British Football League System

The English football league is known worldwide as the ‘football pyramid’ and is basically just that- it involves a network of leagues that creates the larger world of football. It is men’s only soccer and brings different association clubs under one umbrella. The teams are mostly English but there are also a handful of teams from Wales and one from Guernsey that is permitted to enter and participate in the league as well.

The pyramid structure becomes evident as players can be promoted or demoted between the various tiers and leagues (in different levels/tiers). This can be viewed in different ways, but most view it as an optimistic, motivational structure whereby players can start at the bottom and literally navigate their way to the very top of the pyramid. Not just players, but teams can rise too. In theory, this is great, in practice, it takes a significant amount of time to rise to the top of the pyramid by rising to the top of each individual league, one at a time. To put it into perspective, there are 140 leagues and over 480 divisions and the number of clubs actually differs from year to year depending on the participation of both players, coaches as well as the availability of facilities.

The lowest recognised level of the pyramid is level 11, so anything lower than that (i.e. 12 or lower) is not recognised as an official level and therefore is not technically part of the pyramid.

The female leagues have only nine tiers but work in a similar way, with a similar structure. This pyramid structure has worked for many decades but continues to evolve and develop to accommodate different clubs, different needs, and different societal norms. It is estimated that tiers will continue to be added and removed, but it can also be assumed that the pyramid structure is here to stay.