How much do National League players get paid?

  • The majority of teams in the National League are now professional clubs
  • There are some sizeable teams currently sat in the fifth tier
  • What is the average player wage in the National League?
Oldham are among the high-profile sides in the fifth tier
Oldham are among the high-profile sides in the fifth tier / Charlotte Tattersall/GettyImages

The fifth tier of English football has undergone quite the reboot in recent years.

The Vanarama National League, formerly known as the Conference National, is regarded as the bridge between semi-pro and professional in the English game. The fifth tier was long regarded as the highest semi-professional league in the country, but as of the 2023/24 season, all but three teams competing in the division are fully professional.

Increased sponsorship and television coverage has facilitated an unprecedented influx of cash into the National League which has subtly aided the division's switch to professionalism.

As a result, attendances are on the up and players are getting paid more than ever before. But how much, on average, do National League stars get paid?

Is the National League semi-professional or professional?

The English fifth tier was, for much of its existence, regarded as a semi-professional division. Typically, clubs would earn professional status once they earned promotion to League Two.

However, with so many former EFL clubs now competing in the National League, it's become less clear whether the fifth tier is a semi-professional or professional competition. For example, former Premier League side Oldham are currently unable to fight their way back into the Football League.

The quality of the product has improved drastically in recent years, and many players have started to earn full-time wages, with only three sides semi-pro in the 2023/24 season.

What is the average National League salary?

There isn't a lot of data regarding the exact sums that National League players earn, but the average wage is estimated to be between £1,000 and £1,500 a week. However, there will, of course, be players who earn significantly more and less than that average.

Across a year, that means the average salary is between £52,000 and £78,000.

National League salaries compared to the EFL

As we've noted, the average weekly wage in the National League is somewhere between £1,000 and £1,500. There's a pretty steep jump up to League Two, which is £2,500.

The average player in League One earns just shy of £5,000, while the average wage in the Championship this season is roughly £12,600 per week. These figures are only likely to increase in the coming years with average player wages for both Football League and National League players jumping by 20% since 2020.