Football League Championship

Football League Championship
"The Championship" redirects here. For the rugby union competition, see RFU Championship. For the rugby league competition, see Championship (rugby league)
Football League Championship
Countries England
Founded 2004–present
1992–2004 (as Division One)
1892–1992 (as Division Two)
Number of teams 24
Levels on pyramid 2
Promotion to Premier League
Relegation to League One
Domestic cup(s) FA Cup
League Cup
Current champions Queens Park Rangers
Most championships Sunderland
(2 titles)
TV partners Sky Sports
Website Official site
2011–12 Football League Championship

The Football League Championship (often referred to as The Championship for short, or the Npower Championship for sponsorship reasons) is the highest division of The Football League and second-highest division overall in the English football league system after the Premier League. The Championship primary motto is Real football, real fans.

The Football League Championship was introduced for the 2004–05 season, having been previously known as the Football League First Division. According to Deloitte, in the 2004–05 season it was the wealthiest non-top flight football division in the world, and the sixth richest division in Europe.[1]

The winners of the Football League Championship receive the Football League Championship trophy which is the same trophy as the old First Division (now the Premier League) Champions were handed prior to the Premier League's inception in the 1992/93 season.



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

In 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 Primera división (11.57m) and Germany's Bundesliga (10.92m), but beating Italy's Serie A (9.77m) and France's Ligue 1 (8.17m).[2][3][4] 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.

On 30 September 2009 Coca Cola announced they would end their sponsorship deal with the Football League at the end of the 2009–10 season.[5] 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, the Football League Championship is known as the Npower Championship.[6]

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 and then goals scored. 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.[7]

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.

The three promoted teams are replaced in the division for the next season by the teams finishing in the bottom three in the Premier League and the relegated teams are replaced by the two teams finishing at the top of League One and the winner of the League One play-off final.

Broadcasting rights

UK Television

From 2009–2012 Sky Sports have the rights to broadcast 65 live matches, live coverage of both legs of both play off semi finals and the play off final live.[8] The BBC has 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.[9] 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.[10] The new deal will include 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. Sky will also have highlights packages, with the free-to-air rights yet to be decided.


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.


  • Australia – Fox Sports broadcasts live Championship matches every weekend, as well as a Highlights show every Tuesday night at 7 pm.
  • Bulgaria – RING.BG broadcasts live two Championship matches every week.
  • Germany – broadcasts one or two games every week.
  • Hungary – Sport 1 and its sister channel Sport 2 broadcasts the matches.
  • Italy – Sportitalia has exclusive rights to broadcast live one match a week and highlights show.
  • Sweden – TV4 Sport shows one or two matches a week usually including a 3 pm kick off on the Saturday.
  • France – LequipeTV shows one match a week
  • Asia – (except Japan and Korea) most games are broadcasted by Goal TV. In India and the subcontinent, Ten Action Plus broadcats some of the matches in Non-HD.
  • 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.[11] Bet365 notes that some events are not permitted to stream within the host country.[12]

History of the 24 clubs in the Championship (2011–12 season)

The following table provides information on the 24 clubs currently in the Football League Championship

Table codes (click individual codes to view season tables):
C = Champions, R-up = League runner-up, p.w. = Play-off Winner, R = Relegated from League

Club names Finishing position

2010–11 season

Member since



seasons in league

Total seasons

in league*


in league*


to league*


from League*


from league*


to League*

Barnsley 17th 2006–07 6 6/8 1 0 0 0 1 (p.w)
Birmingham City 18th in Premier League 2011–12 1 3/8 3 3(R) 2(R-up) 0 0
Blackpool 19th in Premier League 2011–12 1 4/8 2 1(R) 1(p.w.) 0 1(p.w.)
Brighton & Hove Albion 1st in League One 2011–12 1 2/8 2 0 0 1(R) 1(C)
Bristol City 15th 2007–08 5 5/8 1 0 0 0 1 (R-up)
Burnley 8th 2010–11 2 7/8 2 1(R) 1 0 0
Cardiff City 4th 2003–04 9 8/8 1 0 0 0 0
Coventry City 18th 2001–02 11 8/8 1 0 0 0 0
Crystal Palace 20th 2005–06 7 7/8 1 1(R) 0 0 0
Derby County 19th 2008–09 4 7/8 2 1(R) 1 (p.w) 0 0
Doncaster Rovers 21st 2008–09 4 4/8 1 0 0 0 1 (p.w)
Hull City 11th 2010–11 2 5/8 2 1(R) 1 0 1(R-up)
Ipswich Town 13th 2002–03 10 8/8 1 0 0 0 0
Leeds United 7th 2010–11 2 5/8 2 0 0 1(R) 1 (R-up)
Leicester City 10th 2009–10 3 7/8 2 1 1 1(R) 1 (C)
Middlesbrough 12th 2009–10 3 3/8 1 1(R) 0 0 0
Millwall 9th 2010–11 2 5/8 2 0 0 1(R) 1 (p.w)
Nottingham Forest 6th 2008–09 4 5/8 2 0 0 1(R) 1 (R-up)
Peterborough United League 1 Playoffs' champion 2011–12 1 2/8 2 0 0 1(R) 2(p.w.)
Portsmouth 16th 2010–11 2 2/8 1 1(R) 0 0 0
Reading 5th 2008–09 4 6/8 2 1(R) 1 (C) 0 0
Southampton 2nd in League One 2011–12 1 5/8 2 1(R) 0 1(R) 1(R-up)
Watford 14th 2007–08 5 7/8 2 1(R) 1 (p.w) 0 0
West Ham United 20th in Premier League 2011–12 1 2/8 2 1(R) 1(p.w.) 0 0


  1. Current spell of a club in the league may predate the creation of the Championship
  2. Consecutive seasons in league total includes the club's current spell only
  3. Total seasons in league/spells in league/relegation to/relegation from and promotion to and promotion from figures include "Championship era" only (last seven seasons)

Previous seasons

League champions, Runners-up and play-off winners

Season League champions points Runner-up points Promoted play-off winner Play-off runner-up
2004–05 Sunderland 94 Wigan Athletic 87 West Ham United Preston North End
2005–06 Reading 106 Sheffield United 90 Watford Leeds United
2006–07 Sunderland 88 Birmingham City 86 Derby County West Bromwich Albion
2007–08 West Bromwich Albion 81 Stoke City 79 Hull City Bristol City
2008–09 Wolverhampton Wanderers 90 Birmingham City 83 Burnley Sheffield United
2009–10 Newcastle United 102 West Bromwich Albion 91 Blackpool Cardiff City
2010–11 Queens Park Rangers 88 Norwich City 84 Swansea City Reading

| 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.

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, Nottingham Forest, Rotherham United
2005–06 Crewe Alexandra, Millwall, Brighton & Hove Albion
2006–07 Southend United, Luton Town, Leeds United
2007–08 Leicester City, Scunthorpe United, Colchester United
2008–09 Norwich City, Southampton, Charlton Athletic
2009–10 Sheffield Wednesday, Plymouth Argyle, Peterborough United
2010–11 Preston North End, Scunthorpe United, Sheffield United

Relegated teams (from Premier League to Championship)

Season Clubs
2004–05 Crystal Palace, Norwich City, Southampton
2005–06 Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion, Sunderland
2006–07 Sheffield United, Charlton Athletic, Watford
2007–08 Reading, Birmingham City, Derby County
2008–09 Newcastle United, Middlesbrough, West Bromwich Albion
2009–10 Burnley, Hull City, Portsmouth
2010–11 West Ham United, Blackpool, Birmingham City

Season Clubs
2004–05 Luton Town, Hull City, Sheffield Wednesday
2005–06 Southend United, Colchester United, Barnsley
2006–07 Scunthorpe United, Bristol City, Blackpool
2007–08 Swansea City, Nottingham Forest, Doncaster Rovers
2008–09 Leicester City, Peterborough United, Scunthorpe United
2009–10 Norwich City, Leeds United, Millwall
2010–11 Brighton & Hove Albion, Southampton, Peterborough United

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 23
2008–09 England Sylvan Ebanks-Blake Wolverhampton Wanderers 25
2009–10 England Peter Whittingham Cardiff City 22
2010–11 England Danny Graham Watford 24

Stadium capacities

Team Stadium Capacity
Leeds United Elland Road 39,460
West Ham United The Boleyn Ground 35,303
Middlesbrough Riverside Stadium 35,100
Derby County Pride Park Stadium 33,597
Southampton St Mary's Stadium 32,689
Coventry City Ricoh Arena 32,609
Leicester City The King Power Stadium 32,262
Nottingham Forest City Ground 30,576
Ipswich Town Portman Road 30,311
Birmingham City St Andrew's Stadium 30,079
Cardiff City Cardiff City Stadium 26,828
Crystal Palace Selhurst Park 26,309
Hull City KC Stadium 25,404
Reading Madejski Stadium 24,161
Barnsley Oakwell 23,009
Burnley Turf Moor 22,546
Brighton & Hove Albion AMEX Stadium 22,374
Bristol City Ashton Gate 21,497
Portsmouth Fratton Park 21,100
Millwall The Den 20,146
Watford Vicarage Road 16,900
Blackpool Bloomfield Road 16,116
Peterborough United London Road Stadium 15,460*
Doncaster Rovers Keepmoat Stadium 15,231

* ground contains some terracing.

See also


  1. ^ First fall in Premiership wages, BBC News, 31 May 2006, reporting on Deloitte's review of football finance in 2004–05
  2. ^ "Countdown underway to new season". BBC News. 6 August 2005. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  3. ^ Lansley, Peter (29 July 2005). "Championship glories in outstripping Serie A". The Times (UK).,,174-1712938,00.html. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  4. ^ First class second division[dead link]
  5. ^ Coca-Cola end Football League sponsorship deal The Guardian, 30 September 2009
  6. ^ Football League names Npower as new sponsor BBC Sport, 16 March 2010
  7. ^ "Championship". Sporting Life. Retrieved 2 April 2008. 
  8. ^ Football League Agrees Historic Deal With Sky Sports and BBC press release
  9. ^ BBC wins Football League contract
  10. ^ Sky Sports and Football League agree £195m deal
  11. ^ T&C's on the Betfair Live Video website
  12. ^ [The FAQ on the Bet365 streaming website]

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Football League First Division
Second tier of English football
2004 – present
Current league

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