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The Premier League
The Premier League is the highest professional men’s football league in England. Each season 20 clubs play eachother twice in a home and away setting, which makes that each team plays 38 matches during a league season. Although the Premier League is England’s top flight, several Welsh clubs can also qualify to play in the English leagues. Currently the Premier League is sponsored by Barclays Bank, which is why the it’s officially known as the Barclays Premier League. It is often being referred to as the English Premier League as well, mostly outside of England.
Seasons run from August to May and most games are played on Saturday afternoon or on Sunday, and occasionally during weekday evenings. Teams receive three points for a win, one point for a draw and no points when they lose. At the end of the season the outcome is decided as follows: Teams are ranked by total points, then goal difference, and then goals scored. The team with the most points at the end of the season is the champion. When more than one team finishes on a same level of points, the goal difference will be decisive, and if that gives no outcome the number of goals scored determines the final ranking of a team. If that still does not offer clarity, teams can finish in the same position. However, when it results in a tie for the championship, relegation or qualification for European competitions, a play-off match will be played at a neutral venue to decide the winner.
Qualification for other competitions
While the highest ranked team is crowned champion, several other qualifications and relegations are at stake for the contesting teams. In the final ranking at the end of the season teams also qualify for the following:
• Numbers 1-3: Qualify for the UEFA Champions League Group Phase
• Number 4: Qualifies for the UEFA Champions League Play-off round for non-champions
• Number 5-7: Qualify for UEFA Europa League *
• Number 18-20: Relegate to the Football League Championship **
* Two of the three Europa League places are reserverd for the winners of the domnestic cup competitions; the FA Cup and the League Cup. If the FA Cup winner also finishes in the top four of the league (and qualifies for the Champions League) that Europa League place goes to the FA Cup runner-up. If the runner-up is also qualified, that place will go to the next best ranked team in the Premier League. If the winner of the League Cup finishes top four in the league, that Europa League place goes to the next best finisher in the league. Also, there is an extra fourth qualification spot for the Europa League available via the Fair Play initiative (if the Premier League ends up in the top three of the Fair Play rankings in Europe, the highest ranked team that has not qualified for European football will automatically qualify for the UEFA Europa League first qualifying round).
** The bottom three teams will relegate to the Football League Championship, and will be replaced by the top two ranked teams from that division, accompanied by the winner of the play-off round in that division, in which the third, fourth, fifth and sixth team compete for a Premier League spot.
Great, greater, greatest
The Premier League is known as the most-watched football league worldwide, as it is broadcasted in 212 countries to 643 million households, gathering a potential TV audience of no less than an incredible 4.7 billion people!