|Number of teams||12|
|Level on pyramid||2|
|Feeder to||National League|
|Relegation to||NRFL Division 1|
|Current champions||North Shore United (3rd title) |
|Most championships||Bay Olympic, Takapuna AFC, Central United (4)|
|Website||Auckland Football Federation|
|Current: 2021 Northern League|
The Northern League includes football clubs located in the northern part of the North Island from the Northland, Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions. Beginning 2021, clubs will be able to compete for promotion into the New Zealand National League for the first time since 2004.
The first four years (1965–1969)
In the years 1965–1969, before the launch of a National Soccer League, the Northern League was the highest level competition available to the clubs in the northern region. When the National Soccer League was created in 1970, the Northern League became one of its feeder leagues.
In 1997 and 1998, when the National Soccer League operated as an invitation-only summer league, the Northern League again became the highest level club competition available to the clubs from the northern provinces.
With the demise of the club-based National Soccer League in 2004, the Northern League, now known as Lotto Sport Italia NRFL Men's Premier, became part of the highest level of football league competition in New Zealand for the third time in its history. The league runs between the New Zealand autumn and winter months (April to September), while the New Zealand Football Championship runs between the New Zealand spring and summer months (October to March).
Renaming and restructuring of leagues in the country
In March 2021, New Zealand Football announced a change to the structure of both the premiership and the top regional leagues around the country. The four top regional leagues (NRFL Premier, Central Premier League, Mainland Premier League and the FootballSouth Premier League) would be formed into the Northern League, Central League, and the Southern League. These leagues would allow local clubs to qualify for the premiership season (now known as the National League Championship), with the top 4 teams from the Northern League, the top 3 teams from the Central League, and the top 2 teams from the Southern League making up the competition, alongside the Wellington Phoenix Reserve side. All teams that qualify plus the Phoenix Reserves, would then play a single round-robin competition between September and December.
Current Northern League structure
The following list is of the official sponsors of the League, unless otherwise noted.
- Kia Motors 2010–2012, (marketing partner)
- Lotto Sport Italia 2008–2012, (primary sponsor)
- ASB Bank 2010–2012, (marketing partner)
- Prime (New Zealand) 2010–2012, (TV channel), (TV partner)
- FTN – Family Television Network 2010–2012, (TV channel), (TV partner)
- TVNZ 2010–2012,(TV channel), (official TV sponsor)
- Sky Network Television 2009–present, (TV channel), (TV partner – For national & international broadcasting)
As of the 2021 season.
|Auckland City||Sandringham, Auckland||Kiwitea Street||Replaces sister club Central United F.C. for 2021 season|
|Auckland United||Mount Roskill, Auckland||Keith Hay Park|
|Bay Olympic||New Lynn, Auckland||Olympic Park||2nd in 2019 NRFL Division 1; promoted|
|Birkenhead United||Birkenhead, Auckland||Shepherds Park|
|Eastern Suburbs||Kohimarama, Auckland||Madills Farm|
|Hamilton Wanderers||Chartwell, Hamilton||Porritt Stadium|
|Manukau United||Māngere East, Auckland||Centre Park|
|Melville United||Melville, Hamilton||Gower Park|
|North Shore United||Devonport, Auckland||Allen Hill Stadium|
|Northern Rovers||Glenfield, Auckland||McFetridge Park||Merger between Glenfield Rovers AFC and Forrest Hill Milford United AFC|
|West Coast Rangers||Whenuapai, Auckland||Fred Taylor Park||Merger between Waitakere City FC and Norwest United FC ahead of 2021 season|
|Western Springs||Westmere, Auckland||Seddon Fields|
Performance by club
|Bay Olympic||New Lynn||4||2011|
|East Coast Bays||North Shore||3||2013|
|North Shore United||North Shore||3||2019|
This list consists of past or present notable players that have either represented an international team, or made more than fifty appearances at a professional level in their careers.
- "New National League competition details confirmed". New Zealand Football. 26 February 2021. Archived from the original on 17 March 2021. Retrieved 17 March 2021.