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Premier League 2 explained

Manchester City win the Premier League 2 title

Under-21 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 as possible to first-team experience.

It is part of a suite of competitions that aims to best prepare players to make the transition to senior football. This includes a variety of domestic cup competitions, matches involving senior opposition (such as through the EFL Trophy) and competitions against international peers which will return for the 2022/23 season in expanded formats, following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The age group for players from the 2022/23 season is Under-21, changing from Under-23 as a reflection of the reality of the age of players in the competition, where the current average is 19.

The change comes as part of an ongoing review of the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) to better align with the EFL Trophy and international competitions. 

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 2001 are eligible to play in the 2022/23 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 five "over-age" outfield players in every match
Premier League 2 Division 1 winners

2021/22 Manchester City
2020/21
Manchester City
2019/20
Chelsea
2018/19 Everton
2017/18
Arsenal
2016/17
Everton
2015/16
 Manchester United
2014/15 Manchester United
2013/14 Chelsea
2012/13 Manchester United

Premier League Division 2 winners

2021/22 Fulham
2020/21
Leeds United
2019/20
West Ham United
2018/19 Wolverhampton Wanderers
2017/18
Blackburn Rovers
2016/17
Swansea City
2015/16
Derby County
2014/15 Middlesbrough