Changes to Premier League table rules for 2019/20 – Head-to-head replaces potential playoff

The Premier League have confirmed a shake-up to the English top-flight table rules for next season.

Man City reign supreme

The 2018/19 Premier League campaign proved one for the ages.

The battles for both the title and a spot in the top-4 came down to the final day of the season, with the last relegation spot having only been decided the week prior.

In the end, Manchester City pipped Liverpool to retain their English top-flight crown, while Chelsea and Tottenham beat out Arsenal to secure respective Champions League berths.

Brighton & Hove Albion, meanwhile, retained their Premier League status, at the expense of Neil Warnock’s Cardiff.

Changes incoming

Next season, however, will see a shake-up in how the placing system is decided, come the conclusion of the campaign.

As confirmed in an official statement on the Premier League website, the respective races for all of the title, European places and relegation, in the case that clubs finish on the same points total, goal difference and goals scored, will be decided on a head-to-head basis.

This replaces the previous system, whereby a playoff fixture would be required as a decider.

The statement in full reads as follows:

If two or more clubs finish level in the table when competing for the title or European qualification, or when relegation is at stake, their records in the head-to-head matches will now be used to separate them.

In previous seasons, teams involved in these specific battles who finished with the same points total, goal difference and number of goals scored would be pitted against each other in a playoff.

But that extra match is now less likely.

In 2019/20 the team who have collected the most points in the head-to-head duels between the sides lying level on points, goal difference and number of goals scored, will take the highest finishing position, while the team with the fewest will take the lowest place.

If clubs still cannot be separated, the team who scored the most goals away from home in the head-to-head matches will get the highest position.

Only if the clubs remain level in the table after this will a playoff be arranged, at a neutral ground, with the format, timing and venue being determined by the Premier League Board.

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