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How the Premier League promotion race looks


We’ve reached the decisive moments of the 2023/24 EFL Championship season and the race to win promotion to the Premier League.

Leicester City have already secured their place back in England’s top flight for 2024/25, but the second automatic promotion place, plus the makeup of the playoffs, are yet to be confirmed.

Leeds United and Ipswich Town are locked in a battle to finish in the top two, although Southampton could still mathematically snatch second spot in the standings, unlikely as that looks.

Those three were all guaranteed at least a playoff place as of April 27, but there’s a real scrap going on for fifth and sixth place, with four teams still just about in the running.

In total, three teams will earn promotion to the Premier League in 2024, replacing three sides who will be relegated from the top flight. The pedigree and riches on offer for teams competing in England’s top men’s division make the Championship promotion race one of the most exciting in European football.

The Sporting News has the latest on which teams are going up, and when the 2024 playoffs will take place.

MORE: Reliving Leicester City’s incredible Premier League title win

Leicester City became the first team to secure promotion to the Premier League in the 2023/24 season. They are guaranteed to finish in the top two as a result of Leeds United’s shock 4-0 loss to QPR on April 26.

Leeds sit second in the table and are certain of a playoff place, as are Ipswich Town in third and Southampton in fourth. Ipswich have two games in hand on Leeds, giving them the edge in the race for the top two: if they take a minimum of five points from their final three games, they will be promoted.

The final two playoff places are likely to be filled by two of West BromNorwich City, and Hull CityCoventry City can still mathematically finish in the top six, but it’s unlikely: they would need to win all three of their remaining games and hope that at least two of the three teams directly above them finish on no more than 72 points.

Championship table before matches on April 27, 2024

Y – secured automatic promotion to Premier League
Z – assured of a playoff spot

Leicester City became the first team in this season’s Championship to win promotion to the Premier League.

They celebrated without even kicking a ball on April 26: Leeds’ shock 4-0 loss at QPR meant the Foxes were guaranteed to finish in the top two positions in the table. They can now focus on winning the Championship title, which they will do if they win their remaining two games, or if Ipswich Town fail to accrue at least five points from their three matches left.

Leicester were relegated from the top division last year along with Leeds and Southampton, just seven years after their miraculous Premier League title triumph. They took a gamble before 2023/24 started by appointing Enzo Maresca as manager — the former Juventus and Sevilla midfielder had just six months’ experience as a head coach on his resume and had spent the previous season as an assistant under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

Yet the appointment proved a masterstroke. Maresca restored a positive, proactive brand of football to Leicester, leading them to 30 wins from their opening 44 league games of the season. If they win their final two matches, they will become the first club in Championship history to reach the 100-point mark in a single season on two occasions.

MORE: The full, updated EFL Championship standings for 2023/24

The final day of the regular Championship season is Saturday, May 4, when all 24 teams will kick off at the same time (12:30 p.m. local time/7:30 a.m. ET).

The teams who finish third, fourth, fifth and sixth in the table will then contest the promotion playoffs. This is effectively a small-scale elimination tournament, with two two-legged semifinals and a final to decide who earns a place in the Premier League for next season.

At the semifinal stage, the team that ends the regular season in third will face the team that finished sixth, while fourth place will meet third place. The first legs of the semifinals take place on May 12 and May 13, with the return fixtures on May 16 and May 17.

The Championship playoff final at Wembley Stadium is on Sunday, May 26.

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