Last updated : Friday, 08 December 2023
The National League is the top level of the non-league football pyramid in England. It is a single division of 24 teams, and is currently sponsored by Vanarama. The league was founded in 1979 as the Football Conference, and was renamed the National League in 2015.
The National League is not the highest level of football in England, as that is the Premier League. However, it is the highest level of semi-professional football in England. The top two teams in the National League are promoted to League Two, the fourth tier of English football.
The National League was founded in 1979 as the Football Conference. The league was created as a way to provide a more structured and professional environment for non-league clubs. The Football Conference was initially a single division of 22 teams, but this was increased to 24 teams in 1987.
In 2004, the Football Conference was renamed the National League. The name change was made to reflect the increasing professionalism of the league. The National League has continued to grow in popularity in recent years, and is now one of the most watched non-league leagues in the world.
Promotion and relegation
The top two teams in the National League are promoted to League Two, the fourth tier of English football. The bottom four teams in the National League are relegated to the National League North or National League South, the two regional divisions at the sixth tier of English football.
There is also a playoff system for the third to seventh placed teams in the National League. The winners of the playoff compete in a two-legged final against the 18th placed team in League Two for a place in the next season's League Two.