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Football in Wales : League System

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Premier League
The Cymru Premier, formerly named the League of Wales and the Welsh Premier League, was founded in 1992 as Wales did not have a national league at that time. Teams relegated from the Cymru Premier are relegated to the FAW Championship, which is split into two regional leagues, the FAW Championship North (Northern Wales) and the FAW Championship South (Southern Wales). Originally the Premier league had 18 teams, but from the 2010–11 season onwards there have been only 12, following a proposal by the clubs in the League.

Second Tier and onwards
Northern Wales
Northern Wales has a league at Tier 2 level - the FAW Championship North & Mid, which 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 all of the north except Wrexham) 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 given suitable ground facilities.

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.

Southern Wales
In the south, the Tier 2 level league is the FAW Championship South & Mid - which has promotion from the two divisions of the Welsh Football League (Division 2 and Division 3) - this covers the whole of the south Wales geographical area, and it is not 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).

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