Promotion and relegation

In sports leagues, promotion and relegation is a process where teams are transferred between multiple divisions based on their performance for the completed season. Leagues that use promotion and relegation systems are often called open leagues. In a system of promotion and relegation, the best-ranked team(s) in the lower division are promoted to the higher division for the next season, and the worst-ranked team(s) in the higher division are relegated to the lower division for the next season. In some leagues, playoffs or qualifying rounds are also used to determine rankings. This process can continue through several levels of divisions, with teams being exchanged between adjacent divisions. During the season, teams that are high enough in the league table that they would qualify for promotion are sometimes said to be in the promotion zone, and those at the bottom are in the relegation zone (colloquially the drop zone or facing the drop).[1]

Luton Town F.C. have played in all fully professional divisions of the English football league system (plus the highest tier in the non-league system). Their history shows how teams can move quickly between the levels through successive promotions or relegations.

An alternate system of league organization, used primarily in Australia, Canada, Singapore and the United States, is a closed model based on licensing or franchises. This maintains the same teams from year to year, with occasional admission of expansion teams and relocation of existing teams, and with no team movement between the major league and minor leagues.


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