If you have followed the Scottish Premiership over the last few years, you will have noticed that it splits into two parts late in the season. The Scottish top flight is unique in the United Kingdom for this characteristic of dividing itself into a top-six and bottom six. Although the division has been splitting for several years now, a lot of football fans are still curious as to why it occurs.
The simple reason, as to the one given by the Scottish Premiership, is it splits into two parts to ease the burden on clubs. The league is contested by 12 teams which means if they each played the others four times, then it would be a 44-match season for each team.
Rather than compete four times against one another, teams play each other a total of three times to make a 33-game season. However, the top-flight then splits into two parts at that point with a top-six and bottom six. The teams in each part play the other one time making an additional five matches and a grand total of 38 games altogether.
The Swiss Super League was apparently the first top-flight football league to use the model. However, the Swiss league has not used the method for over 15 years. According to Scottish Premiership executives, the splittable approach can lead to some close finish as the top and bottom of the table. However, anyone familiar with Celtic’s dominance will know that isn’t necessarily true.
The Scottish Premiership is not the only league that uses the split league format at the end of the season. The Belgian top flight and Korea’s K-League also employ the same format. The concept of the top six and bottom six is rather creative, but with some fans and clubs considering it to be unnecessary, it is a model that could be extinct in world football in the coming years.