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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

Structure of Welsh football

At the top is the Welsh Premier League, which is the only national league in Wales. Below it is the second tier of leagues, each covering roughly half the country. The south of the country is covered by the Welsh Football League while the north and centre of the country is covered by the Cymru Alliance. The champions of each of these leagues can be promoted to the Welsh Premier League, subject to acceptable ground facilities, and if the champions cannot meet the criteria the runner-up team may be considered.

Second and lower tier leagues (North Wales)

In the north of the country the Cymru Alliance has only one division, and has a feeder league structure of its own with three regional leagues feeding it -- the Mid Wales League (covering Brecknockshire, Radnorshire, Montgomeryshire and Ceredigion) the Welsh Alliance League (covering most of the old counties of Clwyd and Gwynedd) and the Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) (covering the small region around Wrexham). Again, the champions or runners-up of these leagues can be promoted into the Cymru Alliance, given suitable grounds.

Below these third tier leagues are even more localised leagues: in Central Wales there are four leagues feeding into the Mid Wales League (covering Ceredigion, Montgomeryshire, Mid Wales South, and Aberystwyth areas respectively), while below the Welsh Alliance there are the Gwynedd League and the Clwyd League and these even have feeder leagues of their own such as the Anglesey League. The Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) has three lower divisions of its own but no feeder leagues below it.

Second and lower tier leagues (South Wales)

In the south, the Welsh Football League has three divisions all covering the whole of the south Wales geographical area, and it isn't until the fifth tier of the pyramid that local leagues appear. Promotion to, and relegation from the Welsh League is structured, as in the north, on three regional football associations (Gwent FA, South Wales FA, and West Wales FA). Each can send one promoted team into the Welsh Football League. This is straightforward enough in the Gwent FA area, where there is one senior league, the Gwent County League, whose champions (or runners-up) are eligible, if they satisfy Welsh Football League criteria. (Below the three divisions of the Gwent County, there are the Newport and District, East Gwent, Central Gwent and North Gwent leagues)

The South Wales FA area is more complicated however, as this region has two senior leagues of identical status covering the same area, each with two divisions - the South Wales Senior League and the South Wales Amateur League - often the champions of these leagues have to play off for the single promotion place to the Welsh Football League. Below these two leagues are local leagues in the towns and cities of South Wales, the champions of which can confusingly be promoted into either of the higher leagues.

The West Wales FA area is the only one not to have set up a senior league in its area - this means that there are four local leagues (Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Swansea and Neath & District) with all their champions potentially having to play-off for the one available promotion place. However as few west Wales clubs can face the prospect of the travelling implications of moving up to the Welsh Football League, this four-way play-off idea is theory rather than practice. The latest clubs to gain promotion from this region were Llansawel in 2006 (from the Neath & District League), West End in 2005 (from the Swansea Senior League), Ystradgynlais in 2004 (from the Neath & District League), Cwmamman United in 2002 (from the Neath & District League) and Garden Village in 1999 (from the Carmarthenshire League).

Current system

For each division, its official name, sponsorship name (which often differs radically from its official name) and number of clubs is given:

Level

League(s)/Division(s)

1

Welsh Premier League
18 clubs

2

Cymru Alliance
17 clubs

Welsh Football League Division One
18 clubs

3

Welsh National League Premier Division
16 clubs

Welsh Alliance League
17 clubs

Mid Wales League
16 clubs

Welsh Football League Division Two
18 clubs

4

Welsh National League Division One
16 clubs

Gwynedd League
16 clubs

Clwyd League Premier Division
13 clubs

Aberystwyth League Division One
12 clubs

Montgomeryshire League Division One
14 clubs

Cardiganshire League Division One
12 clubs

Mid Wales South League
16 clubs

Welsh Football League Division Three
18 clubs

5

Anglesey League

10 clubs

Caernarfon & District League First Division

13 clubs

Clwyd League Division One

13 clubs

Aberystwyth League Division Two
12 clubs

Montgomeryshire League Division Two
15 clubs

Cardiganshire League Division Two
11 clubs

Gwent County League Division One
16 clubs

South Wales Amateur League Division One
14 clubs

South Wales Senior League Division One

Carmarthenshire League Premier Division

Neath & District League Premier Division

Pembrokeshire League Division One

Swansea & District League Division One

6

Caernarfon & District League Second Division

10 clubs

Clwyd League Division Two

14 clubs

Gwent County League Division Two
14 clubs

South Wales Amateur League Division Two
16 clubs

South Wales Senior League Division Two

Carmarthenshire League Division One

Neath & District League Division One

Pembrokeshire League Division Two

Swansea & District League Division Two

7

Gwent County League Division Three
14 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 & District League Premier Division

Rhondda & District League Premier Division

Taff Ely & Rhymney Valley Alliance League Premier Division

Vale of Glamorgan League Premier Division

Carmarthenshire League Division Two

Neath & District League Division Two

Pembrokeshire League Division Three

Swansea & District League Division Three

8

East Gwent League Division One

Gwent Central League Premier Division

Newport and District League Premier X Division

North Gwent League Premier Division

Aberdare Valley League Division One

Bridgend & District League Division One

Cardiff & District League Division One

Cardiff Combination League Division One

Merthyr & District League Division One

Port Talbot & District League Division One

Taff Ely & Rhymney Valley Alliance League Division One

Vale of Glamorgan League Division One

Carmarthenshire League Division Three

Swansea & District League Division Four

9

East Gwent League Division Two

Gwent Central League Division One

Newport and District League Division One

North Gwent League Division One

Cardiff Combination League Division Two

Vale of Glamorgan League Division Two

10

East Gwent League Division Three

Gwent Central League Division Two

Newport and District League Division Two

11

Newport and District League Division Three

Future change

The 18 Welsh Premier League clubs met on April 13, 2008 and agreed to a restructuring proposal put forward by League of Wales secretary John Deakin, which would reduce the top tier to 10 teams and will introduce a second division of 10 teams from 2010-11.[1]

References

See also

External links

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