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Premier League 2: Competition format explained

1 Jan 2021
Manchester City win the Premier League 2 title

Under-23 competition's focus on technicality, physicaility and intensity gives a taste of the first-team experience

Premier League 2 is a competition that replaced the Under-21 Premier League from 2016/17, with a greater focus on technicality, physicality and intensity to bring players as close to first-team experience as possible.

The age limit for players is now Under-23.

The league is formed of two tiers, Division 1 and Division 2, with 14 teams in each, and the factor of promotion and relegation.

The 28 clubs who compete each applied for "Category One" status in the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP). There are 18 clubs from the Premier League, nine from the Championship and one from League One.

All players born after 1 January 1998 are eligible to play in the 2021/22 season. The format is as follows:

  • There are 14 teams in Division 1 and 14 in Division 2, with every club playing each other once at home and once away
  • In Division 1, the team who finish first are champions
  • The bottom two teams in Division 1 are relegated to Division 2
  • In Division 2, the league winners get automatic promotion to Division 1
  • Teams ranked second to fifth go into a promotion playoff. Second plays fifth at home while the third-placed team host fourth in the semi-finals, both at the club’s main stadiums. The final takes place at the home ground of the team who finished highest in the league
  • All playoff matches are one-off ties, decided by extra-time and then penalties if the match is level after 120 minutes
  • There is no relegation from Division 2
Other rules include:
  • Each team can field a goalkeeper over the age limit and up to three "over-age" outfield players in every match
  • Each club must host at least three league matches at their main stadium during the course of the season. This helps to enhance the matchday experience for the players and fans.
  • Member clubs' training grounds or Academy venues will be permitted for the staging of up to three home matches over the course of the league season. 
Premier League 2 Division 1 winners

2020/21 Manchester City
2018/19 Everton
 Manchester United
2014/15 Manchester United
2013/14 Chelsea
2012/13 Manchester United

Premier League Division 2 winners

2020/21 Leeds United
West Ham United
2018/19 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Blackburn Rovers
Swansea City
Derby County
2014/15 Middlesbrough

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