At the moment, in all the major European leagues, the current relegation/promotion system is simple – 3 up, 3 down, often with a play-off system there to decide the 3rd team that comes up. If you look about in most other European league, even Germany, there is a relegation play-off between the team or teams finishing in the last relegation place, and teams in the league below.
So, this season in Germany it seems Hamburg will face Furth or Kaiserslautern to stay in the league – and I think that this is more intriguing than a 2 leg playoff Semi-Final and then a final. The current system does however give more teams something to play for, but I also think the current system needs updating as it is becoming a little tedious.
Lets take a look at some of the current systems in use around Europe:
Dutch Eredivisie/Eerste Division
In Holland where one team gets relegated from the Eredivisie, and two go into a playoff system with 6 teams from the Eerste Division below – last season Go Ahead Eagles finished 7th in the 2nd Division and still managed to get promoted by beating a team from the division above, whilst Roda, who were in the bottom 3 of the Eredivisie, remained in the top league (however they were relegated this season). This is one I would not use in England, Spain and Italy.
In Germany it is simpler – Two get relegated in the traditional way, and the 16th placed team, Hamburg this season, face the 3rd place team in the Bundesliga II (currently Furth, although Kaiserslautern could still get the place).
Portuguese Liga Zon Sagres/Division 1
It’s a similar story in Portugal, where one team goes down, and one go into a playoff with the 2nd place team in the 2nd Division. Pacos Ferreira, who competed in the Europa League this season are currently occupying this position – so often the way with a long winded European campaign.
Russian Premier League/Division 1
The Russian model is again different – two go down automatically, and two face a playoff against teams from the league below. Failed Big-spenders Anzhi are all but relegated, a sign that money doesn’t guarantee success!
What Can be Extracted from these?
A system that incorporates all of these could be good for the English, Spanish and Italian leagues. To keep more teams interested, I think that a two team playoff in the 2nd Division should occur to decide the opposition to face the team from the league above. Two should go down as per usual, and then the 18th place team goes into this playoff.
Alternatively, three from the league below and one from the top division could go into a 4 team round robin mini league, and the one who comes out on top goes into the Premier League/La Liga/Serie A.
Let us know your thoughts!