English Premier League Guide

The English Premier League (EPL) is one of the most prestigious and widely followed football leagues in the world. The league has a rich history dating back to its inception in 1992 and has since grown to become one of the most competitive and exciting football leagues in the world. In this article, we will take a closer look at the format of the English Premier League.

Structure of the EPL

The EPL is a professional football league consisting of 20 clubs. Each team plays a total of 38 matches in a season, with 19 home games and 19 away games. The season usually starts in mid-August and ends in mid-May the following year.

Points System

The points system used in the EPL is straightforward. A team earns three points for a win, one point for a draw, and no points for a loss. At the end of the season, the team with the most points is crowned the champions of the league.

In the event that two teams finish the season with the same number of points, the following criteria are used to determine the winner:

  1. Goal difference - The team with the highest goal difference is ranked higher.
  2. Goals scored - If both teams have the same goal difference, the team that has scored the most goals is ranked higher.
  3. Head-to-head record - If two teams are tied on points, goal difference, and goals scored, the team that has a better head-to-head record is ranked higher.

Promotion and Relegation

The Premier League is the top tier of the English soccer pyramid, so there is no promotion available. However, at the end of the season, the bottom three teams in the league are relegated to the Championship, the second tier of English football. In turn, the top two teams from the Championship are promoted to the EPL, while the team that finishes third enters a playoff with the teams that finish in positions three to six in the Championship.

The winner of the playoff is promoted to the EPL, and the other teams remain in the Championship. This system ensures that the league remains competitive, and there is a constant stream of fresh talent and competition.

For more details, read our article about promotion and relegation.

European Qualification

In addition to the title race and relegation battle, another key aspect of the English Premier League is the race for European qualification. At the time of writing, the maximum number of English teams that can qualify for European competitions is seven. This number can be subject to change based on the performances of the English teams in European competitions in previous seasons.

There are 3 European competitions that teams are able to qualify for:

UEFA Champions League (UCL)

The Champions League is the most prestigious European competition that contains the elite teams. In normal circumstances, the top four teams in the Premier League at the end of the season qualify for the UEFA Champions League.

UEFA Europa League (UEL)

The Europa League is the second tier of European competition. In normal circumstances, the team that finishes the Premier League season in 5th position will qualify for the UEFA Europa League. In addition, the winners of the English FA Cup will also qualify.

UEFA Europa Conference League (UECL)

The third tier of European competition is the Europa Conference League. Qualification is gained by winning the English Football League Cup. However, if the winners also finish in the top 6 of the Premier League (which almost always happens), then the team that finishes 6th in the Premier League will qualify instead.

Scenarios that can change qualifications

  • The FA Cup winners will normally qualify for the Europa League. However, if the winners finish in the top five of the Premier League, their UEL group stage place will go to the next-highest-ranked team not qualified for UEFA competitions in the Premier League.
  • The English Football League Cup winners normally qualify for the Europa Conference League. However, if the winners finish in the top five of the Premier League (or top six if the above point happens), their UECL playoff place will go to the next-highest-ranked team not qualified for UEFA competitions in the Premier League.
  • If a Premier League team wins the Champions League or the Europa League, they will automatically qualify for next season's competition, regardless of the position they finish in the Premier League. If either of these teams finish in the top four, their qualification via league position is not transferred to another team.
  • If a Premier League team wins the Champions League and another team wins the Europa League and neither has qualified by any other method, the team that finishes in 4th position in the Premier League will drop into the Europa League for the next season.

Transfer Window

The transfer window is a key feature of the English Premier League and allows clubs to buy and sell players from other teams. The EPL has two transfer windows in a season - the summer transfer window and the winter transfer window.

The summer transfer window opens at the end of the previous season and runs until the start of the new season. This gives clubs the opportunity to strengthen their squads before the start of the new campaign. The winter transfer window, on the other hand, opens in January and closes at the end of the month. This provides clubs with a chance to address any weaknesses in their squad or add depth to their squad midway through the season.

During the transfer windows, clubs are able to buy and sell players from other teams. The transfer market is a complex and competitive marketplace, with clubs often having to negotiate with other teams, agents, and players themselves to secure a deal. The transfer fees involved in these deals can be significant, with some of the biggest clubs in the EPL spending hundreds of millions of pounds on new players each year.

In addition to transfer fees, clubs also have to negotiate player contracts, which can include signing-on bonuses, performance-related bonuses, and other incentives. Clubs also have to comply with various rules and regulations, such as Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations, which limit the amount of money that clubs can spend on player transfers and wages.

The transfer window is a source of excitement and speculation for fans, with rumors and speculation about potential deals dominating the media and social media in the weeks leading up to the deadline.

Financial Fair Play (FFP)

Financial Fair Play (FFP) is a set of regulations introduced by UEFA to promote financial stability within football and prevent clubs from overspending and potentially causing financial instability. The EPL has its own version of FFP rules, which are designed to ensure that clubs operate within their financial means and maintain long-term financial stability.

Under the EPL's FFP rules, clubs are required to submit financial information to the league on a regular basis, including information on their revenues, expenses, and debts. The league then reviews this information to ensure that clubs are not spending beyond their means or relying too heavily on loans or other forms of external funding.

One of the key principles of FFP is that clubs should balance their spending with their revenues, and not accumulate excessive levels of debt. This means that clubs are not allowed to spend more than they earn in a given year, and are also required to limit their losses over a certain period of time.

Another key aspect of FFP is that it aims to promote transparency and fair competition within football. Clubs that violate FFP rules may face sanctions, such as fines or point deductions, and may also be prohibited from participating in certain competitions, such as the Champions League or Europa League.

The implementation of FFP has been a controversial issue within football, with some arguing that it unfairly favors wealthy clubs and restricts the ability of smaller clubs to compete. Others argue that FFP is necessary to promote financial stability and prevent clubs from engaging in reckless spending that could potentially cause long-term harm to the sport.


When does the English Premier League start?

The English Premier League season usually starts in mid-August and ends in mid-May the following year.