Football League Championship

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"Coca-Cola Championship" redirects here. For the South African golf tournament, see Coca-Cola Charity Championship.
Football League Championship
EFL Championship.svg
Country England (23 teams)
Other club(s) from Wales (1 team)
Founded 2004–present
1992–2004 (as Division One)
1892–1992 (as Division Two)
Number of teams 24
Level on pyramid 2
Promotion to Premier League
Relegation to League One
Domestic cup(s) FA Cup
League cup(s) EFL Cup
International cup(s) Europa League (via cups)
Current champions Burnley
Most championships Reading and Sunderland (2 titles)
TV partners Sky Sports
Channel 5 (highlights only)
Website Official site
2016–17 EFL Championship

The English Football League Championship (often referred to as the Championship for short or the Sky Bet Championship for sponsorship reasons)[1] is the highest division of the English Football League and second-highest overall in the English football league system, after the Premier League. Each year, the top finishing teams in the Championship are promoted to the Premier League, and the lowest finishing teams are relegated to League One.

The Football League Championship, which was introduced for the 2004–05 season, was previously known as the Football League First Division (1992–2004), and before that was known as Division Two (1892–1992). The winners of the Championship receive the Football League Championship trophy, the same trophy as the old First Division champions were handed prior to the Premier League's inception in 1992.

The Championship is the wealthiest non-top flight football division in the world and the seventh richest division in Europe.[2] With an average match attendance for the 2015-16 season of 17,578, the Championship ranked second after the German 2. Bundesliga as the most-watched secondary league in the world.

In the 2015–16 season, Burnley were the division champions, Middlesbrough were the runners up, and Hull City were promoted via the play-offs. At present, Ipswich Town hold the longest tenure in the Championship, last being out of the division in the 2001–02 season when they were relegated from the Premier League.[3]


For history before 2004, see Football League First Division after 1993 and Football League Second Division before that year

In its inaugural season of 2004–05, the Football League Championship announced a total attendance (including postseason) of 9.8 million, which it said was the fourth highest total attendance for a European football division, behind the FA Premier League (12.88m), Spain's La Liga (11.57m) and Germany's Bundesliga (10.92m), but beating Italy's Serie A (9.77m) and France's Ligue 1 (8.17m).[4][5][6] The total figures were aided somewhat by the presence of 24 clubs, compared to 20 clubs in both Serie A and Ligue 1, and 18 in the Bundesliga. A major factor to the competition's success comes from television revenue.[citation needed]

On 30 September 2009, Coca-Cola announced they would end their sponsorship deal with The Football League (now English Football League) at the end of the 2009–10 season.[7] On 16 March 2010, npower were announced as the new title sponsors of the Football League, and from the start of the 2010–11 Football League season until the end of the 2012–13 season, the Football League Championship was known as the Npower Championship.[8]

On 18 July 2013, UK bookmaker Sky Bet announced that they signed a 5-year agreement to sponsor the league.[1]

Structure of the league

The league comprises 24 teams. Over the course of a season, which runs annually from August to the following May, each team plays twice against the others in the league, once at 'home' and once 'away', resulting in each team competing in 46 games in total. Three points are awarded for a win, one for a draw and zero for a loss. The teams are ranked in the league table by points gained, then goal difference, then goals scored and then their head-to-head record for that season. In the event that two or more teams finish the season equal in all these respects, teams are separated by alphabetical order, unless a promotion, relegation or play-off place (see below) is at stake, when the teams are separated by a play-off game, though this improbable situation has never arisen in all the years the rule has existed.[9]

At the end of the season, the top two teams and the winner of the Championship play-offs are promoted to the Premier League and the bottom three teams are relegated to Football League One. The Football League Championship play-offs is a knock-out competition for the teams finishing the season in third to sixth place with the winner being promoted to the Premier League. In the play-offs, the third-placed team plays against the sixth-placed team and the fourth-placed team plays against the fifth-placed team in two-legged semi-finals (home and away). The winners of each semi-final then compete in a single match with the prize being promotion to the Premier League and the Championship play-off trophy.

Broadcasting rights

UK television

From 2009 to 2012, Sky Sports had the rights to broadcast 65 live matches, live coverage of both legs of both play-off semi finals and the play-off final live.[10] The BBC had the rights to show 10 first choice live games for the regular season as well as the rights to show a highlight show. The deal is on a three-year contract and is worth £264m that will mostly be paid by Sky.[11] Sky Sports will then take exclusive live rights to the Football League from 2013, having signed a three-year deal worth £195m, representing a 26% reduction in revenue from the previous joint deal between Sky and BBC.[12] The deal included 75 live league games, all the play-off matches, 15 League Cup ties (including both semi-finals and the final) and selected Johnstone's Paint Trophy matches. The BBC held onto the highlights package. On 5 May 2015, it was announced a deal had been struck with the Football League and Channel 5 to show match footage, including every single goal, from matches in all three divisions of the Football League and is broadcast in a 90-minute show titled Football League Tonight which airs at 9.00pm every Saturday (and occasionally during the week). Channel 5 will also broadcast highlights of the Capital One Cup and Johnstone's Paint Trophy.[13]


Local radio stations with a local football team in The Championship usually offer audio coverage of every live game. BBC Sport holds exclusive national rights to broadcast Championship matches live to the whole of the United Kingdom; most matches are broadcast on local BBC radio stations for the area of their respective teams while some headline matches are broadcast on national stations, either 5 Live or 5 Live Sports Extra under their 5 Live Sport banner. Most matches broadcast on BBC radio are also broadcast online to UK users on the BBC website.

talkSPORT also has rights to broadcast each of the Football League Play-off Finals.


  • Asia – (except Japan, Indonesia, and Korea) most games are broadcast by Goal
  • Australia – beIN Sports (Australia) broadcasts live Championship matches every weekend
  • Belgium – Eleven Sports
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina – Sport Klub
  • Brazil – ESPN Brasil has exclusive rights to broadcast live two Championship matches every week.
  • Bulgaria – Nova Sport broadcasts live two Championship matches every week.
  • Canada – beIN Sports and Réseau des sports
  • Caribbean – ESPN Caribbean
  • Croatia – Sport Klub
  • Czech Republic – Arena Sport 1, Digi Sport 2
  • France – LequipeTV shows one match a week.
  • Germany – broadcasts one or two games every week.
  • India and the subcontinent, Ten Action broadcasts some of the matches in Non-HD.
  • Indonesia – CPI TV has exclusive rights to broadcast live in a dozent matches, beIN Sports get the match for 100+ broadcasting around as little
  • Italian Peninsula – Sportitalia had exclusive rights to broadcast live one match a week and highlights show between 2005 and 2012. Eurosport as of 2016.
  • Japan - J Sports
  • Korea - SBS Sports
  • Macedonia – Sport Klub
  • Mexico – Sky Sports Mexico has exclusive rights to broadcast live two matches, also available in Central America and Dominican Republic.
  • Montenegro – Sport Klub
  • New Zealand – Sky Sport has exclusive rights to broadcast all matches live or on delay.
  • Norway - Eurosport
  • Poland - Eleven Sports
  • Portugal - Eurosport
  • Russia - Eurosport
  • South America – DirecTV Sports has exclusive rights to broadcast live two Championship matches ever week
  • Slovenia – Sport Klub
  • Spain - Eurosport
  • Sweden – Viasat Sport shows one or two matches a week usually including a 3pm kick off on the Saturday.
  • Serbia – Sport Klub
  • Slovakia – Arena Sport 1, Digi Sport 2
  • Norway – Viasat Fotball shows one or two matches a week.
  • Romania – ALEX SPORT shows two live matches per week.
  • United States – beIN Sports broadcast one or two matches a week.
  • Streaming – Betfair and Bet365 both broadcast matches internationally. Betfair notes that the territories to which they are able to stream events varies from sport to sport.[14] Bet365 notes that some events are not permitted to stream within the host country.[15]

Current members

Greater London Championship football clubs

The following 24 clubs are competing in the Championship during the 2016–17 season.

Club Finishing position last season Location Stadium Capacity[16]
Aston Villa 20th in Premier League (relegated) Birmingham Villa Park 42,785
Barnsley 6th in League One (promoted via play-offs) Barnsley Oakwell 23,009
Birmingham City 10th Birmingham St Andrew's 30,016
Blackburn Rovers 15th Blackburn Ewood Park 31,367
Brentford 9th London (Brentford) Griffin Park 12,763
Brighton & Hove Albion 3rd Brighton and Hove AMEX Stadium 30,278
Bristol City 18th Bristol Ashton Gate 27,000
Burton Albion 2nd in League One (promoted) Burton upon Trent Pirelli Stadium 6,912 (2,034 seated)
Cardiff City 8th Cardiff Cardiff City Stadium 33,300
Derby County 5th Derby Pride Park Stadium 33,597
Fulham 20th London (Fulham) Craven Cottage 25,678
Huddersfield Town 19th Huddersfield John Smith's Stadium 24,500
Ipswich Town 7th Ipswich Portman Road 30,300
Leeds United 13th Leeds Elland Road 37,900
Newcastle United 18th in Premier League (relegated) Newcastle upon Tyne St James' Park 52,401
Norwich City 19th in Premier League (relegated) Norwich Carrow Road 27,220
Nottingham Forest 16th Nottingham City Ground 30,576
Preston North End 11th Preston Deepdale 23,408
Queens Park Rangers 12th London (Shepherd's Bush) Loftus Road 18,360
Reading 17th Reading Madejski Stadium 24,200
Rotherham United 21st Rotherham New York Stadium 12,021
Sheffield Wednesday 6th Sheffield Hillsborough 39,812
Wigan Athletic 1st in League One (promoted) Wigan DW Stadium 25,023
Wolverhampton Wanderers 14th Wolverhampton Molineux 31,700


League champions, runners-up and play-off finalists

Season Champions Runner-up Play-off winner score Play-off runner-up
2004–05 Sunderland 94 Wigan Athletic 87 West Ham United 73 (6th) 1–0 Preston North End 75 (5th)
2005–06 Reading 106 Sheffield United 90 Watford 81 (3rd) 3–0 Leeds United 78 (5th)
2006–07 Sunderland 88 Birmingham City 86 Derby County 84 (3rd) 1–0 West Bromwich Albion 76 (4th)
2007–08 West Bromwich Albion 81 Stoke City 79 Hull City 75 (3rd) 1–0 Bristol City 74 (4th)
2008–09 Wolverhampton Wanderers 90 Birmingham City 83 Burnley 76 (5th) 1–0 Sheffield United 80 (3rd)
2009–10 Newcastle United 102 West Bromwich Albion 91 Blackpool 70 (6th) 3–2 Cardiff City 76 (4th)
2010–11 Queens Park Rangers 88 Norwich City1 84 Swansea City 80 (3rd) 4–2 Reading 77 (5th)
2011–12 Reading 89 Southampton 88 West Ham United 86 (3rd) 2–1 Blackpool 75 (5th)
2012–13 Cardiff City 87 Hull City 79 Crystal Palace 72 (5th) 1–0 (a.e.t) Watford 77 (3rd)
2013–14 Leicester City 102 Burnley2 93 Queens Park Rangers 80 (4th) 1–0 Derby County 85 (3rd)
2014–15 Bournemouth 90 Watford 89 Norwich City 86 (3rd) 2–0 Middlesbrough 85 (4th)
2015–16 Burnley 93 Middlesbrough 89 Hull City 83 (4th) 1–0 Sheffield Wednesday 74 (6th)

1 When Norwich City gained promotion to the Premier League they were the first team to be relegated to, relegated from, promoted to and promoted from the Championship.
2 When Burnley were promoted they gained the most points for a second placed team.

For past winners at this level before 2004, see List of winners of English Football League Championship and predecessors

Relegated teams (from Championship to League One)

Season Clubs
2004–05 Gillingham (50), Nottingham Forest (44), Rotherham United (29)
2005–06 Crewe Alexandra (42), Millwall (40), Brighton & Hove Albion (38)
2006–07 Southend United (42), Luton Town (40), Leeds United (36)
2007–08 Leicester City (52), Scunthorpe United (46), Colchester United (38)
2008–09 Norwich City (46), Southampton (45), Charlton Athletic (39)
2009–10 Sheffield Wednesday (47), Plymouth Argyle (41), Peterborough United (34)
2010–11 Preston North End (42), Sheffield United (42), Scunthorpe United (42)
2011–12 Portsmouth (40), Coventry City (40), Doncaster Rovers (36)
2012–13 Peterborough United (54), Wolverhampton Wanderers (51), Bristol City (41)
2013–14 Doncaster Rovers (44), Barnsley (39), Yeovil Town (37)
2014–15 Millwall (41), Wigan Athletic (39), Blackpool (26)
2015–16 Charlton Athletic (40), Milton Keynes Dons (39), Bolton Wanderers (30)
2016–17 TBD, TBD, Rotherham United

Relegated teams (from Premier League to Championship)

Season Clubs
2004–05 Crystal Palace (33), Norwich City (33), Southampton (32)
2005–06 Birmingham City (34), West Bromwich Albion (30), Sunderland (15)
2006–07 Sheffield United (38), Charlton Athletic (34), Watford (29)
2007–08 Reading (36), Birmingham City (35), Derby County (11)
2008–09 Newcastle United (34), Middlesbrough (32), West Bromwich Albion (32)
2009–10 Burnley (30), Hull City (30), Portsmouth (19)
2010–11 Blackpool (39), Birmingham City (39), West Ham United (33)
2011–12 Bolton Wanderers (36), Blackburn Rovers (31), Wolverhampton Wanderers (25)
2012–13 Wigan Athletic (36), Reading (28), Queens Park Rangers (25)
2013–14 Norwich City (33), Fulham (32), Cardiff City (30)
2014–15 Hull City (35), Burnley (33), Queens Park Rangers (30)
2015–16 Newcastle United (37), Norwich City (34), Aston Villa (17)

Season Clubs
2004–05 Luton Town (98), Hull City (86), Sheffield Wednesday (Play-off winners) (72)
2005–06 Southend United (82), Colchester United (79), Barnsley (Play-off winners) (72)
2006–07 Scunthorpe United (91), Bristol City (85), Blackpool (Play-off winners) (83)
2007–08 Swansea City (91), Nottingham Forest (82), Doncaster Rovers (Play-off winners) (80)
2008–09 Leicester City (96), Peterborough United (89), Scunthorpe United (Play-off winners) (76)
2009–10 Norwich City (95), Leeds United (86), Millwall (Play-off winners) (85)
2010–11 Brighton & Hove Albion (95), Southampton (92), Peterborough United (Play-off winners) (79)
2011–12 Charlton Athletic (101), Sheffield Wednesday (93), Huddersfield Town (Play-off winners) (81)
2012–13 Doncaster Rovers (84), Bournemouth (83), Yeovil Town (Play-off winners) (77)
2013–14 Wolverhampton Wanderers (103), Brentford (94), Rotherham United (Play-off winners) (86)
2014–15 Bristol City (99), Milton Keynes Dons (91), Preston North End (Play-off winners) (89)
2015–16 Wigan Athletic (87), Burton Albion (85), Barnsley (Play-off winners) (74)
2016–17 Sheffield United, TBD, TBD,

Top scorers

Season Top scorer Club Goals
2004–05 England Nathan Ellington Wigan Athletic 24
2005–06 Jamaica Marlon King Watford 21
2006–07 England Jamie Cureton Colchester United 23
2007–08 England Sylvan Ebanks-Blake Plymouth Argyle
Wolverhampton Wanderers
2008–09 England Sylvan Ebanks-Blake Wolverhampton Wanderers 25
2009–10 England Peter Whittingham Cardiff City 20
England Nicky Maynard Bristol City
2010–11 England Danny Graham Watford 24
2011–12 England Rickie Lambert Southampton 27
2012–13 England Glenn Murray Crystal Palace 30
2013–14 Scotland Ross McCormack Leeds United 28
2014–15 Republic of Ireland Daryl Murphy Ipswich Town 27
2015–16 England Andre Gray Burnley 25
2016–17 New Zealand Chris Wood Leeds United 24

See also


  1. ^ a b "Sky Bet to sponsor The Football League". The Football League. 18 July 2013. Archived from the original on 21 July 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "Cumulative revenue of Europe's 'big five' leagues grew by 5% in 2012/13 to €9.8 billion". Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  3. ^ Jim White (8 May 2015). "Ipswich Town v Norwich City, Championship play-off semi-final: Old Farm derby about far more than money". The Telegraph. Retrieved 21 February 2016. 
  4. ^ "Countdown underway to new season". BBC News. 6 August 2005. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  5. ^ Lansley, Peter (29 July 2005). "Championship glories in outstripping Serie A". The Times. UK. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  6. ^ First class second division
  7. ^ Coca-Cola end Football League sponsorship deal The Guardian, 30 September 2009
  8. ^ Football League names npower as new sponsor BBC Sport, 16 March 2010
  9. ^ "Championship". Sporting Life. Archived from the original on 9 May 2006. Retrieved 2 April 2008. 
  10. ^ Football League Agrees Historic Deal With Sky Sports and BBC press release
  11. ^ BBC wins Football League contract
  12. ^ Sky Sports and Football League agree £195m deal
  13. ^ "The Football League signs ground-breaking deals with Channel 5 and ITN". The Football League. 5 May 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  14. ^ T&C's on the Betfair Live Video website
  15. ^ [The FAQ on the Bet365 streaming website]
  16. ^ "Football Ground Guide". Football Ground Guide. Retrieved 30 November 2016. 

External links

  • Championship official site Football League
  • Championship Fan site The Championship Fan Site
  • Championship Stadia The Championship Stadia
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Football League First Division
Second tier of English football
2004 – present
Current league
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