German football league system
The German football league system, or league pyramid, refers to the hierarchically interconnected league system for association football in Germany that in the 2016–17 season consists of 2,235 divisions having 31,645 teams, in which all divisions are bound together by the principle of promotion and relegation. The top three professional levels contain one division each. Below this, the semi-professional and amateur levels have progressively more parallel divisions, which each cover progressively smaller geographic areas. Teams that finish at the top of their division at the end of each season can rise higher in the pyramid, while those that finish at the bottom find themselves sinking further down. In theory it is possible for even the lowest local amateur club to rise to the top of the system and become German football champions one day. The number of teams promoted and relegated between the divisions varies, and promotion to the upper levels of the pyramid is usually contingent on meeting additional criteria, especially concerning appropriate facilities and finances.