How Promotion, Relegation and the English Divisions Work

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Last year Wigan Athletic was relegated from the Premier League. Where did they go? Well each league in Europe has multiple divisions, similar to the minor leagues in baseball. In English football the second division is actually the first division; although, the English Premier League (EPL) is the top division. Wigan Athletic went to the first division (called the Championship) when they were relegated from the Premier League. At one time all of the teams and divisions belonged to one league, the Football League, and shared all of their TV money. Then some teams broke off so they could make their own deal with the TV companies, creating the Premier League. In the Premier League, clubs still share their TV money, but it is now split fewer ways. The old second division became the new first division in the Football League, the old third division became League One, etc. Once you go down far enough the leagues begin breaking into two leagues and each of those leagues has a few leagues under them. Although the Premier League became a new league they are still connected to the other divisions by relegation and promotion. A club is promoted to the Premier League when they finish first or second, or win the promotion playoff (between 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th). Promotion from other divisions has a similar format, but some leagues have a promotion playoff where a few teams play in a little mini cup/tournament to see who will be the last team to get promoted. If your in the EPL, there is no promotion because it is the top league. Teams that finish the season in the bottom three spots of the standings are relegated to the next lower division. That my friends is how promotion, relegation and divisions work.


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