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Palais des Sports de Pau. Palais des Sports. Like the English playoffs, the Italian playoffs employ two-legged semi-finals, with the higher finisher in the league table earning home advantage in the second leg.
If the teams are level on aggregate after full-time of the second leg, away goals are not used, but extra time is used.
Unlike England, the Italian playoff final is two-legged, again with the higher finisher earning home advantage in the second leg. In both rounds, if the tie is level on aggregate after extra time in the second leg, the team that finished higher in the league standings wins.
In —04, Italy's football league used a two-legged test match to determine one spot in the top level of its system, Serie A.
For example, in the Netherlands, only one club is automatically relegated from its top level, the Eredivisie , each season, with the winner of the second-flight being promoted.
League in Japan used a test match series between the third-from-bottom team in J1 and third-place team in J2 see J. League club criteria. In turn, J2 will implement a playoff on the style of England for the 3rd to 6th clubs.
Mexico's top flight league, Liga MX , is contested annually by 18 teams. In each of two annual tournaments , every team plays every other team in the league once 17 games , after which the top eight teams advance to the Liguilla.
In the Liguilla, all rounds are home-and-away. Teams are drawn so the best team plays the worst, the second-best plays the second-worst, and so on.
After one round, the teams are redrawn so the best remaining team again plays the worst remaining one and the second-best faces the second-worst in the semi-finals.
The two winners of this round play each other for the championship. There is no playoff between the Apertura and Clausura winner.
As a result, the league crowns two champions each year. After each Clausura, the team with the lowest points-per-game total for the previous six tournaments three years, counting only Liga MX games is relegated to Ascenso MX to be replaced by that league's champion if eligible.
In the Netherlands, a playoff was introduced in season — It is used to determine which teams from the Eredivisie qualify for European football.
The playoff system has been criticized by clubs, players and fans as the number of matches will increase. Under the original playoff format, it was possible, though thoroughly unlikely, that the runner-up would not qualify for Europe; the following year, the format was changed so that the second-place team was assured of no worse than a UEFA Cup berth.
Starting in —09, the format was changed yet again. The only play-off will be for the clubs placed 5th through 8th. The winner of that play-off receives a ticket for the second qualification round of the EL.
Playoffs are also part of the promotion and relegation structure between the Eredivisie and the Eerste Divisie , the two highest football leagues in the Netherlands.
The top four clubs of the regular season qualified for the playoffs which was dubbed as the "Finals Series". The Scottish Football League SFL experimented briefly with test matches in —96 and —97, contested between the second-bottom team of the Premier Division and the second-placed team of the First Division.
The bottom team from the first-tier Premiership is automatically relegated and is replaced by the winners of the second-tier Championship, provided that club meets Premiership entry criteria.
The second-, third- and fourth-placed teams from the Championship qualify for a play-off consisting of two-legged ties, with the second-placed team receiving a bye to play the winner of the teams that finished third and fourth.
The winner of this play-off then faces the second-bottom Premiership team, also over two legs, with the winner of that tie taking up the final Premiership place again, assuming that the Championship club meets Premiership criteria.
Home and away ties decide semi-finals and a final, and the overall winner plays in the higher division the following season, with the loser playing in the lower division.
Beginning with the —15 season, promotion and relegation between the SPFL and the Scottish regional leagues were introduced. Following the end of the league season, the winners of the fifth-level Highland and Lowland Leagues compete in a two-legged playoff.
The winner then enters a two-legged playoff against the bottom team from Scottish League Two, with the winner of that tie either remaining in or promoted to League Two.
Long before the SPL era, two situations arose in which the top two teams in the table had to share the title as neither goal average nor goal difference had been instituted to break ties.
The first was the inaugural season , in which Dumbarton and Rangers both earned 29 points and had to play off for the title.
The match ended in a draw and both teams shared the title. The second happened 19 years later, in the Second Division , when Leith Athletic and Raith Rovers both earned 33 points.
This time, the clubs chose not to play off. In goal average was finally instituted. However, due to reserve teams being allowed to compete in the same football league system, subsequent places may be allowed to play off depending on reserve teams finishing within the 3rd to 6th places.
This system had been introduced in the s but ended in In Major League Soccer in the United States and Canada, from the season to the season , at the end of the regular season , the top five teams in each of its two conferences qualify for the playoffs.
Under this system, the conferences have separate playoff brackets. From to , six teams per conference qualify; 12 teams in total.
In , seven teams per conference qualify, 14 teams in all, and all rounds are single-elimination. In the Conference Quarterfinals, the sixth hosts the third, and the fifth hosts the fourth.
The top six seeds in the Eastern Conference get first-round byes, while Western teams have no byes. The top-seeded Eastern team hosts the eighth-ninth seeded winner, and the runner-up the seventh-tenth seeded winner.
Western teams have just the top seed hosting the eighth seed, the second hosting the seventh, besides the two other pairings.
In the conference semifinals, the top-eighth seed hosts the fourth-fifth seed winner, and the second-seventh seed plays the third-sixth.
The winners from this round advance to play in the conference finals. The winner of each conference will play for the MLS Cup , the league championship.
Since , the MLS Cup is hosted by the conference champion with the most table points during the regular season. In the case of ties after regulation in any round, 30 minutes of extra time divided into two minute periods would be played followed by a penalty-kick shootout, if necessary, to determine the winners.
The third seed hosted the fourth seed in the first round. The winner of that game advanced to the "Super Semifinal", hosted by the second seed. The Super Semifinal winner traveled to the top seed for the championship game.
The replacement of WPS, the National Women's Soccer League which launched in , has a more standard four-team knockout playoff in which the winners of two one-off semifinals advance to the one-off final.
Playoffs are used throughout Australia in Australian rules football to determine the premiership. The term finals is most commonly used to describe them.
In each league, between four and eight teams depending on league size qualify for the finals based on the league ladder at the end of the season. Australian rules football leagues employ finals systems which act as a combination between a single elimination tournament for lower-ranked teams and a double elimination tournament for higher-ranked teams in order to provide teams with an easier pathway to the Grand Final as reward for strong performances throughout the season.
Finals are decided by single matches, rather than series. The Australian Football League , which is the top level of the sport, currently has eight teams qualify for the finals under a system designed by the league in Between —, variants of the McIntyre System were used to accommodate four, five, six and eight teams, and prior to , six different finals systems were used.
In most other leagues, from state-level leagues such as the South Australian National Football League and West Australian Football League , down to local suburban leagues, it is most common for either four or five teams to qualify for the finals.
In these cases the Page—McIntyre final four system or the McIntyre final five system are used universally. The Australian Football League which was known until as the Victorian Football League was the first league to introduce regular finals when it was established in The South Australian National Football League introduced finals in , and other leagues soon followed.
Prior to , the premiership was generally awarded to the team with the best overall win-loss record at the end of the season. If two teams had finished with equal records, a playoff match for the premiership was required: this occurred in the Challenge Cup in , the South Australian Inter-club competition in , the SAFA in and , and in the VFA in The teams finishing in fourth and fifth place in the regular season face each other in the wildcard game.
The winner of the wildcard game faces the team that finished in third place in the first round of the play-offs. The winner of the first round faces the team that finished in second place during the regular season, and the winner of that round faces the team that finished in first place for the championship in the Korean Series.
This type of format is known as the stepladder playoff. Before , the original Japanese Baseball League had been a single-table league of franchises.
Before the playoff system was developed in both professional leagues, the Pacific League had applied a playoff system on two occasions. The first was between —, when a split-season was applied with a 5-game playoff between the winning teams from both halves of season unless a team won both of the halves so that they did not need to play such a game.
The second time was between —, when the top three teams played a two-staged stepladder knockout 3 games in the first stage and 5 games in the second stage to decide the League Champion and the team playing in the Japan Series.
The success of such a playoff system convinced the Central League to consider a similar approach. In , a new playoff system, named the " Climax Series ", was introduced to both professional leagues in NPB to decide the teams that would compete for the Japan Series.
The Climax Series basically applied the rule of the playoff system in the Pacific League, with one important change: each League championship is awarded to the team finishing the regular season at the top of their respective league, regardless of their fate in the playoffs.
This means that the two League Champions are not guaranteed to make the Japan Series. The Chunichi Dragons took advantage of this in the first Climax Series season, finishing second in the regular season but sweeping the Hanshin Tigers and the League Champion Yomiuri Giants in the Central League to win a place in the Japan Series; they subsequently defeated the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters to claim their first Japan Series in 52 years.
In , the format of Climax Series will have a slight change, in which the second stage will be played over a maximum of six games, with the League Champion starting with an automatic one game advantage.
Instead, it uses the term "postseason" as the title of the official elimination tournament held after the conclusion of the regular season.
Since the season , it has consisted of a first round single-elimination Wild Card Game between the two wild-card teams in each league, a best-of-five second round series called the Division Series , and two rounds of best-of-seven series for the League Championship Series and World Series.
One exception is , when the first-round series, the Wild Card Series, a best-of-three round, was created, along with the other rounds. First three seeds went to division champions, next three seeds to division runner-ups, and last two to the next-best records.
The pairings for the WCS is as follows: top seed vs. The DS will have the winner play the winner, while the winner plays the winner.
MLB uses a "" format for the final two rounds of its postseason tournament. The singular term "playoff" is reserved for the rare situation in which two or more teams find themselves tied at the end of the regular season and are forced to have a tiebreaking playoff game or games to determine which team will advance to the postseason.
Thus, a "playoff" is actually part of the regular season and can be called a " pennant playoff ". However, the plural term "playoffs" is conventionally used by fans and media to refer to baseball's postseason tournament, not including the World Series.
MLB is the oldest of the major American professional sports, dating back to the s. As such, it is steeped in tradition.
The final series to determine its champion has been called the "World Series" originally "World's Championship Series" and then "World's Series" as far back as the National League's contests with the American Association during the s.
Most leagues at the Triple-A , Double-A , and Class A Advanced classification levels include four qualifying teams which compete in two best-of-five rounds: semi-finals and finals.
Taiwan's playoff is different to many such competitions, due to the league's split-season format. The winners of the first half-season and the winners of the second half-season are eligible to play in the playoffs, but if the best overall team have not won either half season then they qualify into a wild card series against the weaker half-season winner, with the winner of this advancing into the Taiwan Series to face the other half-season winner.
If the first and second half winners are different, but one of them is also the best overall team, then both teams progress directly to the Taiwan Series.
Finally, if one team wins both halves of the season then a playoff will take place between the second and third best teams for the right to play them in the Final Series; in this case the team winning both halves of the season will begin the Taiwan Series with an automatic one game advantage.
Teams had always have different strength of schedule from each other; currently, a team plays a team outside its conference twice, a team within its conference but outside its division three or four times, and a team from its own division four times.
In the current system, eight clubs from each of the league's two conferences qualify for the playoffs, with separate playoff brackets for each conference.
In the —03 season, the first-round series were expanded from best-of-5 to best-of-7; all other series have always been best-of In all series, home games alternate between the two teams in a format.
The finals format was adopted from the Finals to , copying the format that was then in effect in the National Hockey League. Prior to , almost all finals were played in the format although the Finals between Milwaukee and Baltimore were on an alternate-home basis, some s finals used the format, and the Golden State-Washington and and Seattle-Washington Finals were on a basis.
Also, prior to the s, Eastern and Western playoffs were on an alternate-home basis except for series when distance made the format more practical.
Since , the NBA Finals restored the original format. Teams are seeded according to their regular-season record. Through the —15 season, the three division champions and best division runner-up received the top four seeds, with their ranking based on regular-season record.
The remaining teams were seeded strictly by regular-season record. However, if the best division runner-up had a better record than other division champs, it could be seeded as high as second.
Beginning in —16, the NBA became the first major American league to eliminate automatic playoff berths for division champions; the top eight teams overall in each conference now qualify for the playoffs, regardless of divisional alignment.
Top flight basketball leagues elsewhere also employ a playoff system mimicking the NBA's. However, most leagues are not divided into divisions and conferences, and employ a double round robin format akin to league association football, unlike the NBA where teams are divided into divisions and conferences, which leads to different strengths of schedule per team.
Teams are seeded on regular season record. The playoff structure can be single-elimination or a best-of series, with the higher seed, if held the playoffs are not held at a predetermined venue, having the home court advantage.
Aside from the playoffs, some leagues also have a knockout tournament akin to the FA Cup running in parallel to the regular season. These are not considered playoffs.
In the EuroLeague , after the regular season plays a best-of-5 playoffs in a 2—2—1 format. However, from the semifinals on, it is a single elimination tournament held at a predetermined venue.
Still others also have a relegation playoff. A few conferences hold early rounds at campus sites and later rounds at a predetermined site. For example, the Mid-American Conference holds its first-round games at campus sites, but the rest of the tournament in Cleveland.
The Big South Conference holds its first round at campus sites, gives hosting rights for its quarterfinals and semifinals to the regular-season champion, and plays its final at the home court of the top remaining seed.
A small number of conferences do not invite all of their teams to the conference tournament, with one example being the Ivy League , in which only four of the eight members advance to the tournament which is at a predetermined site.
In many such tournaments, higher seeds are afforded byes. The winners, and some losers which are selected as "at-large bids", play in the NCAA tournament , which is also single-elimination and held at predetermined venues.
In the WNBA Playoffs , the league's best 8 teams, regardless of conference alignment, compete, and are seeded based on their regular-season records.
The top two seeds get double byes and the next two seeds first-round byes. In the Canadian Football League , the playoffs begin in November.
After the regular season, the top team from each division has an automatic home game berth in the Division Final, and a bye week during the Division Semifinal.
The second-place team from each division hosts the third-place team in the Division Semifinal, unless the fourth-place team from the opposite division finishes with a better record.
This "crossover rule" does not come into play if the teams have identical records—there are no tiebreakers. While the format means that it is possible for two teams in the same division to play for the Grey Cup , so far only two crossover teams have won the divisional semifinal game.
The winners of each Division's Semifinal game then travel to play the first place teams in the Division Finals.
The Edmonton Eskimos are notable for qualifying for the CFL playoffs every year from to , a record in North American pro sports.
The Eskimos are also notable for being the first crossover team to ever win the divisional semifinal game. There are a number of T20 leagues played in cricket for a few weeks each in many countries, which all generally follow some variation of the Page playoff system , and have 8 teams.
The Indian Premier League is the largest T20 league, and uses the Page playoff format: the top two teams in the group stage play a semi-final, and the third and fourth-place teams play an eliminator match, to determine which will remain in contention for the final.
The two remaining teams that have not yet qualified for the final among the top four teams then play a second semi-final, and then the final occurs.
The National Hockey League playoff system is an elimination tournament competition for the Stanley Cup , consisting of four rounds of best-of-seven series.
The first three rounds determine which team from each conference will advance to the final round, dubbed the Stanley Cup Final.
Since except , when it had 24 teams playing , the Conference Quarterfinals consists of four match-ups in each conference, based on the seedings division-wise 1 vs.
The division winner with the best record in the conference plays the lowest wild-card seed, while the other division winner plays the top wild-card seed wild-card teams, who are de facto 4th seeds, may cross over to another division within the conference.
In the Conference Semifinals, the four remaining teams in the conference face each other. In the third round, the Conference Finals, the two surviving teams play each other, with the conference champions proceeding to the Stanley Cup Final.
One exception is —20 , when the top 12 teams from each conference competed. For the first two rounds, the higher-seeded team has home-ice advantage regardless of point record.
Thereafter, it goes to the team with the better regular season record. In all rounds the team with home-ice advantage hosts Games 1, 2, 5 and 7, while the opponent hosts Games 3, 4 and 6 Games 5—7 are played "if necessary".
The Kontinental Hockey League , based in Russia and including teams from several nearby countries, operates a playoff system similar to that of the NHL, also consisting of four rounds of single-elimination best-of-seven series.
The first three rounds determine which team from each conference will advance to the final round, dubbed the Gagarin Cup Finals.
The winner of each division receives one of the top two seeds in its conference; the others are based on regular-season record.