Football West. The Football West Amateur League operates with a promotion and relegation system, with relegation to the Amateur League Division 1, and potential for promotion to the State League Division 2 for the top team each year.
Amateur Football Leagues:
The Amateur Football Leagues is one of the biggest Leagues in Europe with around 75 Clubs and over 250 Teams playing football from September through to May. At the end of each season, over 50 trophies of The League are presented at the Amateur Football Leagues’ annual dinner.
The Amateur Version:
The amateur version of the game is not included in the English football league system. Such leagues are independent entities with no promotion or relegation involving the football pyramid. However, some amateur versions have been known to join pyramid leagues if they desire to progress higher.
The Amateur Football Combination is an adult male league affiliated to the Amateur Football Alliance. It was formed in 2002 by the merger of the Old Boys’ Football League (1907) and Southern Olympian League (1911).
The Amateur Football Combination is based in London. It is supposed to be the biggest adult football league in Europe. One of the biggest adult football leagues in Europe, the Amateur Football Combination includes around 100 clubs and 350 sides playing Saturday afternoons in and around London from September through to May.
The Amateur Football Combination comprises more than 1% of adult male 11-a-side football teams in England. The clubs and the members of the club include local authorities and businesses, as well as social and youth clubs.
Let’s take a look at the English Football League System, the Competitions and how it works!
Level 1: Premier League
It includes 20 teams. The teams that finish top at the end of the season are crowned the Premier League champions, while the bottom three teams are relegated. Since its inception in 1992, only six teams have won the Premier League; Blackburn Rovers, Arsenal, Leicester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, and Man City.
Level 2: English Football League Championship
It includes 24 teams. The top two teams win promotion automatically. The next four highest teams competing in play-offs with the winner gaining the third promotion spot. The final playoff match decides who picks up the third promotion place. It is known as the richest fame in football because of the extra money gained from playing in England’s top league. The bottom three teams are relegated.
Level 3: English Football League One
It includes 24 teams. The upper two teams win promotion automatically and the next four highest teams competing in play-offs with the winner gaining the third promotion spot. The lowest four teams are relegated.
Level 4: English Football League Two
It includes 24 teams. The highest three teams win promotion automatically and the next four highest teams competing in the playoffs with the winner gaining the fourth promotion spot. The bottom two teams are relegated!
Level 5: National League
The National League contains a national division of 24 clubs and is the lowest level with a single nationwide league. This division is a full-time professional competition, although some promoted clubs retain part-time status.
It includes 24 teams. The top teams are promoted with the next six teams competing in the playoffs with the winner gaining the second promotion spot. The bottom four teams are relegated to either North or South division as appropriate.
The league system has a classified format with promotion and relegation between leagues at different levels. These levels allow even the smallest club the possibility of ultimately rising to the very top of the system.
The English football league system contains more than 140 leagues, comprising more than 480 divisions. The number of clubs differs yearly because clubs join and leave leagues. However, more than 7,000 clubs are members of a league in the English football league system.