1992–2004 (as Division One)
1892–1992 (as Division Two)
|Number of teams||24|
|Promotion to||Premier League|
|Relegation to||League One|
|Levels on pyramid||2|
|Domestic cup(s)||FA Cup
|Current champions||Wolverhampton Wanderers (2008–09)|
|2009–10 Football League Championship|
The Football League Championship (often referred to as The Championship for short, or the Coca-Cola Football League 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 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.
The winners of the Coca Cola Championship receive the Football League Championship trophy which is the same trophy as the old First Division Champions (now the Premier League) were handed prior to the Premier League's inception in the 1992/1993 season.
The current champions are Wolverhampton Wanderers, who won promotion to the Premier League on 18 April 2009, and were crowned champions the following weekend. The team were presented with the trophy on 3 May 2009, in front of a sell-out Molineux crowd. The club previously won the Championship trophy in 1959.
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). 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.
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 playoff game.
At the end of the season, the top two teams and the winner of the Football League 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 playoff final.
The following 24 clubs will compete in the Championship during the 2009–10 season.
|Club||Finishing position last season|
|Leicester City||1st in League One|
|Middlesbrough||19th in the Premier League|
|Newcastle United||18th in the Premier League|
|Peterborough United||2nd in League One|
|Preston North End||6th|
|Queens Park Rangers||11th|
|Scunthorpe United||6th in League One (play-off winner)|
|West Bromwich Albion||20th in the Premier League|
From 2009–2012 Sky Sports will show 65 live matches while the BBC will show 10 live games a 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.
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 BBC Radio Five Live or BBC Radio Five Live Sports Extra under their Five Live Sport banner. Most matches broadcast on BBC radio are also broadcast online to UK users on the BBC website.
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.
|Finishing position||Member since
seasons in league
|Bristol City||J10th||2007–08||3||3/6||1||0||0||0||1 (R-up)|
|Derby County||R18th||2008–09||2||5/6||2||1(R)||1 (p.w)||0||0|
|Doncaster Rovers||N14th||2008–09||2||2/6||1||0||0||0||1 (p.w)|
|Leicester City||V1st in League One||2009–10||1||5/6||2||0||0||1(R)||1 (C)|
|Middlesbrough||B19th in the Premier League||2009–10||1||1/6||1||1(R)||0||0||0|
|Newcastle United||A18th in the Premier League||2009–10||1||1/6||1||1(R)||0||0||0|
|Nottingham Forest||S19th||2008–09||2||3/6||2||0||0||1(R)||1 (R-up)|
|Peterborough United||W2nd in League One||2009–10||1||1/6||1||0||0||0||1 (R-up)|
|Preston North End||F6th||2000–01||10||6/6||1||0||0||0||0|
|Queens Park Rangers||K11th||2004–05||6||6/6||1||0||0||0||0|
|Scunthorpe United||X6th in League One||2009–10||1||2/6||2||0||0||1(R)||2 (C)(p.w)|
|Sheffield United||D3rd||2007–08||3||5/6||2||1(R)||1 (R-up)||0||0|
|Sheffield Wednesday||L12th||2005–06||5||5/6||1||0||0||0||1 (p.w)|
|Swansea City1||H8th||2008–09||2||2/6||1||0||0||0||1 (C)|
|West Bromwich Albion||C20th in the Premier League||2009–10||1||3/6||2||2(R)(R)||1(C)||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 clubs current spell only.
3.Total seasons in league/spells in league/relegation to/relegation from & promotion to and promotion from figures include "championship era" only. (last six seasons)
1 Club is located in Wales
|Season||League champions||points||Runner-Up||points||Promoted Play-Off Winner|
|2004–05||Sunderland||94||Wigan Athletic||87||West Ham United|
|2006–07||Sunderland||88||Birmingham City||86||Derby County|
|2007–08||West Bromwich Albion||81||Stoke City||79||Hull City|
|2008–09||Wolverhampton Wanderers||90||Birmingham City||83||Burnley|
For past winners at this level before 2004, see List of winners of English Football League Championship and predecessors.
|Season||Semifinal (1st Leg)||Semifinal (2nd Leg)||Final (Wembley/Cardiff)|
|2004–05||Preston North End 2–0 Derby County
||Derby County 0–0 Preston North End
||West Ham United 1–0 Preston North End|
|2005–06||Leeds United 1–1 Preston North End
||Preston North End 0–2 Leeds United
||Leeds United 0–3 Watford|
|2006–07||Southampton 1–2 Derby County
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2–3 West Bromwich Albion
|Derby County 2–3 Southampton
(Derby won 4–3 on penalties, AET)
West Bromwich Albion 1–0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
|Derby County 1–0 West Bromwich Albion|
|2007–08||Crystal Palace 1–2 Bristol City
Watford 0–2 Hull City
|Bristol City 2–1 Crystal Palace AET
Hull City 4–1 Watford
|Bristol City 0–1 Hull City|
|2008–09||Preston North End 1–1 Sheffield United
Burnley 1–0 Reading
|Sheffield United 1–0 Preston North End
Reading 0–2 Burnley
|Sheffield United 0–1 Burnley|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|2004–05||Nathan Ellington||Wigan Athletic||24|
|2006–07||Jamie Cureton||Colchester United||23|
|2007–08||Sylvan Ebanks-Blake||Plymouth Argyle/Wolverhampton Wanderers||23|
|2008–09||Sylvan Ebanks-Blake||Wolverhampton Wanderers||25|
|Newcastle United||St James' Park||52,387|
|Sheffield Wednesday||Hillsborough Stadium||39,812|
|Derby County||Pride Park Stadium||33,597|
|Sheffield United||Bramall Lane||32,702|
|Coventry City||Ricoh Arena||32,609|
|Leicester City||Walkers Stadium||32,500|
|Nottingham Forest||City Ground||30,602|
|Ipswich Town||Portman Road||30,311|
|West Bromwich Albion||The Hawthorns||28,003|
|Cardiff City||Cardiff City Stadium||26,828|
|Crystal Palace||Selhurst Park||26,309|
|Preston North End||Deepdale||24,500|
|Bristol City||Ashton Gate||21,497|
|Swansea City||Liberty Stadium||20,532|
|Plymouth Argyle||Home Park||19,500|
|Queens Park Rangers||Loftus Road||19,128|
|Peterborough United||London Road Stadium||15,460*|
|Doncaster Rovers||Keepmoat Stadium||15,231|
|Scunthorpe United||Glanford Park||9,088|
* ground contains some terracing.
Football League First Division
|Second tier of English football
2004 – present