how English Championship playoffs work

How Does The Championship Playoffs Work?

The English Championship Playoff is one of the most talked about topics in English football. Therefore, it is important to find out how the Championship playoffs work.

In this article, you’ll get a perfect breakdown of everything you need to know about the Championship Playoffs.

What is the Championship Playoff?

As you may know, the English Championship is the second tier League in English football just behind the EPL.

The bottom 3 of the EPL are relegated to the Championship while 3 teams from the Championship are promoted to the Premier League.

The first 2 teams in the Championship get an automatic promotion to the Premier League.

However, the Playoff decides the 3 team who is promoted to the EPL.

In essence, the Championship Playoffs are sets of matches that decide the 3rd team that gains promotion to the Premier League.

Read More: Man City v QPR Decider Match In 2012 – The Details

Who Qualifies for The Championship Playoffs?

Remember that the first two teams in the Championship get automatic qualification to the Premier League.

Also, remember that the Playoffs determine the 3rd team that gains promotion to the Premier League.

Who then qualifies for the Playoffs?

Well, the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th placed teams on the Championship table qualify for the Playoffs.

These 4 teams compete together for just 1 spot in the Premier League.

Read Also: How Many UCL Matches Per Season?

Why Playoffs?

You may wonder why the Playoffs when the top 3 Championship teams can easily gain promotion to the Premier League.

Well, there are 3 main reasons for the Championship Playoffs:

1. Add to the competitiveness

The Premier League is the most competitive League in the world.

Similarly, the English Championship in itself is very competitive. But the Playoffs add to the level of competitiveness of the League.

How you may ask?

Four teams vying for one spot in the Premier League will compete at their best or highest level to gain promotion.

Read More: Guardiola’s Champions League Stats

2. Provides more opportunities for teams to qualify

Granted, the first 46 rounds of League matches give everyone a fair hope to gain promotion if they can occupy the first two spots on the table.

Of the 22 teams who fail to make the top 2 spots, 4 of them have a chance of gaining promotion to the Premier League.

3. Money

There is no doubt that money plays an important role in the Championship Playoff.

The truth is that the playoff matches actually generate a lot of money through match ticket sales and sponsorship.

Read Also: How The UEFA FFP Rule Work

How Much Is Generated From The English Championship Playoffs?

It may interest you to know that the winner of Championship Playoffs could earn more money that Championship winner.

The Championship winner pockets about £100,000 ($125,000) and second place earns about £50,000 ($62,000).

However, the Playoff final winner earns about £100,000 ($125,000) as an immediate cash prize alone, while they earn more from other revenue sources.

In fact, it is safe to conclude that the Playoff is one of the biggest money generator in football.

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How The Championship Playoffs Work

As mentioned earlier, teams placed from 3rd to 6th in the Championship table qualify for the Playoffs – 4 teams in total.

Therefore, the Playoff is divided into two stages – Semifinal and Final.

The Championship Playoff Semifinal is a two-legged match that decides who qualifies for the final.

Who plays who in the Playoff Semifinal?

The 3rd placed team plays against the 6th placed team. The first of the two-legged fixtures will be played in the home of the 6th placed team.

Next, the 4th placed team plays against the 5th placed team. The first leg will be played in the home of the 5th placed team.

Read Also: The Best UCL Final Matches In History

Semifinal Playoffs Format

Just like in the new Champions League format, away goals do not count. Only the aggregate score count.

If the score is level after the home and away fixtures, the match goes to extra time and a penalty shootout.

Playoffs Format

The two winners of the Semifinal Playoff fixtures play in the Final.

Unlike the Semifinal, the Playoff final match is played just once on a neutral surface. No home and away.

If the match is level after 90 minutes, then it goes to extra time and possibly a penalty shootout.

As mentioned earlier, the winner of the Playoff final gains promotion to the Premier League, along with the Championship winner and second placed team.

Read Also: How Many Premier League Matches Are There In A Season?


As you may have noted, the Championship Playoff is a big deal even though it accounts for just 5 matches compared to the total Championship matches.

To reiterate how the Championship Playoffs work; teams placed in 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th positions qualify for the Playoff.

The Semifinal is a two-legged affair (home and away) while the final is played on neutral ground.

It is also important to remind that the Playoff (final) alone generates well over £100,000 ($125,000) in revenue. That’s staggering.

If you have never paid attention to how the English Championship Playoffs work, now is the time to do so.

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