The arrival of May means two things for English soccer. International soccer is just around the corner, and fans are gearing up for Euro 2024. The other is that the conclusion of the league season in England shakes up which teams are playing in certain leagues. In League Two, League One and the Championship, either six or seven teams go up and come down via promotion in relegation. Meanwhile, the Premier League will send three teams down to the Championship, while the two teams from the National League will earn their way into the English Football League.

The excitement of the promotion playoffs is often one of the best spectacles in soccer. In the 2023/24 season, that includes some major teams. Elite sides are returning to certain divisions, while others are reaching new heights in English soccer. Here is how promotion and relegation are shaping out throughout the professional tiers of soccer in England this season.

Promotion and relegation throughout England in 2023/24

The Premier League
  • Title: Manchester City, Arsenal or Liverpool
  • Relegated: Sheffield United, Burnley, Luton Town or Nottingham Forest

No team can earn promotion to a league above the Premier League, so the biggest award for teams in the top flight in England is simply the title. Manchester City is the frontrunner to win its fourth title in a row. Arsenal needs dropped points by City, and Mikel Arteta’s side must win all its remaining games. Liverpool is more or less out of the race, but it is still mathematically involved.

Sheffield United is going down as the bottom team in this season’s Premier League. Likewise, Burnley is joining the Blades in the Championship next season barring two wins for Vincent Kompany’s team and two losses from Nottingham Forest. Luton Town trails Nottingham Forest by three points with two games remaining. As Forest has a superior goal differential, one win from Nuno Espirito Santo’s side should be enough to keep Forest in the Premier League.

Coverage of the Premier League is available on NBC, USA Network and Peacock.

The Championship
  • Promoted: Leicester City, Ipswich Town
  • Playoffs: Leeds United, Southampton, West Bromwich Albion and Norwich City
  • Relegated: Birmingham City, Huddersfield Town and Rotherham United

As champions of the Championship, Leicester City is returning to the Premier League at the first time of trying. Joining the Foxes in next season’s top flight is Ipswich Town, which has not played in the Premier League since the 2001/02 campaign. The four-team playoff for the third team joining the Premier League starts on Sunday, May 12. Leeds United, as the third-place team in the Championship, takes on Norwich City in a two-legged affair. Southampton travels to West Brom for the first leg before hosting the Baggies on Friday, May 17.

Each game in the promotion playoffs for the Championship is available on ESPN+. The first two legs are both on Sunday, May 12. Then, the return legs at Elland Road and St. Mary’s are the ensuing Thursday and Friday, respectively. The teams that win on aggregate advance to Wembley to play a one-off promotion game on Sunday, May 26.

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League One
  • Promoted: Portsmouth, Derby County
  • Playoffs: Bolton Wanderers, Peterborough United, Oxford United and Barnsley
  • Relegated: Cheltenham Town, Fleetwood Town, Port Vale, Carlisle United

Pompey is back in the second tier of English soccer after a 12-year absence, while Derby only needed one year to get back into the Championship. The promotion playoffs to join those two teams in the Championship is already underway. Bolton Wanderers won their first game of the semifinals against Barnsley with a convincing 3-1 win at Oakwell. In the other game, fifth-place Oxford United picked up a 1-0 win over Peterborough United before the second leg that Peterborough is hosting. Bolton is hosting Barnsley on Tuesday, May 7, before Peterborough welcomes Oxford on Wednesday, May 8.

Just like the Championship playoffs, both of the second legs in League One are available on ESPN+. The two teams advancing out of the semifinals will play a single game for promotion at Wembley on Saturday, May 18.

League Two
  • Promoted: Stockport County, Wrexham and Mansfield Town
  • Playoffs: MK Dons, Doncaster Rovers, Crewe Alexandra and Crawley Town
  • Relegated: Sutton United and Forest Green Rovers

Wrexham continues its climb up the English soccer pyramid after back-to-back promotions. Yet, it is Stockport County which topped League Two this season. Both of the first legs of the League Two Promotion Playoffs were scheduled for Monday, May 6. However, a waterlogged pitch forced a delay between Crawley Town and MK Dons. That game is now on Tuesday, May 7.

Consequently, the second legs are not on the same day. Doncaster Rovers will host Crewe Alexandra on Friday, May 10. The following day, MK Dons and Crawley battle for a spot in Wembley. That game in London determines who joins the other three teams going up to League One. Coverage of each game in the League Two Promotion Playoffs is available on ESPN+ as well.

National League
  • Promoted: Chesterfield and Bromley

Chesterfield, having recovered from the difficulties that expelled the club from the EFL for the first time since 1921, is back in League Two as champions of the National League. However, joining Chesterfield in the professional soccer system in England is Bromley. Having defeated Solihull Moors on penalties at Wembley, Bromley is in the EFL for the first time in the club’s history.