Premier League, EFL, Scottish football: Ups, downs & European qualification
BBC Sport outlines the promotion and relegation issues – and the race for European qualification – in England and Scotland for 2021-22.
Recent confirmed promotions, relegations, titles & qualifications
Manchester City clinched the title on the final day of the season by beating Aston Villa 3-2 and will be joined in the Champions League group stage by Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham. But even if Liverpool win this season’s Champions League, there is no “extra” place for English clubs.
Fifth-placed Arsenal and sixth-placed Manchester United qualify for the Europa League group stage, while seventh-placed West Ham United earn a place in the Europa Conference League play-off round.
The bottom three teams are relegated to the Championship. Norwich City‘s relegation was confirmed on 30 April after they lost 2-0 at Aston Villa, while Watford joined them on 7 May after they lost 1-0 at Crystal Palace.Burnley became the final team relegated after they lost 2-1 to Newcastle on the last day of the season.
Fulham clinched promotion to the Premier League on 19 April with a 3-0 win over Preston, and won the title with a game to spare on 2 May by beating Luton 7-0. Runners-up Bournemouth made sure of the second automatic promotion place on 3 May by beating Nottingham Forest 1-0.
The bottom three teams are relegated to League One. Derby County‘s relegation was confirmed on 18 April after a 1-0 defeat at QPR, while Barnsley joined them four days later after a 2-0 loss at Huddersfield. Peterborough United became the third relegated club after losing 1-0 at home to Nottingham Forest on 23 April.
Wigan Athletic clinched promotion to the Championship and won the League One title by beating Shrewsbury 3-0 on the final day of the season, while Rotherham United made sure of the second automatic promotion place by winning 3-0 at Gillingham on the same day. Sunderland won the play-off final on 21 May, beating Wycombe 2-0.
The bottom four teams are relegated to League Two. Crewe Alexandra were the first EFL club to be relegated on 9 April when they lost 2-0 to fellow strugglers Doncaster. Relegation was not confirmed for the other three clubs until the final day of the season as Doncaster Rovers drew 1-1 at Oxford, AFC Wimbledon lost 4-3 to Accrington, and Gillingham lost 3-0 to Rotherham.
Forest Green Rovers booked their place in League One with a 0-0 draw at Bristol Rovers on 23 April, while Exeter City were promoted three days later after beating Barrow 2-1. Forest Green made sure of the title by drawing 2-2 at Mansfield on the final day of the season – when Bristol Rovers clinched the third and final automatic promotion place with a sensational 7-0 win over Scunthorpe.
The bottom two teams will be relegated to the National League. Scunthorpe United were relegated on 15 April when they lost 3-0 at Leyton Orient while Oldham Athletic joined them after losing 2-1 to Salford on 23 April in a game that was completed behind closed doors after initially being abandoned following a pitch invasion by Latics fans.
Champions Stockport County were automatically promoted to League Two after beating Halifax 2-0 on the final day of the season.
In the first round of the play-offs, Notts County play Grimsby Town on 23 May while FC Halifax Town entertain Chesterfield on 24 May.
Notts or Grimsby will visit Wrexham in the semi-finals on 28 May, while Halifax or Chesterfield will be away to Solihull Moors on 29 May – with the semi-final winners meeting in the final on 5 June for the final place in League Two.
The bottom three teams are relegated to National League North or South. Bottom club Dover Athletic, deducted 12 points for failing to complete their 2020-21 fixtures, were the first club from England’s major leagues to be relegated after a 2-0 defeat by Yeovil on 19 March. They were joined by Weymouth on 26 April after they lost 6-1 to Wrexham, and King’s Lynn Town on 30 April after a 3-3 draw with Eastleigh.
The champions and play-off winners of the North and South divisions are promoted to the National League, restoring it to 24 clubs. Maidstone United clinched the South title on 30 April, with Gateshead making sure of the North title on 2 May. York City and Dorking Wanderers won the North and South play-off finals on 21 May.
Champions Celtic, who clinched the title on 11 May by drawing 1-1 at Dundee United, will enter the Champions League at the group stage (following Russian clubs’ ban from Uefa’s 2022-23 competitions).
Runners-up Rangers will enter the Champions League at the third qualifying round. Because they also won the Scottish Cup, third-placed Hearts will enter the Europa League at the play-off round.
Fourth-placed Dundee United will enter the Europa Conference League at the third qualifying round, after fifth-placed Motherwell enter at the second qualifying round.
Bottom club Dundee‘s relegation to the Scottish Championship was confirmed on 11 May after St Johnstone’s 1-0 win over Aberdeen – but having finished 11th, St Johnstone face Championship side Inverness Caledonian Thistle in a play-off on 20 and 23 May.
Kilmarnock were promoted to the Scottish Premiership as champions after beating nearest rivals Arbroath 2-1 on 22 April.
In the play-off final, Inverness Caledonian Thistle will meet St Johnstone, the 11th-placed Premiership side, over two legs on 20 and 23 May, for the final place in next season’s Premiership.
Bottom club Queen of the South were relegated to Scottish League One on 23 April. Ninth-placed Dunfermline Athletic were relegated on 7 May after losing their play-off semi-final against League One side Queen’s Park.
Scottish League One
Cove Rangers were promoted to the Scottish Championship as League One champions on 23 April after beating Dumbarton 1-0, while Queen’s Park earned the second promotion place after defeating Airdrieonians in the play-off final.
Bottom club East Fife were relegated to Scottish League Two on 16 April after losing 3-1 to Falkirk. Ninth-placed Dumbarton were relegated on 7 May after losing their play-off semi-final to League Two side Edinburgh City.
Scottish League Two
Champions Kelty Hearts clinched automatic promotion to Scottish League One with a 1-0 win over Stenhousemuir on 26 March, while Edinburgh City were promoted on 13 May after overcoming Annan Athletic in the play-off final.
Cowdenbeath were relegated to the Lowland League on 14 May after losing a play-off to Lowland champions Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic, who will replace them in League Two in 2022-23.