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About the Play-Offs

The Sky Bet EFL play-offs are an annual series of matches to determine the final promotion places within each division of the EFL.

Each set of play-offs involve the four teams that finish directly below the automatic promotion places. These teams meet in a series of play-off matches to determine the final team that will be promoted.

The play-offs were first introduced in 1987 and have taken place at the conclusion of every season since. Since 1990 the winners of each division's play-off competition have been determined in a one-off final (held at Wembley Stadium).

The four teams finishing directly below the automatic promotion places in each of the three EFL divisions enter the play-offs in a chance to win promotion to the division above. In the Championship and League One these are the teams finishing in third, fourth, fifth and sixth place, while in League Two (with its greater number of teams automatically promoted), it is the teams finishing in fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh place that enter the play-offs.

The highest-finishing team of the four plays the team that finished lowest, with the first leg being held at the home of the team that finished lowest and the second leg being held at the home of the team that finished highest. This is designed to give the highest finishing team an advantage. This is the same for the teams that finished second highest and second lowest, with the advantage being with the team that finished the higher.

The winner of a semi-finals is decided by the tie's aggregate score after the two legs. If the aggregate score is level at the end of the 90 minutes of the second leg, then an additional 30 minutes of extra time is played to try to create a winning team. If the score at the end of extra time is still level then the tie is decided by penalty kicks. Away goals do not count in the play-off semi final matches. 

The two winners from the semi-finals meet at a neutral venue in the final. The final must be decided on the day, so extra time and penalties may be carried out if the scores are level. The winner of the tie gains promotion to the league above the one they are currenly in.