BBC Sport outlines the battles for promotion and relegation – and the race for European qualification – in England and Scotland.
WHAT CAN HAPPEN THIS WEEKEND?
- Celtic can clinch the Scottish title
- Wycombe, Raith or Ayr, and Montrose or Peterhead can be promoted
- West Brom, Stoke, Burton, Barnsley, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Barnet and Queen’s Park or Albion Rovers can be relegated
- Wigan and Accrington (who are already promoted) can clinch their divisional titles
- Man Utd and Liverpool can qualify for the Champions League
- Burnley can secure a Europa League place
RECENT PROMOTIONS, RELEGATIONS, TITLES & QUALIFICATIONS
Manchester City won the Premier League title on 15 April as Manchester United lost 1-0 to West Brom. They, and the teams finishing second, third and fourth will qualify for the group stage of next season’s Champions League.
Because the FA Cup winners (Manchester United or Chelsea) and EFL Cup winners (Manchester City) have already qualified for Europe through their league position, the fifth, sixth and seventh-placed clubs will all qualify for the Europa League. The fifth and sixth-placed teams will enter at the group stage, the seventh-placed team in the second qualifying round.
If Arsenal win the Europa League and finish outside the top four, they will qualify for the Champions League, and only two English sides will enter the Europa League as no more than seven clubs from each country can compete in Europe.
Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham are assured of top-six places, and look likely to qualify for the Champions League. (Manchester United and Liverpool can make sure of a Champions League spot this weekend). Chelsea and Arsenal are also guaranteed European places – and Burnley can clinch a Europa League place on Saturday if they win and Leicester fail to win, or if they draw, Leicester lose and Everton fail to win.
The bottom three teams will be relegated to the Championship. West Brom will be relegated on Saturday unless they beat Newcastle. Even that will not be enough if Swansea beat Chelsea. Stoke can also be relegated this weekend if they lose at Liverpool and several other results go against them.
They will be joined by one of Cardiff, Fulham and Aston Villa, with the two unsuccessful clubs entering the play-offs with the fifth and sixth-placed teams.
Middlesbrough and Derby can tie up the last two play-off spots this weekend.
The bottom three teams will be relegated to League One. Sunderland‘s relegation was confirmed after their 2-1 defeat by Burton on 21 April. Burton will go down if they lose to Bolton on Saturday – a result that would also relegate Barnsley if they fail to beat Brentford. A draw would leave Burton on the brink, needing a big swing in goal difference in their final game.
Wigan Athletic were promoted to the Championship after their 4-0 win over Fleetwood on 21 April, and they will be joined by Blackburn Rovers who booked their place by winning 1-0 at Doncaster three days later.
Shrewsbury Town, Rotherham United and two other clubs will contest the play-offs.
The bottom four teams will be relegated to League Two. Bury were the first Football League team to suffer this fate after a 3-2 home defeat by Northampton on 14 April. Milton Keynes Dons are all but down, as they are six points adrift and needing a 17-goal swing in goal difference over their last two games. Their relegation can be confirmed on Saturday – as can that of Northampton, who will go down if they fail to win and other results go against them.
Accrington Stanley were promoted to League One by beating Yeovil 2-0 on 17 April. They can clinch the title on Saturday if they avoid defeat against Lincoln on Saturday, or if Luton fail to win.
Luton Town guaranteed one of the other two promotion places by beating Carlisle on 21 April. Wycombe will clinch the other if they win at Chesterfield on Saturday and other results go in their favour.
The next four teams will enter the play-offs. Wycombe are assured of at least a play-off place, along with Exeter and Notts County. They will be joined by two of Lincoln, Coventry and Mansfield – with the Imps needing one more point to make sure of their spot, while Coventry can join them if they better Mansfield’s result.
The bottom two teams will be relegated to the National League. Chesterfield‘s fate was sealed on 24 April when rivals Morecambe drew 0-0 with Cambridge, and Barnet will join them on Saturday unless they win at Morecambe.
Macclesfield Town are promoted to the English Football League, having clinched the National League title with a 2-0 win at Eastleigh on 21 April.
Tranmere Rovers, Sutton United and Aldershot Town will join three other teams in the play-offs for the second promotion place. Ebbsfleet, Fylde, Boreham Wood, Bromley, Dover and Wrexham are all in contention.
The fourth and seventh-placed teams will meet in the first round of the play-offs, with the winners facing the second-placed side (Tranmere). Also in the first round, the fifth and sixth-placed teams play off for the right to face the third-placed side (Sutton or Aldershot) in the semi-finals. The two semi-final winners meet in the final, with the winners of that game promoted to the EFL.
The bottom four teams will be relegated, and replaced by the champions and play-off winners of the National League North and South divisions.
Chester were the first team in England’s top five divisions to be relegated when they lost 2-0 to Tranmere on 7 April, while Guiseley joined them after losing 1-0 at home to Barrow on 17 April. Torquay United were the third team relegated after their 1-1 draw with Hartlepool on 21 April, and the fourth place is between Woking and Barrow. Realistically, Woking will go down unless they win their final game and Barrow fail to win.
Salford City, co-owned by former Manchester United players Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt since 2014, clinched the National League North title on 21 April. The National League South title is between Havant & Waterlooville and Dartford, who are level on points going into Saturday’s final round of games.
The Premiership has split after the 33rd round of games, with the top six and the bottom six playing the other teams in their ‘half’ for a fourth and final time.
Celtic, already assured of a European place, will clinch the title if they beat Rangers on Sunday.
The champions will enter the Champions League at the first qualifying round. The second and third-placed sides will qualify for the Europa League first qualifying round, with the Scottish Cup winners joining at the second qualifying round. This will be Motherwell if they win the Cup – but if Celtic win it, the fourth-placed Premiership team will qualify as well, as Celtic are already assured of Europe because of their league position.
The bottom side will be relegated to the Scottish Championship, while the 11th-placed side will face the winners of the Championship play-offs over two legs, with the losers condemned to a place in the second tier next season.
St Mirren were promoted to the Premiership as champions after avoiding defeat by Livingston on 14 April.
The third and fourth-placed teams will meet in the first round of the play-offs, with the winners playing the division’s second-placed team (Livingston). Whoever emerges victorious from that two-legged encounter will face the second bottom side in the Premiership – again on a home and away basis – with a spot in the top flight the prize. Livingston and Dundee United are both guaranteed a play-off place, with the final spot between Dunfermline and Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Realistically, goal difference means that Inverness’s only hope is if they win on Saturday and the Pars lose.
Bottom club Brechin City, without a win all season, had their relegation to League One confirmed on 24 March. Ninth-placed Dumbarton will enter a play-off with three League One sides.
SCOTTISH LEAGUE ONE
The champions – Raith Rovers or Ayr United – will be promoted to the Championship. Raith will win the title if they win their final game on Saturday or match Ayr’s result. Ayr need to better Raith’s result to pip them to the title.
The runners-up will enter a play-off with Arbroath, Alloa Athletic and ninth-placed Championship team Dumbarton.
The bottom club will be relegated to League Two, while the ninth-placed team will enter a play-off with three League Two sides. These two slots will be occupied by Queen’s Park and Albion Rovers. Realistically, goal difference means that Queen’s Park will be relegated unless they win their final game on Saturday and Albion lose.
SCOTTISH LEAGUE TWO
The champions – Montrose or Peterhead – will be promoted to League One. This will be Montrose, unless they lose their final game on Saturday and Peterhead win.
Whoever does not win the title will enter a play-off with two other sides, and the ninth-placed League One team. Two of the play-off contenders, Stirling Albion and Stenhousemuir, play each other – both teams will qualify unless Clyde win. If Stirling win, a Clyde win would take them above Stenhousemuir, but otherwise Clyde would need a hefty win (in the region of six goals) to overhaul one of the others on goal difference.
Highland League champions Cove Rangers and Lowland League champions Spartans meet in a two-legged play-off on 28 April and 1 May, with the winners facing League Two’s bottom club Cowdenbeath over two legs (on 5 and 12 May) for the final place in next season’s League Two.