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Welsh football league system

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Welsh football league system




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

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 League of Wales, 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 Gwent, 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 local leagues in Newport, East Gwent, Central Gwent and North Gwent....)

The South Wales FA area is more complicated however, as this region has managed to have 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:




    League of Wales
    (Principality Welsh Premier League)
    18 clubs


    Cymru Alliance
    (Huws Gray Fitlock Cymru Alliance)
    18 clubs

    Welsh Football League First Division
    (MacWhirter Welsh League First Division)
    18 clubs


    Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) Premier Division
    16 clubs

    Welsh Alliance League
    (Pentraeth Honda Welsh Alliance League)
    15 clubs

    Mid Wales League
    (Spar Mid Wales League)
    16 clubs

    Welsh Football League Second Division
    (MacWhirter Welsh League Second Division)
    18 clubs



    Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) First Division
    15 clubs


    Gwynedd League
    (Silver Star Holidays League )
    16 clubs

    Clwyd League premier Division
    (Mackenzie Jones Clywd League Premier Division)
    13 clubs

    Aberystwyth League First Division
    (Cambrian Tyres League First Division)
    13 clubs

    Montgomer yshire League First Division
    (JT Hughes Montgomer yshire League Division One)
    12 clubs

    Cardiganshi re League First Division
    (L'Hirondell e League First Division)
    ?? clubs

    Mid Wales South League
    (Castle Carv League)
    ?? clubs

    Welsh Football League Third Division
    (MacWhirter Welsh League Third Division)
    18 clubs


    Many more regional leagues


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