|Divisions||Premier Division |
Division Three (for reserve teams)
Division Four (for reserve teams)
|Number of teams||36 (for the purposes of the league system)|
|Level on pyramid||Level 11 (Premier Division)|
|Feeder to||North West Counties League|
|Promotion to||North West Counties League|
|Domestic cup(s)||Gilgryst Cup|
Manchester League Cup
|Current champions||Hindsford (Premier Division)|
Heywood St James (Division One)
Middleton Colts (Division Two)
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The Manchester Football League is a football league in England, affiliated with Manchester FA, covering a 30-mile radius from Manchester Town Hall. It was formed in 1893, although play ceased between 1912 and 1920. Currently it consists of five divisions, with the Premier division being at level 11 of the English football league system.
The League consists of six divisions, from Premier Division to Division Five. The Premier Division, Division One and Division Two can incorporate both first teams, and reserve teams of clubs who are playing at a higher level, while Divisions Three, Four and Five usually consist entirely of reserve or lower teams.
However, for the 2018-19 season only, the constitution was amended to allow a small number of reserve teams into the bottom division of the first teams (Division Two) to even up the numbers. This was put in place in the hope to keep all teams playing regularly as opposed to the old structure which meant teams could go without a fixture for a few weeks at a time.
The Premier Division has a promotion and relegation arrangement with the North West Counties Football League (NWCFL), placing it at level 11 of the English football league system. However, the NWCFL's ground requirements are considerably higher than those of the Manchester League, so meeting them usually requires expensive improvements, and consequently few teams take up the opportunity of promotion. Ashton Athletic took the step up in 2006, despite only finishing 4th in Division One. Teams such as Salford City, Maine Road and Northern Nomads have all played in the league at some point. The latest team to make the step up was Prestwich Heys after the 2015-16 season.
Teams from the Premier Division are relegated to Division One, making Division One the twelfth level of the English league system. However, first teams from Division One could be relegated to Division Two after the realignment of the league structure at the start of the 2017-18 season.
Following the introduction of the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) national lockdown restrictions in March 2020, the 2019/20 season was unable to be completed and was therefore declared null and void. The following season suffered the same outcome with only around a third of fixtures being completed.
Recent champions of Premier Division, Division One & Division Two