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Best Betting Sites UK / Latest Non League News / How Do The National League Playoffs Work? Format Explained and Trends Analysed

How Do The National League Playoffs Work? Format Explained and Trends Analysed

Publish Date: 18/03/2024
Fact checked by: James Leeland

The playoffs are one of football's great entities, providing entertainment season upon season. The 2017/18 season saw the introduction of a six-team playoff system in the National League, meaning sixth and seventh place were also given the chance for the promotion. It has certainly made the league more entertaining, but just how does the National League playoffs work?

National League

Quarter Finals:

Match A: 4th Place vs 7th Place

Match B: 5th Place vs 6th Place

Semi Finals:

Match C: 2nd Place vs Winner of Match B

Match D: 3rd Place vs Winner of Match A

Final:

Match E: Winner of Match C vs Winner of Match D at Wembley

What's new?

As opposed to the old four-team playoff system that saw second place play fifth place and third place face fourth in a two-legged tie, before a one legged tie at Wembley, the six team system looks to rewards teams the higher they finish in the league. In the quarter finals, fourth and fifth get rewarded with a home tie against lower ranked sides, before the winners of these games travel to face second and third place in the final - played at Wembley.

The National League North/South playoffs are virtually the same - with the only difference the location of the final. While the the fifth tier final is at Wembley, finals in the sixth tier are played at the ground of the highest ranking side.

Does The New Format Favour The Higher Rankings?

The answer is yes - in the National League, with 4/6 of the teams promoted since the new format finishing second or third. The National League South has seen 4/5 finish in the top three, while the National League North has only seen 2/5.

Who's Been Promoted?

National League

Tranmere (2nd)

Salford (3rd)

Harrogate (2nd)

Hartlepool (4th)

Grimsby (6th)

Notts County (2nd)

National League North

Harrogate (6th)

Chorley (2nd)

Altrincham (5th)

York (5th)

Kidderminster (6th)

National League South

Braintree (6th)

Woking (2nd)

Weymouth (3rd)

Dorking (2nd)

Oxford City (3rd)

Who Will Make The Playoffs This Year?

Click here for our National League playoff prediction.

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