Ardal Leagues

The Ardal Leagues[1] are a football league in Wales. The word "ardal" translates as "district" in English. They have clubs with amateur/semi-professional status and sit at the third level of the Welsh football league system. The first year of their operation would have been 2020–21 but the 2020–21 Ardal North East season, 2020–21 Ardal North West season, 2020–21 Ardal South East season and 2020–21 Ardal South West season were all cancelled.[2] The inaugural season was moved to 2021–22. The creation of the leagues mark the first time the Football Association of Wales owns and is administering tier 3 of the Welsh league system. These changes follow from a review of the Welsh football pyramid.[3] To be eligible clubs need to meet the criteria for FAW tier 3 certification.

Ardal Leagues
Founded2020
Country Wales
Divisions2
Number of teams64
Level on pyramid3
(Welsh football league system)
Promotion to
Relegation toMid Wales Football League
North East Wales Football League
North Wales Coast East Football League
North Wales Coast West Football League
Gwent County League
South Wales Alliance League
West Wales Premier League
Domestic cup(s)Ardal North Cup
Ardal South Cup

The league is split into two leagues, covering North and South Wales. Both Northern and Southern leagues have two regionally-based sections of sixteen clubs each:

  • Ardal Northern
    • Ardal North East (2021–22 Ardal NE season)
    • Ardal North West (2021–22 Ardal NW season)
  • Ardal Southern
    • Ardal South East (2021–22 Ardal SE season)
    • Ardal South West (2021–22 Ardal SW season)

The winners of each league are promoted to either the Cymru North or the Cymru South as long as they meet the FAW's tier 2 certification criteria. Subject to also meeting these criteria, the four runners-up clubs enter play-off matches with two of the clubs also gaining promotion[4] (one from the north and one from the south).

The Ardal Leagues structure replaced the former tier 3 leagues: Welsh Football League Division One, Mid Wales Football League Division One, Welsh Alliance League Division One and the Welsh National League Premier Division, leagues based in South Wales, Mid Wales, North West Wales and North East Wales respectively.

Relegation from the Ardal Leagues is to six local tier 4 leagues, with three clubs relegated from each of the tier 3 leagues at the end of the season. The tier 4 leagues are run by each of the Area Associations of Welsh football, the West Wales Football Association, the South Wales Football Association, the Gwent County Football Association, the Central Wales Football Association, the North East Wales Football Association and the North Wales Coast Football Association.


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