Welsh League history
In April 1904 the Merthyr Express newspaper reported that a new football league would be formed in addition to the South Wales League which had been in existence since 1891.
This new competition would be named the Rhymney Valley League and the reason for its creation was due to the South Wales League being 'overly dominated by Cardiff clubs, though the number of teams from Cardiff barely numbered more than a couple in any one season.
Interest in the new league was high and the formation of three divisions attracted no fewer than 25 clubs, including Corinthians from Cardiff.
Seven clubs formed the new top division and Aberdare were crowned as the inaugural champions, four points clear of Ebbw Vale following the round of 12 matches.
The league is made up of three divisions (named the Welsh Football League Division One, the Welsh Football League Division Two and the Welsh Football League Division Three) each having 16 clubs. There is promotion and relegation between the divisions, with the top three teams in each division being promoted to the one above and the bottom three being relegated to the one below. The winner of the First Division may be promoted to the national Welsh Premier League (subject to ground facilities), the highest level of Welsh football.
The bottom three teams in the Third Division may be relegated to the appropriate parallel regional league running below the Welsh Football League, subject to champions of the feeder leagues being promoted, again assuming ground criteria being met. This number totalled four in 2011, despite only two teams being promoted, in order for the three divisions to number 16 clubs.
Normally, the top clubs from each of the two feeder leagues (the Welsh Football League and the Cymru Alliance) are promoted subject to an application for membership of the Welsh Premier League being received and accepted and the stadium and infrastructure safety criteria of that League being met.
Since its inception in 1904 it has always been the top flight of the Welsh League for the teams located in South Wales. This division has changed its name on numerous occasions.