The Local Football Pyramid

Background to the promotion play-off process

Most people involved in adult male football are familiar with the FA’s National League System (NLS) which provides a pyramid for teams to progress from Step 6 (Hellenic/Toolstation leagues) through to professional football at the highest level. Below the NLS, many counties have a Local Football Pyramid that enables a team to progress from entry level to an NLS Feeder League (formerly Step 7). For Clubs affiliated to Gloucestershire FA, the pyramid leading to an NLS Feeder League (Gloucestershire County League) was agreed in consultation with representatives from all affiliated leagues and has been in place for many years.


In 2022, a new promotion play-off process was introduced because there are now four local leagues (Bristol Premier Combination, Bristol & Suburban, Glos Northern Senior and Hellenic Div.2.) whose league champion teams are potentially eligible for promotion to the NLS Feeder League, but only two promotion places are available. This is in accordance with the two-up, two-down promotion-relegation link jointly agreed with the Glos County League.


The play-off process was developed and supported by local league representatives as we all felt the best way to determine promotion to the highest level of local football was on the field of play. As County FA, our role is to arrange the play-offs and provide playing facilities and match officials at no cost to the clubs or leagues involved.