4 Unusual Football League Formats

The world of football can be breathtaking and overwhelming if you are new to the sport. Some teams do well under pressure, others thrive when everything is calm, while favorites lose and the lowest-ranked teams pick up victories. No matter the league, football can get strange from time to time.

To a new fan, this might seem overwhelming, especially if they are new to the football scene. Not every league has the same rules and some teams fare better than others because of that.

Formats play a large role in how a championship develops. Losing teams sometimes get another chance to win in some leagues while in others, losing teams outright drop from the competition. 

Here are 4 unusual football league formats which you should know about.

Isles of Scilly Football Duel

There are some leagues which have their everlasting rivals, like La Liga, which has Real Madrid opposite Barcelona. Every now and then, another team steps in and shakes things up, taking a trophy for themselves. Yet, there are favorite rivaling matchups in almost every league.

What if your league was so small that you only had two teams? Well, then you have a duel, not just a rivalry.

The Isles of Scilly have their own football league, and given that they only have two teams, these teams face off every second Sunday 17 times. The Woolpack Wanderers and Garrison Gunners have no competition other than the rivaling team, so things can get interesting during their matches.

MLS – Major League Soccer

Soccer is a word not heard often unless you live in the United States. Given that the sport’s very name is different, so is their way of playing football. The MLS has 26 teams and each of those teams plays a total of 38 games during their regular season which lasts from March to October.

This is where the MLS takes the other turn in an imaginary fork in the road. The 12 best teams go into a playoff system where the best team is crowned champion. The best team in the regular season also gets an award, albeit a less prestigious one. This format is popular in some sports and some leagues, but in Europe, not many football leagues are interested in it.

Primera Division

In Argentina, football fans like to see tight matches between teams which are close in the standings. It is one of the world’s largest leagues, having 30 clubs playing every other club once. They also have another two matches between rivals, meaning those clubs closest in the standings. This helps break eventual ties and definitely makes the league more interesting and entertaining. It also puts stress on the teams which have a spot to lose, especially that cherished first place.

Belgian First Division A

The top tier league in Belgium has 18 teams playing 30 matches in the regular season. After that, they proceed to a playoffs stage, but depending on their ranking on the ladder, they get into Playoffs 1 or Playoffs 2. The first part are the first 6 teams which play for the title. The second part are teams ranked from 7 to 14, who play for a spot in the Europa League. The 16th team is automatically relegated.

These have been 4 interesting football league formats which you might not have known about.