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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.


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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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