The Madejski Stadium in Reading. Photo: Colin Byers.
The Madejski Stadium in Reading. Photo: Colin Byers.

How the English Football Pyramid system works – step by step

From the bottom to the top, the English football league system explained
Share on whatsapp
Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on email
The Madejski Stadium in Reading. Photo: Colin Byers.
The Madejski Stadium in Reading. Photo: Colin Byers.

Sign up for Football in Berkshire’s regular email newsletter

The English Football Pyramid system is the structure of football divisions within the Football Associations remit and allows promotion and relegation from a County League right up to the Premier League.

The system effectively covers at least 11 levels, more commonly referred to as ‘steps’ of which there are at least seven.

For example, the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division is a level 9 league but step 5 overall while the Thames Valley Premier League is a step 7 league.

The pyramid system is currently undergoing a major adjustment and was due to be in place for the start of the 2020/21 season, however, the Covid-19 pandemic means those changes which will result in a pyramid of 1-2-4-8-16 divisions, will be in place for the start of the 2021/22 season. We’ve marked in the lists below where these divisions will go.

Currently, the system works as follows from the bottom to the top:

Level 1: FA Premier League

Level 2: EFL Championship

Level 3: EFL League One

Level 4: EFL League Two

Level 5, Step 1: National League

Level 6, Step 2: National League North, National League South

Level 7, Step 3:

  • Northern Premier League Premier Division
  • Southern League Premier Division Central
  • Southern League Premier Division South
  • Isthmian League Premier Division

Level 8, Step 4: (All divisions run in parallel)

  • Northern Premier League Division One East
  • Northern Premier League Division One West (the NPL will have a third division at this level from the 2021/22 season)
  • Southern League Division One Central
  • Southern League Division One South
  • Isthmian League Division One North
  • Isthmian League Division One South Central
  • Isthmian League Division One East

Level 9, Step 5: (All divisions run in parallel)

  • Combined Counties League Premier Division (The CCL will have a second Premier Division at this level for the start of the 2021/22 season)
  • Eastern Counties League Premier Division
  • Essex Senior League
  • Hellenic League Premier Division
  • Midland Football League Premier Division
  • North West Counties League Premier Division
  • Northern Counties East League Premier Division
  • Northern League Division One
  • Southern Combination Football League Premier Division
  • Southern Counties East League Premier Division
  • Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
  • United Counties League Premier Division
  • Wessex League Premier Division
  • Western League Premier Division

Level 10, Step 6: (All divisions run in parallel)

  • Combined Counties League Division One
  • East Midlands Counties League
  • Eastern Counties League Division One North
  • Eastern Counties League Division One South
  • Hellenic League Division One East
  • Hellenic League Division One West (the Hellenic League will reduce to one division at this level for 2021/22)
  • Midland Football League Division One
  • North West Counties League First Division North
  • North West Counties League First Division South
  • Northern Counties East League Division One
  • Northern League Division Two
  • South West Peninsula League Premier Division East
  • South West Peninsula League Premier Division West
  • Southern Combination Football League Division One
  • Southern Counties East League Division One
  • Spartan South Midlands League Division One
  • United Counties League Division One
  • Wessex League Division One
  • West Midlands (Regional) League Premier Division
  • Western League Division One

Level 11, Step 7: (All divisions run in parallel)

  • Anglian Combination Premier Division
  • Bedfordshire County Football League Premier Division
  • Cambridgeshire Football Association County League Premier Division
  • Central Midlands League North Division
  • Central Midlands League South Division
  • Cheshire Football League Premier Division
  • Dorset Premier League
  • Essex and Suffolk Border League Premier Division
  • Essex Olympian League Premier Division
  • Gloucestershire County League
  • Hampshire Premier League Senior Division
  • Hertfordshire Senior County League Premier Division
  • Humber Premier League Premier Division
  • Kent County League Premier Division
  • Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division
  • Lincolnshire League
  • Liverpool County Premier League Premier Division
  • Manchester League Premier Division
  • Middlesex County Football League Premier Division
  • Midland Football League Division Two
  • Northamptonshire Combination Football League Premier Division
  • Northern Football Alliance Premier Division
  • Nottinghamshire Senior League Senior Division
  • Oxfordshire Senior League Premier Division
  • Peterborough and District Football League Premier Division
  • Sheffield & Hallamshire County Senior Football League Premier Division
  • Somerset County League Premier Division
  • South West Peninsula League Division One East
  • South West Peninsula League Division One West
  • Southern Combination Football League Division Two
  • Spartan South Midlands League Division Two
  • Staffordshire County Senior League Premier Division
  • Suffolk and Ipswich League Senior Division
  • Surrey Elite Intermediate Football League Intermediate Division
  • North Riding Football League Premier Division
  • Thames Valley Premier Football League Premier Division
  • Wearside League
  • West Cheshire League Division One
  • West Lancashire Football League Premier Division
  • West Midlands (Regional) League Division One
  • West Riding County Amateur League Premier Division
  • West Yorkshire League Premier Division
  • Wiltshire League Premier Division
  • York League Premier Division

Main image: The Madejski Stadium in Reading by Colin Byers.

What do you think? 

RELATED TOPICS

Share this story

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Get the latest Berkshire football news to your inbox
FIB-Badgetransparent-dud.png