Sunday, 14 Jul 2024

The Extensive English Football League Pyramid System

how many games in league 1

The English football pyramid is a vast and intricate system that encompasses every part of the country. It fuels the professional leagues, with the Premier League standing at the pinnacle. In this article, we will break down the entire English football league system to give you a comprehensive understanding of each club and league’s role within this expansive structure.

What does EFL stand for?

EFL stands for English Football League, which is the first football league pyramid of its kind. The EFL has served as a template for nations worldwide, shaping and evolving into the major leagues they are today. The father of modern-day football, William McGregor, is credited with founding the English Football League in 1888. McGregor pioneered the concept of a league competition, bringing together 12 prominent clubs to arrange home and away fixtures on a season-by-season basis.

How many English leagues are there?

There are a total of 57 different leagues in England, comprising 84 divisions within the English Football League pyramid. These divisions serve as a feeder system for the higher leagues, creating a comprehensive structure that spans the entire country.

Exploring the different football leagues

The football leagues in England are categorized into professional, semi-professional, and amateur tiers. The top professional league is the Premier League, followed by the Championship, League One, and League Two.

Beyond League Two, we have the National League, which acts as the first semi-professional league. The National League consists of two divisions: the National League and the National League North/South. These divisions cover the two halves of the country.

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Moving further down the pyramid, we have step seven, which comprises leagues that represent the four regional corners of the country:

  • The Northern Premier League
  • Southern League Central Division
  • Southern League South Division
  • Isthmian League Premier Division

Beyond step seven, there are countless semi-professional and amateur leagues that span the entire country, forming the foundation of the English football pyramid.

English Football League Pyramid

Highlights of the Professional Leagues

Premier League

The Premier League is the most prestigious event in the English Football League. It features 20 teams competing for the grand prize, with the bottom three teams being relegated. Notable facts about the Premier League include:

  • 20 teams
  • 3 relegations
  • Most titles: Manchester United – 13
  • Iconic moment: Sergio Aguero wins the league for Manchester City for the first time in the 2011/12 season.


The Championship is the second most important event in the EFL, comprising 24 teams. The top two teams are promoted to the Premier League, while the next four compete in the play-offs for the third promotion spot. The bottom three teams are relegated. Key details about the Championship are:

  • 24 teams
  • 3 promotions
  • 3 relegations
  • Most titles: Newcastle, Norwich, Sunderland, Reading, Wolves – 2 each
  • Iconic moment: Troy Deeney winner in the play-off semi-final in 2012/13.

League One

League One consists of 24 teams competing for promotion. The top two winning teams are automatically promoted, and the next four compete for the third promotion spot in the play-offs. The bottom four teams are relegated. Notable facts about League One include:

  • 24 teams
  • 3 promotions
  • 4 relegations
  • Most titles: Wigan – 3
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League Two

League Two is comprised of 24 teams vying for promotion. The top three teams with the most points are automatically promoted, while the next four teams compete for the fourth promotion spot in the play-offs. The bottom two teams are relegated. Key highlights of League Two are:

  • 24 teams
  • 4 promotions
  • 2 relegations
  • Most titles: Chesterfield, Swindon – 2 each

National League

The National League acts as the bridge between semi-professional and professional leagues. The winners of the National League are promoted, while the next six teams compete in the play-offs for the second promotion spot. The bottom four teams are relegated to the North or South divisions. Important details about the National League include:

  • 24 teams
  • 2 promotions
  • 4 relegations

National League North & South

The National League North and National League South divisions are split geographically. Each division comprises 22 teams. The winners of each division are promoted to the National League, while the next six teams compete in the play-offs for the second promotion spot. The bottom four teams in each division are relegated. If there is an uneven number of teams in the North and South divisions, teams are transferred between the two divisions based on their geographical location until there is an even number. Key points about the National League North and South are:

  • 44 teams
  • 4 promotions
  • 8 relegations

Northern & Southern Premier Division, Southern Premier Central, and Isthmian League

At tier 7, four leagues run in parallel: the Northern Premier League Division, Southern Football League Premier Central, Southern Football League Premier South, and Isthmian League Premier Division. Each league features 22 teams competing to become champions and earn automatic promotion. The next four teams in each division compete in the play-offs for the second promotion spot. The bottom four teams in each division are relegated to a level 8 division. Similar to the National League North and South, teams may be transferred between divisions to ensure an even number. Key details about these leagues are:

  • 88 teams
  • 8 promotions
  • 16 relegations
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What are the main football leagues in England?

The main football leagues in England are the Premier League, Championship, League One, League Two, and the National League. These leagues form the professional and semi-professional tiers of English football.

How many games in the Championship?

Teams competing in the EFL play each other twice a season, meaning that the Championship has a season of 46 games for each of the 24 participating teams. The Championship is known for its fiercely contested matches, making it one of Europe’s most difficult leagues to secure promotion from.

How many EFL teams get promoted?

In the Premier League, three teams are relegated every season. In the Championship, three teams get promoted, while League One and League Two each promote two teams. The National League promotes two teams, with a further promotion spot determined by the play-offs.

What is needed for a team to join/qualify for the league?

A team qualifies for a league by earning promotion from the league below. Teams that perform well and accumulate the most points are likely to be promoted, while those with the fewest points may face relegation. Brand new teams must approach the FA to determine the league they will qualify for, usually starting at a lower level in the pyramid.

We hope this guide has provided you with a detailed understanding of the English football league system, highlighting the various leagues and their unique characteristics. For more information and football betting odds, visit Pesstatsdatabase.