Premier League announces radical modifications to PL2

Premier League announces radical modifications to PL2

In the upcoming season, the elite Category One Academy U21 teams will undergo significant changes, as the two extant divisions will be merged into a new Premier League 2 with 26 clubs.

The changes will reintroduce playoffs at the conclusion of the season, this time involving the top 16 teams. Elimination of promotion and relegation between the two divisions, as well as the elimination of the traditional home-and-away format.

In the new system, all 26 clubs with Category One academies will be initially assigned into five pots based on their performances in Premier League 2 over the previous three seasons, with fixtures determined by a random draw.

Teams will only face another team from their pot once, either at home or on the road, as well as three to five teams from the other pots, either at home or on the road.

Thereafter, the PL2 table will rank the clubs from 1 to 26, with the top 16 clubs qualifying for a single-match elimination playoff. These postseason matchups will be determined by league standings, with the higher-ranked team playing at home.

The Premier League explained the rationale behind the new system as follows: “The change was the result of a comprehensive review of PDP competitions, which sought to improve the transition of talented Academy players into senior football. Various stakeholders, including football directors, Academy managers, first-team coaches, and Academy players, were involved in the review.”

“The elimination of relegation introduces positive risk; it encourages clubs to prioritize development and reduces the impact of relegation on future classes of U21 players.

“Also, the playoff experience will allow 16 teams to compete in Division 2 as opposed to four in previous seasons.

“The new format will also provide teams with a greater variety of opponents, as they will face 20 different opponents as opposed to 13 in Division 1 and 10 in Division 2.”

“The single division format also provides greater flexibility to increase or decrease the number of fixtures in future seasons, depending on the number of teams in the league, and access to additional development opportunities, such as matches against senior teams and international opposition.”

Premier League announces radical modifications to PL2