- Football League play-offs
The Football League play-offs are a series of
football (soccer)matches to determine a promotion place within the English football league system. Essentially, each division of the league offers a certain number of automatic promotion places to the top two or three clubs. A further promotion place is available for one the clubs in the next four positions. To determine this club, a series of play-off matches are held.
In the Championship, the teams finishing third, fourth, fifth and sixth are entered for the Championship play-offs. The team finishing third plays the team that finished sixth, with the first leg being held at the home of the team that finished sixth and the second leg being held at the home of the team that finished third. This is designed to give the team that finished third an advantage. This is the same for the teams that finished fourth and fifth, with the advantage being with the team that finished fourth. The two winning teams then play each other in the final, with the winning team winning promotion to the Premiership. The final was played at the old Wembley Stadium before 2000, but between 2001 and 2006, it was transferred to the
Millennium Stadiumin Cardiff, due to the re-building work at Wembley. Now it is back at Wembley Stadiumafter it was completed in 2007.
The format is the same in League One, but in League Two and the Conference there are differences. In League Two three teams are automatically promoted, so the teams that finished fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh enter into the play-offs. In the Conference only one team is automatically promoted, so the teams that finished second, third, fourth and fifth are entered into the play-offs. The final of the Conference play-off was usually held at one of the Championship's bigger grounds, such as Stoke City's
Britannia Stadium. However, the 2007 Conference final was played at Wembley.
In recent years most leagues in the
National League System, well below the professional levels, have adopted the playoff system for promotions of additional teams to the champions, although requirements are stricter depending on the league and only the champions of each level/division may be promoted automatically.
The Play-offs Histories
The play-offs have been a League feature since 1986/87 and the Conference did not adopt them until 2002/03.
Football League Championship play-offs
Football League One play-offs
Football League Two play-offs
Play-offs at the new Wembley
* [http://www.football-league.co.uk Coca-Cola Football League Homepage]
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