The semi-professional 1st Division is the current second-tier league of local football. The champions usually get promoted to the Hong Kong Premier League, but they sometimes reject this offer if the step towards professionalization is not sustainable. In this case, the HKFA extends the right to promotion to the 2nd or 3rd ranked teams, which might also waive the offer. As a last resort, the FA sometimes asks the relegated team to stay in the top-flight.
The two bottom-ranked teams of the 1st Division will be relegated to the 2nd Division.