What is the English Premier League?

English Premier League Soccer

This is a pretty general breakdown of the Premier League and how it works. The English Premier League is currently sponsored by Barclays and is often referred to as the Barclays Premier League or Barclays English Premier League. The Premier League is the top level of the complex English football league system.   Other levels below the Premier League include:

  • Football League Championship (Level 2)
  • Football League One (Level 3)
  • Football League Two (Level 4)
  • Conference National  (Level 5)

The Premier League is made up of 20 teams. The season runs from about the middle of August through May. All teams face each other twice during the season, with one home and one away match, resulting in 38 matches played for each team.

Points are allotted as follows:

win = 3 points

draw = 1 point

loss = 0 points

There are no regular end-of-season play-offs in the Premier League. The team with the most points at the end of the season wins the title.  Goal difference and number of goals scored come into play in the event of a tie on points. The top 4 teams qualify for following year’s UEFA Champions League, a tournament of elite soccer teams that runs concurrent with the PL season.

In addition to vying for the top spots, teams also battle to remain in the Premier League. The bottom three teams get relegated, meaning they are sent down to the Football League Championship, while  three teams from that league are promoted to the Premier League. This is standard practice in English soccer – teams are given a chance to advance through lower tier leagues via a system relegation and promotion. At the end of the 2011-12 season, Blackburn, Bolton, and Wolverhampton were all relegated to the League Championship while Reading, West Ham United and Southampton were promoted to the Premier League.

With point accumulation being the statistic driving the league it means that every match of the season makes a difference. This system of entry into the Champions League and other European tournaments, as well as the system of relegation and promotion, create some great end-of-season suspense. The final day of the season can be very dramatic, with some teams struggling to remain in their league and others hoping to secure a tournament slot or even win a league title. The end of 2011-12 season was one of the most dramatic in recent history.

The English Premier League (EPL) is a very exciting league and filled with some of the best players and clubs in the world.