Level on pyramid 3
Number of teams 18
Promotion to Ligue 2
The Championnat de France National (English: French National Championship), commonly referred to as simply National or Division 3, serves as the third division of the French football league system behind Ligue 1 and Ligue 2. Contested by 18 clubs, the Championnat National operates on a system of promotion and relegation with Ligue 2 and the Championnat de France Amateur, the fourth division of French football.
Seasons run from August to May, with teams playing 34 games each, totalling 272 games in the season. Most games are played on Fridays and Saturdays, with a few games played during weekday evenings. Play is regularly suspended the last weekend before Christmas for two weeks before returning in the second week of January.
National was founded in 1993 by the French Football Federation and serves as a base league for clubs on the brink of becoming professional or falling to the amateur levels. The league is annually composed of professional, semi-professional, and amateur football clubs. The current champions are RC Strasbourg Alsace. The matches in the league attract on average between 2,500 and 6,000 spectators per match.
There are 18 clubs in the Championnat National. During the course of a season, usually from August to May, each club plays the others twice, once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents, for a total of 34 games. Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, then goal difference, and then goals scored. At the end of each season, the club with the most points is crowned champion and promoted to Ligue 2. If points are equal, the goal difference and then goals scored determine the winner. If still equal, teams are deemed to occupy the same position. If there is a tie for the championship or for relegation, a play-off match at a neutral venue decides rank. The second and third-place finisher are also promoted to the second division, while the four lowest placed teams are relegated to the Championnat de France Amateur and the four winners of the four groups from the Championnat de France amateur are promoted in their place.
Members for 2016–17
The following 18 clubs will compete in the Championnat National during the 2016–17 season.