English Football League System
The English Football League System is a hierarchical structure with 4 tiers on the top that form the league football. These include Premiership (which is the top division), descending down to Championship and then League One and League Two. Below these 4 tiers, is another pyramid of football divisions which is called the non-league football. The entire system is based on the concept of promotion and relegation between leagues at different levels, which allows a non-league football club to rise and make it into league football and ultimately to the top of the system. Though, in practice this is very unlikely.
Each year, football clubs join and leave leagues, so the exact number of clubs keep changing from year to year. Also at the end of every season, league position for each club is determined based on the points earned by the team and the promotion and relegation rules applicable to the league. Generally, a team scores 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and nil points for losing a game.
Subject to future changes, the pyramid structure of the English Football League system, as of 2012, is as follows:
The 2012–13 Premier League is referred to as the Barclays Premier League. It comprises of 20 clubs. No promotions are applicable here, while there are 3 relegations to the Championship league. The team that finishes the highest becomes the league champion. The list of clubs in the 2012-2013 Premiership is available here – Premiership
The 2012–13 Football League Championship is known as the Npower Football League Championship. A total of 24 teams participate in this league. 3 promotions and 3 relegations are applicable to this league. The list of clubs in the 2012-2013 Championship is available here – Championship
The 2012–13 Football League One is called the Npower Football League One. It comprises of 24 participating clubs with a total of 3 promotions and 4 relegations applicable. Here’s the list of 2012-2013 League One clubs – League One
The 2012–13 Football League Two is referred to as the Npower Football League Two. There are 24 clubs in this league and 4 promotions while 2 relegations are applicable. Here’s the list of 2012-2013 League Two clubs – League Two
The Conference or Blue Square Bet Premier as it is called, is the ‘top’ division in the pyramid of Non-League Football. It comprises of 24 clubs. The 2 teams placed top in this division automatically gain entry into the football league. The Football Conference consisted of only one division up until 2004, but later expanded to include Conference North and Conference South that now form the 6th tier of the English Football pyramid structure. The list of clubs in the 2012-2013 Conference National is available here – Conference National