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Promotion and Relegation Explained: Premier League & EFL

While the concept of promotion and relegation is alien to some sporting organisations around the world, it’s a big part of what makes football as exciting as it is.

From sides looking to make the leap from the National League to the EFL, to those looking to reach the promised land of the Premier League, the race for promotion and the fight to avoid relegation is enthralling year after year.

But how does it work? How many teams get promoted and relegated from each league?

Read on to find out all you need to know about promotion and relegation in the Premier League and EFL.

Premier League

How many teams get relegated from the Premier League?

Three teams have been relegated from the Premier League ever since its inception in 1992, with the exception of the 1994/95 season. Wanting to reduce the Premier League from 22 teams to 20, four teams were relegated, with two being promoted in 1995.

Premier League relegated teams

The 2023/24 season saw all three teams promoted from the EFL Championship suffer an immediate relegation from the Premier League.

Sheffield United, Burnley and Luton Town were all promoted from the second-tier in 2022/23 but couldn't survive more than one season in the Premier League.


How many teams get promoted from the Championship?

At the end of every Championship campaign, the top two teams are promoted automatically. From there, the teams finishing between third and sixth in the league compete in a play-off competition to decide the final promoted team.

The team finishing third plays the team finishing sixth in a two-legged play-off, with the highest-ranked team getting the home leg second, while the teams finishing fourth and fifth contest the other two-legged semi-final.

The winners proceed to the play-off final, typically held at Wembley in May, with the winner promoted to the Premier League.

Championship promoted teams

Leicester City achieved an immediate return to the Premier League after just one season in the second tier. The Foxes were relegated in the 2022/23 season but won the Championship title in 2023/24 with a total haul of 97 points.

Ipswich Town managed back-to-back promotions after winning promotion from League One just twelve months ago, the Tractor Boys finished second in the Championship at the first time of asking to reach the Premier League for the first time in over two decades.

Leeds United and Southampton will face off at Wembley later this month in the play-off final to determine who will claim the last promotion spot in the Championship.

How many teams get relegated from the Championship?

Every season, the teams finishing 22nd, 23rd and 24th in the Championship are relegated to League One.

Championship relegated teams

Rotherham United, Huddersfield Town and Birmingham City will play in League One next season after suffering relegation from the Championship.

League One

How many teams get promoted from League One?

As with the Championship, three teams are promoted from League One each season, with the top two places decided automatically, and the final spot being decided by a four-team play-off.

League One promoted teams

Portsmouth will play in the Championship again for the first time since 2011/12 after winning the League One title this season. Pompey won the league by a five point margin and only lost five times in the league all season.

Joining Portsmouth in the second tier next season will be Derby County after the Rams finished second in League One. The Midlands club have endured financial turmoil during the past few years but will play in the Championship once more in 2023/24 after two seasons in the third tier.

Oxford United claimed the last promotion spot from League One after a 2-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers at Wembley. The U's will compete in the second tier for the first time in the 21st century after enduring difficult times including a spell in non-league in the mid 2000's.

How many teams get relegated from League One?

While three teams are relegated from the Premier League and Championship, the bottom four teams are relegated from League One.

League One relegated teams

Cheltenham Town, Fleetwood Town, Port Vale and Carlisle United will all play League Two football next season after suffering relegation from League One

League Two

How many teams get promoted from League Two?

The top three teams are promoted automatically from League Two, with teams finishing between fourth and seventh competing in a play-off in the same format as the Championship and League One.

League Two promoted teams

Stockport County, Wrexham and Mansfield Town all won promotion from League Two this season, with Stockport claiming the league title while Wrexham enjoyed back-to-back promotions after winning the National League title last season.

Crawley Town will join the promoted trio in the third tier next season after beating Crewe Alexandra 2-0 in the play-off final at Wembley.

How many teams get relegated from League Two?

The bottom two teams get relegated from League Two to the National League at the end of every season and this has been the case since 2003, prior to which only one team went down.

There are unusual exceptions to this, however; should a side duo to be promoted from the National League not fill the criteria of being an EFL club, a relegated club can retain their place in the EFL, though this hasn’t happened since 1996.

League Two relegated teams

Forest Green Rovers suffered back-to-back relegations and will play in the the National League next season. The Green Devils finished bottom of League One in the 2022/23 season and followed that up by finishing bottom of League Two this season.

Rovers will be joined in the National League next season by Sutton United, who managed just nine wins from their 46 League Two matches to suffer a return to non-league after three seasons in the fourth tier.

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