Which English football clubs have been promoted or relegated, and which Premier League clubs qualified for Europe during the 2020-21 season?
(Updated June 7, 2021 to include our video version of this blog post and the National League Playoffs so far.)
Below you’ll find all of the standings as of the last day of the Football League playoffs (May 31).
First, here’s some background about promotion, relegation, and European qualification in English soccer.
About Promotion and Relegation in English Soccer
After each season, clubs up and down the so-called pyramid of leagues in English soccer change leagues for the following season based on their results in the current season. The simplest version is that the top three teams go up a league, and the bottom three go down. We have a video explaining all the leagues and cups of English soccer.
For more, you can read this post on how promotion and relegation works in English football, or just enjoy our video guide:
European Places in English Soccer
What are the “European Places” in English football? At the top of the Premier League, with no other English league to be promoted to, clubs qualify for European club competitions during the following season. A brief breakdown for English clubs is as follows:
- Clubs 1-4 in the table qualify for the UEFA Champions League.
- Club 5, and the winner of the FA Cup, qualify for the UEFA Europa League.
- The winner of the EFL Cup qualifies for the UEFA Europa Conference League, which will debut in the 2021-22 season.
- If either Cup winner also finishes in the top 4, they go to the Champions League and their “cup winner’s spot” goes to the next team in the table that didn’t otherwise qualify for Europe.
- The winner of the Champions League or Europa League also qualifies for next season’s Champions League.
Here is the breakdown of European qualification in the Premier League:
Qualification for the 2021-22 Champions League
- Manchester City (Premier League Champions)
- Manchester United (2nd)
- Liverpool (3rd)
- Chelsea (4th)
Qualification for the 2021-22 Europa League
- Leicester City (5th in PL)
- West Ham finished sixth, but they get Leicester City’s spot earned by winning the FA Cup.
Qualification for the 2021-22 Europa Conference League
Tottenham finished seventh in the league but take Manchester City’s spot here, earned by winning the League Cup.
Promotions and Relegations in English Soccer, 2020-21 Season
This, at least, is simpler than the European craziness!
Relegated from the Premier League to the Championship
- Sheffield United
- West Bromwich Albion
Promoted from the Championship to the Premier League
- Norwich City (champions)
- Brentford (via playoff)
We kept track of the 2020-21 English Football League Playoffs here.
Relegated from the Championship to League One
- Wycombe Wanderers
- Sheffield Wednesday
However, there is a report in The Athletic that the Football League will punish Derby for financial mismanagement — and that said punishment could be a points deduction that takes them down, anyway, sparing Wycombe. Watch this space!
Promoted from League One to the Championship
- Hull City (champions)
- Peterborough United
- Blackpool (via playoff)
Relegated from League One to League Two
- Bristol Rovers
- Swindon Town
- Northampton Town
Promoted from League Two to League One
Relegated from League Two to the National League
- Grimsby Town
- Southend United
Promoted from the National League to League Two
Sutton United are league champions, so they will be in the Football League for next season.
The National League playoffs are in two stages. Torquay United and Stockport County sat out the first round after finishing 2nd and 3rd in the league.
In that first round, Notts County knocked out Chesterfield and Hartlepool eliminated Bromley — both in one-off games the first weekend in June. They now face Torquay and Stockport on June 12 and 13, with those winners advancing to the Playoff Final at Bristol City’s Ashton Gate on June 20. That one was moved from Wembley because it’s hosting Euros 2020 games.
Promotion and Relegation Below the National League
Basically, Covid ended the seasons below the National League, so no one will be relegated from there, and for all the leagues and cups below level 5, it will be “as you were” for next season.
We also made a video summarizing who’s up, who’s down, and who will be playing in Europe in the 2021-22 season.