Welsh football league system

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The Welsh football league system (or pyramid) is a series of football leagues with regular promotion and relegation between them.

Contents

While most Welsh clubs play in the Welsh pyramid and most clubs in that pyramid are Welsh, five Welsh clubs play in England, and four English clubs play in Wales.

Structure of Welsh football

Tier 1: Cymru Premier

At the top is the Cymru Premier, which is the only national league in Wales and is run by the FAW.

Tier 2: Cymru North and Cymru South

Since 2019–20, the Football Association of Wales runs the second tier for the first time after a review of the Welsh league pyramid. Tier 2 is split into a north and central Wales league, Cymru North, and a corresponding league for south Wales. Cymru South. The champions of each of these leagues can be promoted to the Cymru Premier, subject to acceptable ground facilities, and if the champions cannot meet the criteria the runner-up team may be considered.

The Cymru North replaced the Cymru Alliance whilst the Cymru South incorporated most of the clubs of the then highest division of the Welsh Football League.

Tier 3: Ardal Leagues

Since the 2020–21 season, the Football Association of Wales has run the third tier after a review of the Welsh league pyramid. Tier 3, called the Ardal Leagues is split into a Northern and Southern League, with each league divided into two regionally based divisions, giving North East, North West, South East and South West leagues, each consisting of a maximum of 16 clubs. In an attempt to avoid dividing the current Mid-Wales teams across all four leagues, the North-East league contains a large contingent of the Mid-Wales teams. The North-West league contains the sides near the North Wales coast. To be eligible to join the league, clubs need to meet the criteria for FAW tier 3 certification.

The Ardal Leagues structure replaces the former tier 3 leagues: Welsh Football League Division One, Mid Wales Football League Division One, Welsh Alliance League Division 1 and the Welsh National League Premier Division, leagues based in South Wales, Mid Wales, North West Wales and North East Wales respectively.

There are three relegated clubs from each of the tier 3 leagues at the end of each season.

Tier 4: Area leagues

Below this are six local tier 4 leagues, each run by one of the area associations of Welsh football:

The winners of each league are eligible for promotion to the Ardal Leagues subject to meeting FAW tier 3 certification. In the event that winners do not meet the criteria, the runner-up is also eligible for promotion, again subject to meeting the same tier 3 certification requirements.

Lower tier leagues

North Wales

Below the North Wales Coast East and West there are Division One leagues at tier 5 and North East Wales Football League has a championship division, also at tier 5.

Central Wales

In this area there are two leagues at tier 5 covering North Ceredigion and South Ceredigion and two leagues covering North Powys and South Powys as well as the Aberystwyth League. These offer promotion to the tier 4 Mid Wales League East and West divisions.

South Wales

Local leagues are affiliated to Gwent FA, South Wales FA, and West Wales FA respectively, with promotion up the pyramid possible.

In the Gwent Football Association Area, clubs from the Newport and District, East Gwent, Gwent Central and North Gwent leagues have a promotion pathway to Division Two of the Gwent County League (tier 6). Champions (or runners-up) of these leagues are eligible for promotion if they satisfy FAW criteria.

The South Wales Alliance League offers a promotion pathway to leagues affiliated to the South Wales Football Association. Champions of local leagues in the towns and cities of South Wales play off to be promoted into the South Wales Alliance Division Two (tier 6), subject to meeting licensing requirements.

The West Wales FA area has had its own Premier League since its creation in 2020, having previously having been the only FA area to not have one. Promotion to this tier 4 league is possible from the champions of the Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Swansea Senior and Neath & District Leagues, subject to meeting FAW licensing requirements. The top divisions of each of these leagues are at tier 5.

Current system

From the 2020–21 season, the following structure will follow. For each division, its official name and number of clubs is given:

LevelLeague(s)/Division(s)

1

Cymru Premier
12 clubs

2

Cymru North
16 clubs
Cymru South
16 clubs

3

Ardal Leagues
North East and North West

16 clubs each
Ardal Leagues
South West

16 clubs
Ardal Leagues
South East

16 clubs

4

North East Wales Football League
Premier Division
16 clubs
North Wales Coast East League Premier Division
16 clubs
North Wales Coast West League Premier Division
16 clubs
Mid Wales Football League East Division
16 clubs
Mid Wales Football League West Division
16 clubs
West Wales Premier League
12 clubs
South Wales Alliance League Premier Division
16 clubs
Gwent County League Premier Division
14 clubs

5

North East Wales Football League
Championship
North Wales Coast East League Division One
16 clubs
North Wales Coast West League Division One
16 clubs
Mid Wales South League
12 clubs
Montgomeryshire League Division One
10 clubs
Ceredigion League Division One
11 clubs
Pembrokeshire League Division One
12 clubs
Carmarthenshire League Premier Division
14 clubs
Swansea Senior League Division One
12 clubs
Neath & District League Premier Division
10 clubs
South Wales Alliance League Division One
16 clubs
Gwent County League Division One
12 clubs

6

Montgomeryshire League Division Two
10 clubs
Ceredigion League Division Two
9 clubs
Pembrokeshire League Division Two
12 clubs
Carmarthenshire League Division One
14 clubs
Swansea Senior League Division Two
12 clubs
Neath & District League Division One
9 clubs
South Wales Alliance League Division Two
16 clubs
Gwent County League Division Two
11 clubs

7

Ceredigion League Division Three
6 clubs
Pembrokeshire League Division Three
12 clubs
Carmarthenshire League Division Two
12 clubs
Swansea Senior League Division Three
16 clubs
Neath & District League Division Two
10 clubs
Aberdare Valley League Premier Division Bridgend & District League Premier Division Cardiff & District League Premier Division Cardiff Combination League Premier Division Merthyr & District League Premier Division Port Talbot Football League Premier Division Rhondda & District League Premier Division Taff Ely & Rhymney Valley Alliance League Premier Division Vale of Glamorgan League Premier Division North Gwent League Premier Division
8 clubs
Gwent Central League Division One
11 clubs
Newport and District League Premier X Division
7 clubs
East Gwent League Division One
9 clubs

8

Pembrokeshire League Division Four
12 clubs
Aberdare Valley League Division One Bridgend & District League Division One Cardiff & District League Division One Cardiff Combination League Division One Port Talbot Football League Division One Rhondda & District League Championship Taff Ely & Rhymney Valley Alliance League Division One Vale of Glamorgan League Division One Gwent Central League Division Two
9 clubs
Newport and District League Premier Y Division
12 clubs
East Gwent League Division Two
9 clubs

9

Pembrokeshire League Division Five
11 clubs
Bridgend & District League Division Two Cardiff & District League Division Two Cardiff Combination League Division Two Vale of Glamorgan League Division Two Newport and District League Division One
11 clubs

10

Cardiff & District League Division Three Newport and District League Division Two
11 clubs

See also

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