English Football League Structure

The English football league is split between the professional divisions, called League Football, and the amateur (or semi-professional) leagues, called Non-League Football. The professional leagues are split between four divisions, with promotion and relegation between the leagues. The Non-League divisions are split on many levels, called Steps. The first seven steps are clearly defined, but below step seven, the league structure becomes more oblique. There are set rules for promotion and relegation between the Non-League divisions, as well as between the top Non-League division, the National Conference, and League 2 (the lowest of the professional divisions). Even if a team comes top of their division, it does not convey automatic rights for promotion, as the club must meet minimum standards for both facilities and financial standing.

Not all local leagues are affiliated to the Football Association, and hence are not included in the football structure, meaning its teams cannot be promoted or relegated outside of their own leagues. The Sunday Football leagues are also not affiliated.

The charts below document the league structure down to the seventh step only.