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Ups, downs and the race for Europe



Portsmouth and Stockport both clinched EFL divisional titles on 16 April

BBC Sport outlines the promotion and relegation issues – and the race for European qualification – in England and Scotland for 2023-24.

Premier League

The top four teams will qualify for the Champions League group stage. (Potentially, there may be an extra place if England has one of the two highest Uefa coefficients from 2023-24.)

The fifth-placed Premier League team will qualify for the Europa League group stage, along with the FA Cup winners. If the FA Cup winners have already qualified for the Champions League, that Europa place reverts to the league.

Because Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool can finish no lower than fifth, and at worst will qualify for the Europa League, the Europa Conference League place earned by Liverpool for winning the Carabao Cup will revert to the league.

If Aston Villa win the Europa Conference League but fail to reach the Champions League, they will qualify for the Europa League group stage.

The bottom three teams will be relegated to the Championship, and Sheffield United’s relegation could be confirmed this weekend.

The relegation picture may be complicated by Everton’s and Nottingham Forest’s appeals against their points deductions for breaches of Premier League profitability and sustainability rules (PSR).

Women’s Super League

The WSL champions and runners-up will enter the Champions League second round, with the third-placed team entering at the first round. Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal have made sure of the Champions League spots.

The bottom side will be relegated to the Women’s Championship. This is likely to be Bristol City who are seven points adrift with three games left.


The top two teams will be automatically promoted to the Premier League, with the next four entering a play-off. Automatic promotion is between Leicester, Leeds, Ipswich and Southampton, who are all assured of at least a play-off place. Leicester could seal promotion – or even the title – this coming weekend.

The bottom three teams will be relegated to League One. Rotherham United were the first EFL team to be relegated when they lost 1-0 to Plymouth on 5 April. They could be joined on Saturday by either Huddersfield or Birmingham, who play each other.

League One

Colby Bishop celebrates a goal for Portsmouth against Barnsley
Portsmouth clinched promotion – and the title – at Fratton Park with two games to spare

Portsmouth secured automatic promotion to the Championship as champions on 16 April by beating Barnsley 3-2.

The second automatic place will go to the runners-up – which will be Derby, unless they lose their final game and Bolton win with a four-goal swing in goal difference, which would mean the Trotters would finish second.

The unsuccessful side will enter a play-off with Peterborough and two other teams (two from Barnsley, Lincoln, Oxford United or Blackpool).

The bottom four teams will be relegated to League Two. Carlisle United were relegated on 6 April after losing 2-0 at Northampton. Port Vale joined them after a 2-0 loss at Bolton on 20 April, the same day that Fleetwood Town went down despite beating Leyton Orient 1-0. The final place will go to Cheltenham, Burton or Cambridge on the final day of the season.

League Two

Stockport celebrate winning the title at Notts County's Meadow Lane
Stockport celebrated their title win with a flag remembering George Thompson, a teenage Hatters fan who died in 2021

Stockport County clinched automatic promotion to League One by beating Morecambe 2-0 on 13 April, and won the title three days later with a 5-2 win at Notts County.

They will be joined by Wrexham, who made sure of promotion by beating Forest Green 6-0 on 13 April, and Mansfield Town who beat Accrington 2-1 on 16 April.

The final promotion place will go to the winners of a play-off between Milton Keynes Dons and three other teams – three from Doncaster, Crewe, Barrow, Crawley, Bradford and Walsall.

The bottom two teams will be relegated to the National League. Forest Green Rovers’ relegation was confirmed on 16 April after Colchester beat Grimsby 2-0. Sutton will join them unless they win their last game and Colchester lose theirs, with a four-goal swing in goal difference.

National League

Chesterfield celebrate with their fans after clinching promotion
Chesterfield were the first team in England or Scotland’s major leagues to clinch promotion

Chesterfield secured the title, and automatic promotion back to the EFL after six years away, by beating Boreham Wood 3-0 on 23 March.

Gateshead were barred from the play-offs for failing to meet the entry criteria for EFL membership. So in the semi-finals, Barnet host Solihull Moors, while Bromley meet Altrincham, with the overall winner earning the second promotion place.

The bottom four teams will be relegated to National League North or South, and will be replaced with the champions and play-off winners of those two divisions.

Oxford City‘s relegation was confirmed when they lost 2-1 at AFC Fylde on 23 March, and they were joined on 13 April by Dorking Wanderers who drew 1-1 at Rochdale, Kidderminster Harriers who lost 1-0 to Eastleigh, and Boreham Wood who drew 0-0 with Ebbsfleet on the final day of the season.

Tamworth clinched the National League North title on 6 April with a 1-1 draw against Warrington, while Yeovil Town made sure of the South title by beating Truro 2-0 on 11 April.

Scottish Premiership

The Premiership has split in half after 33 games, with each club playing the others in its ‘half’ for a fourth and final time.

The champions will enter the Champions League group stage, with the runners-up entering in the third qualifying round. Celtic are assured of a Champions League place, with Rangers close to joining them.

With those clubs also contesting the Scottish Cup final, the Europa League place reserved for the Cup winners will revert to the league.

So, the third-placed Premiership team will enter the Europa League at the play-off round, with the fourth-placed team in the second qualifying round, while the fifth-placed team will enter the Europa Conference League at the second qualifying round.

The Premiership’s bottom club will be relegated to the Scottish Championship, while the 11th-placed team will enter a play-off with three Championship sides.

Scottish Championship

The champions – Dundee United or Raith Rovers – will be promoted to the Scottish Premiership. Realistically, United are up unless they lose their last two games and Raith win their last two while making up a 36-goal swing in goal difference.

Whoever does not win the title will enter a play-off with Partick Thistle, Airdrieonians and the 11th-placed Premiership side.

Bottom side Arbroath‘s relegation to League One was confirmed with a 5-0 thrashing by Ayr United on 13 April. The ninth-placed team will enter a play-off with three League One sides.

Scottish League One

Falkirk players and manager John McGlynn celebrate their League One title win
Falkirk were assured of the title after Hamilton failed to win earlier in the day

Champions Falkirk clinched automatic promotion to the Scottish Championship after rivals Hamilton drew 0-0 with Queen of the South just before they won 7-1 at Montrose on 30 March.

Hamilton Academical, Alloa Athletic and one other team will enter a play-off with the ninth-placed Championship side.

Bottom club Edinburgh City were the first team in England or Scotland to be relegated after losing 5-2 to Alloa on 16 March. The ninth-placed team will enter a play-off with three League Two teams.

Scottish League Two

Stenhousemuir celebrate
Stenhousemuir’s triumph was the first league title in the club’s history

Stenhousemuir clinched automatic promotion to League One as champions on 6 March after drawing 0-0 with East Fife. Peterhead, Dumbarton and The Spartans will enter a play-off with the ninth-placed League One side.

The bottom side – Clyde, Stranraer or Bonnyrigg Rose – will enter a play-off against the winners of a two-legged play-off (on 27 April and 4 May) between Highland League champions Buckie Thistle and Lowland League winners East Kilbride. The overall winners will take the final place in League Two for 2024-25.

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