Relegation (sport)

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In German sport, qualification games are called relegation (from the Latin relegatio , `` fortschickung '', `` banishment '', `` referral '') , in which, for the participants, it is usually either a matter of preventing relegation to a lower level or promotion to higher level League goes. The term relegatio only refers to the team that tries to prevent their relegation in one or more comparisons. In some sports relegation tournaments or rounds are played.

Another name for playoffs is barrage .

Word origin

In Latin , relegatio means reference, distance, banishment . In the past, " relegation " was still used for referral from a university.

Since 1982 the term has been used for play- offs and decision-making rounds, which are usually about promotion to a higher league, for example a play-off between one of the worst teams in the upper division and one of the best in the lower division, in which the team of the higher division to remain in this class, the team of the lower division plays for promotion.

However, it could (deviating even more from the original meaning of the word) be pure promotion games or promotion rounds in which all teams involved can only move up (such as in a play-off between leaders of two leagues). The more appropriate term for this would be “qualification game” because it is not a relegation game from the higher class, but only a promotion game from the lower class.

In Germany, the term relegation game has become common. In English , the term relegation has the original meaning of descent.

In Switzerland, the French term Barrage (pl. Barrages ) or simply the terms ascent / descent are used. In contrast to other meanings of the word barrage such as dam , reservoir or barrage, it should actually be called Match de Barrage or Barrage game . The term is mainly used in sports that have their origins in France such as pétanque or are very popular in France such as rugby or cycling , and has established itself in German-speaking Switzerland , the Czech Republic , Greece and Poland , among others .



Promotion and relegation games have been taking place in the German Bundesliga with interruptions since 1975. There are relegation games in the entire football league system in Germany .


History of the French relegation games

In the first years ( 1932 to 1939 and 1945 to 1950 ) there were no barrages between the first and second division , only a direct descent or promotion. This was also true from 1957 to 1963 , 1970 to 1979 and between 1993/94 and 2015/16 inclusive.

In the following periods, on the other hand, there were relegation games, either with a return match and, if necessary, a decisive match (with two teams involved), in tournament form with a simple round of points (with three or four participants) or in several cross-over games (with four to seven participants) ):

  • 1950/51, 1963 / 64–1967 / 68, 1969/70: two first and two second divisions
  • 1951 / 52–1956 / 57, 1968/69, from 2016/17: one first and one second division
  • 1979/80: one first and three second divisions
  • 1980 / 81–1983 / 84: one first and four second division
  • 1984 / 85–1992 / 93: one first division and six second division

In the 1950s and 1960s, the weights between the teams from the two leagues were almost evenly distributed: Twelve first and nine second divisions successfully survived the barrages. On the other hand, in the relegation rounds from 1979/80, when a single first division team had to deal with up to six lower-class teams, the former only in five of the 14 years to secure relegation in Division 1 in this way . During this period, with one exception, three promotion places were always awarded, but in the overwhelming number of cases they went to teams in Division 2 .

Relegation matches

The table shows participants and - only for single pairings - game results. The clubs that belonged to the first division due to relegation in the following season are shown in bold. In the years in which more than two teams were involved, there were three different modes:
Mode A: Everyone played once against each participant (simple point round).
Mode B: Each participant played the first and second leg against the two teams from the league to which he himself did not belong; A table was created from all the results, the two best points of which rose.
Mode C: First cross-over games between the second and third placed in the second division groups, the best of whom then played against the third from last first division team for a division 1 place.

Relegation in France: participants and results
season First division (s) Second division (s) Mode or
1951 FC Sète , RC Lens FC Rouen , RCFC Besançon Mode A
1952 Olympique Marseille US Valenciennes 4: 0, 1: 3
1953 Stade Rennes UC RC Strasbourg 1: 3, 0: 4
1954 Stade Français RC Paris 1: 1, 2: 3
1955 Lille OSC Stade Rennes UC 6: 1, 1: 0
1956 Lille OSC US Valenciennes 2: 1, 0: 1, 0: 4
1957 Stade Rennes UC Lille OSC 2: 0, 1: 3, 1: 2
1964 Stade Français , RC Paris FC Metz , SC Toulon Mode B
1965 FC Rouen , Olympique Nîmes Limoges FC , Boulogne US Mode B
1966 Lille OSC , Olympique Nîmes Limoges FC, Bastia SEC Mode B
1967 Toulouse FC , Olympique Nîmes AS Aix , SEC Bastia Mode B
1968 RC Strasbourg , RC Lens Stade Reims , Olympique Nîmes Mode B
1969 AS Monaco AS Angoulême 2: 1, 0: 1, 0: 2
1970 AC Ajaccio *, SEC Bastia AS Nancy , Olympique Avignon Mode B
1980 Olympique Lyon Olympique Avignon, Stade Rennes, FC Tours Mode C
1981 FC Tours Stade Brest , La Paillade Montpellier , US Nœux , FC Toulouse Mode C
1982 US Valenciennes FC Mulhouse , FC Rouen , CS Thonon, Toulouse Mode C
1983 FC Tours Olympique Nîmes , Stade Reims, Stade Rennes , SC Toulon Mode C
1984 AS Saint-Etienne Olympique Marseille , OGC Nice , RC Paris , FC Tours Mode C
1985 FC Rouen Le Havre AC , FC Mulhouse, Olympique Nîmes, OGC Nice , Stade Rennes , AS Saint-Étienne Mode C
1986 AS Nancy Olympique Alès , EA Guingamp , Olympique Lyon, FC Mulhouse, RC Paris , AS Saint-Étienne Mode C
1987 FC Sochaux SM Caen , AS Cannes , Olympique Lyon, La Paillade Montpellier , FC Mulhouse, Chamois Niort Mode C
1988 Chamois Niort Olympique Alès, SM Caen , Olympique Lyon, FC Mulhouse, FC Sochaux , RC Strasbourg Mode C
1989 RC Strasbourg Brest Armoricaine , Le Havre AC, Olympique Lyon , FC Mulhouse , Olympique Nîmes, Stade Rennes Mode C
1990 OGC Nice AS Nancy , Olympique Nîmes, Stade Rennes , FC Rouen, RC Strasbourg, US Valenciennes Mode C
1991 Toulouse FC Stade Laval , Le Havre AC , RC Lens , Olympique Nîmes , RC Strasbourg, US Valenciennes Mode C
1992 Rennes stadium SCO Angers , Girondins Bordeaux , FC Istres , Le Mans UC , RC Strasbourg , US Valenciennes Mode C
1993 US Valenciennes SCO Angers , AS Cannes , FC Martigues , OGC Nice, Stade Rennes, FC Rouen Mode C

* Ajaccio was also allowed to remain in the top division due to a subsequent league increase.


In Austria, the bottom of the 2nd division is relegated. The champions of the three regional leagues fight in a play-off with the penultimate of the first division for two promotion places. This regulation will be changed from the 2014/15 season so that the champions of the (then probably only two regional leagues) will be promoted directly to the first division.


In the league system of the Swiss Football Association played from the 2003/04 season to the 2011/12 season the table Ninth Super League against second of the League Challenge for a place in the Super League. This barrage has since been abolished in favor of a single promoter / relegator. The Barrage will be played again from the 2018/19 season.

Other countries

In addition to the "normal" regulation with fixed relegation and promotion, various football associations have established different promotion / relegation modes in their leagues:

  • Argentina : There are two permanent relegations and promoters. The third and fourth from bottom of the Primera Division play against the 3rd and 4th of the Nacional B for places in the first division.
  • England : Two or three teams are promoted directly, four teams placed behind play in play-offs for another place.
  • Italy : Two teams from Serie B are promoted directly. If the difference in points between 3rd and 4th place is less than 10 points, places 3 to 6 play off the third promoted player in play-offs.
  • Netherlands : Only the bottom of the table in the Eredivisie relegates and the champion in the Eerste Divisie rises. The 16th and 17th of the first division and the six period champions of the second division play in a play-off mode for two more places.
  • Belgium : Relegation will be introduced again from the 2020/21 season. In the 2020/21 season, the bottom of the division 1A will be relegated ; the master of division 1B rises. The team in 15th place in Division 1A plays against the second in Division 1B for the last free place in Division 1A. There will be no relegation games in the 2021/22 season, as Division 1A is to be reduced from 18 to 16 clubs. From the 2021/22 season onwards, the winners of both tranches will play again in division 1B in promotion games for direct promotion to division 1A. The loser of these promotion games will only play the team in 15th place in Division 1A from the 2022/23 season.


In pétanque , a barrage is played as a deciding game in poule .

Web links

Wiktionary: Relegation  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ All information from Alex Graham: Football in France. A statistical record 1894-2005. Soccer Books, Cleethorpes 2005, ISBN 1-86223-138-9 , pp. 28ff.
  2. Direct ascent from the 2014/15 season fixed. Der Standard , December 14, 2012, accessed May 31, 2013 .
  3. ^ Communication après l'Assemblée Générale de la Pro League. Pro League, July 31, 2020, accessed August 2, 2020 (French).
  4. François Zaleski: Pro League 2020-2021: 16 clubs, mini-playoffs and 2 montants potentials. RTBF, July 7, 2020, accessed on July 7, 2020 (French).