Explainer: How Promotion and Relegation Works in the DStv Premiership

Explainer: How Promotion and Relegation Works in the DStv Premiership

Byron Pillay
June 7, 2023 at 10:39 AM

Cape Town Spurs lead the table in this season's relegation and promotion playoff table at the halfway mark.

Polokwane City were automatically promoted to the DStv Premiership, while Marumo Gallants were relegated

The DStv Premiership sides have won the promotion playoffs in the last four seasons of the mini-tournament

The fight for the final place in the DStv Premiership for next season continues.

With the mini-tournament to decide who secures the final spot in the standings reaching the halfway stage, it’s anyone’s guess who will win it.

Casric Stars, Maritzburg United, Sport, South Africa, World, Cape Town Spurs, Promotion, Relegation
Maritzburg United, Cape Town Spurs and Casric Stars are all involved in this seasons promotion and relegation battle in the DStv Premiership. Image: @MaritzburgUtd/ @Lorenz_KO/ @casricstars
Source: Twitter

Sports Brief looks at how promotion and relegation work in the DStv Premiership.


Unlike some of the big European leagues, only two teams can possibly be relegated from the DStv Premiership. In some cases, only one team drops to the Motsepe Foundation Championship.

As noted by the Premier Soccer League, the team that finished bottom of the DStv Premiership log gets automatically relegated. That team was Marumo Gallants last season.

The team that finishes second from the bottom goes into the Promotion Play-offs, where they have a second chance of surviving the drop. Maritzburg United finished in that place this season.


With one side guaranteed a drop to the Motsepe Foundation Championship, one side from the championship is guaranteed a spot in the DStv Premiership. The winner of the National First Division, as it is also known, automatically is promoted to the big leagues.

Polokwane City earned that right last season.

The teams that finish second and third in the NFD go into the Promotion Play-offs. Cape Town Spurs and Casric Stars achieved that last season.

Promotion Play-offs:

The three sides that qualify for a spot in the Promotion Play-offs compete in a min-tournament to decide who fills the last place in the DStv Premiership. Each side plays the other two teams twice, and the team finishing on top of the table is effectively promoted to the main league.

As noted by SuperSport.com, the Premiership sides have won their place back in the league in the last four editions of the play-offs. The last NFD side to win promotion was Black Leopards in the 2017/2018 season.

Cape Town Spurs perfectly poised

Cape Town Spurs have won their first two games of the current playoffs and are perfectly poised to win the tournament. Shaun Bartlett’s side lead the table from Maritzburg United.

Human scores stunner for Maritzburg

Rowan Human has boosted Maritzburg United's survival hopes with a brilliant brace.

The South African midfielder was in fine form as he scored a long-range stunner before finishing a well-worked team move against Casric Stars.

The Team of Choice are currently competing in the relegation/promotion playoff against Casric Stars and Cape Town Spurs, Sports Brief reported.

Byron Pillay photo
Byron Pillay
HOD- La Liga I Bundesliga I French Ligue
South AfricaPremier Soccer League (PSL)DStv PremiershipABC Motsepe League