Cypriot football league system

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The Cyprus football league system is a series of interconnected leagues for club football in Cyprus. The system has a hierarchical format with promotion and relegation between leagues at different levels. The top four leagues are organised by the Cyprus Football Association and the rest by the S.T.O.K. (Greek: Σ.Τ.Ο.Κ. short for Συνομοσπονδία Τοπικών Ομοσπονδιών Κύπρου, "Confederation of local federations of Cyprus").

Structure[edit]

At the top is the Cypriot First Division (which may be referred to as level 1 of the league "pyramid"), a single-division league of 12 clubs. Below is Cyprus lower leagues, which are divided into three divisions of 14 clubs each (levels 2 to 4). Some of these 54 clubs are full-time professional while the rest are all full-time semi-professional. Confusingly all 54 are often referred to as "league" clubs because as there are only 4 leagues in Cyprus, but no non-leagues. Clubs outside this group are referred to as "non-league" clubs, although they all play most of their football in cup competitions.

Only the Amateur leagues are referred as non-league, which is on the same level (level 5) as the top divisions of a large group of Amateur leagues such as the Nicosia First Division, and the Nicosia Second Division.

Each of these leagues has a different divisional set up, but they all have one thing in common: there are yet more leagues below them, each covering smaller and smaller geographical levels. These leagues are collectively known as the National League System and they are controlled by S.T.O.K.

Each league sets its own rules, but all follow the general standard of each club playing everyone else Once with three points being awarded for a win, one for a draw and zero for a loss. The league table is always ordered with whoever has the most points at the top and the least at the bottom (ways of distinguishing between clubs level on points differ from league to league).

At the end of each season the top three clubs from each league are promoted and the last three clubs are relegated. Promotion to the fourth division is decided by the STOK (Greek: Σ.Τ.Ο.Κ.) play-offs.

Various degrees of promotion and relegation exist between all the leagues and divisions, meaning that any team can theoretically climb (or fall) to any level. However, minimum standards for grounds (floodlighting, seating capacity, etc.) sometimes lead to clubs being denied promotion even though their league position would allow it.

Promotion and relegation[edit]

  • Cypriot First Division (level 1, 12 teams): Top team becomes champions, (no promotion). Bottom two teams relegated.
  • Cypriot Second Division (level 2, 14 teams): Top two automatically promoted. Bottom four relegated.
  • Cypriot Third Division (level 3, 14 teams): Top two automatically promoted. Bottom three relegated.
  • Cypriot Fourth Division (level 4, 14 teams): Top three automatically promoted. Bottom three relegated.
  • Amateur competitions (level 5): Three winners of the S.T.O.K. play-offs are promoted.

Cup Eligibility[edit]

Being members of a league at a particular level also affects eligibility for Cup, or single-elimination, competitions.

  • Cypriot Cup: Levels 1-2
  • Cypriot Amateur Cup: Levels 3-4

Clubs in the S.T.O.K. competitions participate in various cup tournaments, usually local.

The system[edit]

The table below shows the current structure of the system. For each division, its official name, sponsorship name (which often differs radically from its official name) and number of clubs is given. Each division promotes to the division(s) that lie directly above it and relegates to the division(s) that lie directly below it.

Level League/Division(s)
1 First Division

12 clubs

2 Second Division

14 clubs

3 Third Division

14 clubs

4 Fourth Division

14 clubs

5 Local amateur football competitions (S.T.O.K.)

261 clubs (approx.) [1]
Promotion to Fourth Division through play-offs

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ομοσπονδίες (in Greek). Retrieved 2009-10-17.