Behind the Scenes: Football Leagues in England

Football in England has been around for centuries, and the number of competitive leagues has grown. There are 57 football leagues ranging from top-tier competition to local semi-professional leagues. 

The English football league system has a unique form of team competition because of its thrilling principle of promotion and relegation. No matter your level of play; there’s an opportunity for you to get involved in a game of football. 

Let’s find out how the football pyramid works to understand where each level of play fits in. 

Overview of the English Football League Pyramid System 

The “pyramid” format allows all teams to compete, making games unpredictable and exciting. Teams can move up or down the leagues based on how they do each season. It’s this ever-evolving hierarchy that makes this system so exciting to follow.

If you’re new to the English Football League pyramid system, deciphering it may seem daunting. However, at its core, it is a relatively simple concept. 

Each season’s points determine promotion and relegation for each division’s 24 clubs. At the end of each season, the top teams are promoted to higher divisions, while the bottom teams are relegated.

It is a revolutionary system that can shake up even the most established clubs and gives any team a shot at reaching its dreams. To work your way up to the top, check out the different tiers of the English football system.

🎉 Fun Fact:
Liverpool is England’s most successful football club, with 71 titles. The club has won 19 league titles, 9 League Cups, 8 FA Cups, and 16 FA Community Shields. At the international level, they have 3 EUFA Cups, 1 FIBA Club World Cup title, 4 EUFA Super Cup trophies, and 6 European titles. 

The Top 5 Leagues in English Football Pyramid

Among the 57 leagues that make up the English Football Pyramid, there are five main leagues, also known as the professional leagues. These leagues operate in the principle of promotion and relegation between each league at different levels.  

Get to know the professional leagues up close. Here are the first five tiers of the pyramid and the most popular with fans and players:

1. Premier League

This is England’s highest level of competition, consisting of 20 teams competing for the grand prize. It features some of the world’s best players and is globally broadcast with millions of weekly viewers. At the end of each season, 3 teams with the lowest points will go to the Championship.

2. Championship

Being England’s second-highest division of professional football, the Championship is fiercely contested by 24 clubs making their way up to the elite league. It is one of the most watched and followed competitions where you can experience the intensity of who will make it to the Premier League.

💡 Did You Know?
Goalkeeper Peter Cech has the cleanest sheet in history. He joined Premier League in 2004 by signing with the Blues and made 333 appearances defending the net. 

3. League 1

This is another exciting 24-team league offering competitive match days with plenty at stake. Relegation and promotion battles are common. The top two are promoted immediately. The next four compete in a play-off, with the winner earning the third promotion position. The bottom four teams are demoted.

4. League 2

Tier 2 is the competition of dreams for most professional football clubs, as it offers a chance to proceed to the higher tiers. 24 teams battle for the three spots available for automatic promotion to the next tier, while four more teams battle through the playoffs. Relegation is a definite possibility for those at the bottom of the pack.

5. National League

The National League is the summit of the non-league system. It comprises 24 teams playing to get promoted directly to the league above. Winners get a golden ticket to the big time, while the bottom 4 teams will tumble down to one of either the North or South divisions.

The Different Tiers of the English Football System

The Different Tiers of the English Football System

While the structure of the EFL system may look complicated, it’s quite simple when you break it down.

Here’s a list of all the tiers in the English Football League System:

  • Tier 1 Premier League: The top division of professional football in England, where some of the biggest names in the sport compete.
  • Tier 2 English Football League Championship: It has 24 teams competing through a 46-game season for a place in the Premier League.
  • Tier 3 English Football League One: Consists generally of 24 teams and is considered one of the most physically demanding leagues as will be 4 teams relegated at the end of the season.
  • Tier 4 English Football League Two: England’s lowest tier of professional football, with 24 teams battling for promotion or avoiding relegation to the National League.
  • Tier 5 National League: Teams on this tier are at the highest semi-professional level, where only 1 team will gain promotion at the end of each season.
  • Tier 6 Northern/Southern National League: The two regional leagues of this division consist of 22 teams each, who compete for promotion to the National League.
  • Tier 7 Isthmian League Premier Division: This tier contains 22 competing teams and 16 relegations teams each season.
  • Tiers 8, 9, 10, and 11 Amateur Division: These bottom four tiers are deemed amateur divisions but still feature many talented teams looking forward to making it further up one day.

The Richest League in England

The English Premier League is considered the richest football league in the world. According to Deloitte’s 2021-22 Money League, 11 of the top 20 wealthiest clubs by revenue are from this esteemed league

The English Premier League is a source of great entertainment and has a positive economic impact on the country. The league attracts talented players, coaches, and executives that help drive investment and attract tourists to the host cities of clubs. 

A recently-confirmed report by EY stated that Premier League football contributed a staggering £ 7.6 billion to the UK economy in the 2019-2020 season. This money created jobs and opportunities and helped businesses in the sports and entertainment industries throughout the country.

👍 Helpful Articles:
Dive into the football world by learning some incredible facts. Check out these articles:
The Top 10 Tallest Football Players in the World5 Best Sporting Directors in Football in 2023The Top 10 Football Clubs with Most Fans

Final Thoughts

These 57 football leagues in England are significant for developing players and clubs. They create a pathway for aspiring footballers to reach their potential.

Its exciting and competitive atmosphere keeps the games unpredictable and engaging. As one of the most profitable sports leagues, it is clear that English football significantly impacts its citizens. 

FAQs on England’s Football Leagues

What are the benefits of learning about the various football leagues in England?

Understanding England’s football pyramid can help predict which teams are more likely to be promoted or relegated. It will also help you appreciate the different levels of talent and skill in each tier, and if you are betting on the sport, this knowledge can help you make more informed decisions.

How do teams move up and down the football leagues in England?

Teams that finish at the top of their division earn promotions, while those that end at the bottom get relegated. Either way, teams can experience different divisions and compete against other opponents.

What are some of the most interesting facts about the football leagues in England?

One fascinating fact about English football is its fourth-place ranking among global professional sports leagues, closely following Basketball, American Football, and Baseball. 

It is also the world’s most-watched league, with 3.2 billion viewers during the 2018-19 season. Lastly, it is one of the oldest professional leagues in the world, having been established in 1888.


My Football Facts 

Football History 


Premier League 

WH News 

Daily Mail 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *