The English Football League Championship (often referred to as the Championship for short or the Sky Bet Championship for sponsorship reasons) is the highest division of the English Football League (EFL) and second-highest overall in the English football league system after the Premier League.
Each season, the two top-finishing teams in the Championship are automatically promoted to the Premier League. The teams that finish the season in 3rd to 6th place enter a playoff tournament, with the winner also gaining promotion to the Premier League. The three lowest-finishing teams in the Championship 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. Similar to other divisions of professional English football, Welsh clubs can be part of the division, making it a cross-border league.
The Championship is the wealthiest non-top flight football division in the world and the seventh richest division in Europe. With an average match attendance for the 2016–17 season of 20,130 the Championship ranked second after the German 2. Bundesliga as the most-watched secondary league in the world.
Barnsley have spent more seasons at the second level of English football than any other team and on 3 January 2011 became the first club to achieve 1,000 wins in the second level of English football with a 2–1 home victory over Coventry City. Barnsley are also the first club to play 3,000 games in second-level league football (W1028, D747, L1224). At present, Derby County and Nottingham Forest hold the longest tenure in the Championship, last being out of the division in the 2007–08 season.
1992–2004 (as Division One)
1892–1992 (as Division Two)
|Country||England (22 teams)|
|Other club(s) from||Wales (2 teams)|
|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)||UEFA Europa League (via cups)|
|Current champions||Norwich City |
|Most championships||Newcastle United, Reading, Sunderland and Wolverhampton Wanderers|
|TV partners||Sky Sports|
Quest (highlights only)
|2019–20 EFL Championship|
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). 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.
Sunderland won the league in the first season since re-branding, with Wigan Athletic finishing second to win promotion to the top flight of English football for the first time in their history. They had only been elected to the Football League twenty-seven years previously; playing in the fourth tier as recently as eleven years prior to their promotion. West Ham United won the first Championship play-off final that season, following a 1–0 victory over Preston North End at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. In the 2005–06 season, Reading broke the Football League points record for a season, finishing on 106 points, exceeding the record set by Sunderland in 1999.
Sunderland won their second Championship title in three seasons in the 2006–07 season. On 4 May 2007, Leeds United became the first side since the re-branding of the division to enter administration; they were deducted 10 points and were relegated as a result. On 28 May 2007, Derby County won the first Championship play-off final at the new Wembley Stadium, beating West Bromwich Albion 1–0 in front of nearly 75,000 spectators. West Brom would go on to win the Championship in the following season.
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. 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.
On 24 May 2014, the Championship play-off final between Derby County and Queens Park Rangers saw the highest crowd for any Championship fixture – 87,348 witnessed a Bobby Zamora stoppage time winner for QPR to win promotion for the London club.
For the 2016–17 season, the Football League was re-branded as the English Football League. That season, Rotherham United recorded the lowest points total in Championship history – winning just 23 points from their 46 matches. The league had an cumulative attendance of more than eleven million – excluding play-off matches – with more than two million watching Newcastle United and Aston Villa home fixtures alone; both of whom had been relegated from the Premier League in the previous season. This was included in the highest crowds for the second to fourth tier in England since the 1958–59 season.
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.
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 at Wembley stadium with the prize being promotion to the Premier League and the Championship play-off trophy.
From 2009 to 2012, Sky Sports had the rights to broadcast 65 live matches. Now, not all the games in the Championship are seen live on Sky Sports, but live coverage of both legs of both play-off semi finals and the play-off final are shown live. Highlights are shown on Quest.
talkSPORT hold exclusive national rights to broadcast audio commentary of a selection of Championship matches live to the whole of the United Kingdom; most headline matches are broadcast on either talkSPORT or talkSPORT2. However, BBC Sport does have the rights to broadcast audio commentary for BBC Local Radio in an area with a Championship team.
The following 24 clubs competed in the EFL Championship during the 2019–20 season.
|Club||Finishing position last season||Location||Stadium||Capacity|
|Barnsley||2nd in League One (promoted)||Barnsley||Oakwell||23,287|
|Birmingham City||17th||Bordesley||St Andrew's||30,016|
|Blackburn Rovers||15th||Blackburn||Ewood Park||31,367|
|Brentford||11th||London (Brentford)||Griffin Park||12,763|
|Bristol City||8th||Bristol||Ashton Gate||27,000|
|Cardiff City||18th in Premier League (relegated)||Cardiff||Cardiff City Stadium||33,316|
|Charlton Athletic||3rd in League One (promoted via play-offs)||London
|Derby County||6th||Derby||Pride Park Stadium||33,597|
|Fulham||19th in Premier League (relegated)||London
|Huddersfield Town||20th in Premier League (relegated)||Huddersfield||Kirklees Stadium||24,121|
|Hull City||13th||Kingston upon Hull||KCOM Stadium||25,404|
|Leeds United||3rd||Leeds||Elland Road||37,900|
|Luton Town||1st in League One (promoted)||Luton||Kenilworth Road||10,356|
|Millwall||21st||London (South Bermondsey)||The Den||20,146|
|Nottingham Forest||9th||Nottingham||City Ground||30,576|
|Preston North End||14th||Preston||Deepdale||23,408|
|Queens Park Rangers||19th||London (Shepherd's Bush)||Loftus Road||18,360|
|Stoke City||16th||Stoke-on-Trent||bet365 Stadium||30,089|
|Swansea City||10th||Swansea||Liberty Stadium||21,088|
|West Bromwich Albion||4th||West Bromwich||The Hawthorns||26,850|
|Wigan Athletic||18th||Wigan||DW Stadium||25,133|
|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)|
|2016–17||Newcastle United 94||Brighton & Hove Albion 93||Huddersfield Town 81 (5th)||0–0 (4–3 pen)||Reading 85 (3rd)|
|2017–18||Wolverhampton Wanderers 99||Cardiff City 90||Fulham 88 (3rd)||1–0||Aston Villa 83 (4th)|
|2018–19||Norwich City 94||Sheffield United 89||Aston Villa 76 (5th)||2-1||Derby County 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 in second place with 93 points, they had set a record for the most points for a second-placed team. This record was subsequently matched by Brighton & Hove Albion in the 2016–17 season when they finished second with 93 points.
For past winners at this level before 2004, see List of winners of English Football League Championship and predecessors
|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||Blackburn Rovers (51), Wigan Athletic (42), Rotherham United (23)|
|2017–18||Barnsley (41), Burton Albion (41), Sunderland (37)|
|2018–19||Rotherham United (40), Bolton Wanderers (32), Ipswich Town (31)|
|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||Birmingham City (39), Blackpool (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)|
|2016–17||Hull City (34), Middlesbrough (28), Sunderland (24)|
|2017–18||Swansea City (33), Stoke City (33), West Bromwich Albion (31)|
|2018–19||Cardiff City (34), Fulham (26), Huddersfield Town (15)|
|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 (100), Bolton Wanderers (87), Millwall (Play-off winners) (73)|
|2017–18||Wigan Athletic (98), Blackburn Rovers (96), Rotherham United (Play-off winners) (79)|
|2018–19||Luton Town (94), Barnsley (91), Charlton Athletic (Play-off winners) (88)|
|2004–05||Nathan Ellington||Wigan Athletic||24|
|2007–08||Sylvan Ebanks-Blake||Plymouth Argyle
|2008–09||Sylvan Ebanks-Blake||Wolverhampton Wanderers||25|
|2009–10||Peter Whittingham||Cardiff City||20|
|Nicky Maynard||Bristol City|
|2012–13||Glenn Murray||Crystal Palace||30|
|2013–14||Ross McCormack||Leeds United||28|
|2014–15||Daryl Murphy||Ipswich Town||27|
|2016–17||Chris Wood||Leeds United||27|
|2017–18||Matěj Vydra||Derby County||21|
|2018–19||Teemu Pukki||Norwich City||29|
Media related to EFL Championship at Wikimedia Commons2004 Football League First Division play-off Final
The 2004 Football League First Division play-off Final was contested by Crystal Palace and West Ham United at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Crystal Palace won 1–0, with a goal from Neil Shipperley.2005 Football League Championship play-off Final
The 2005 Football League Championship play-off Final was contested by West Ham United and Preston North End at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. West Ham won 1–0, with a goal from Bobby Zamora.2009 Football League Championship play-off Final
The 2009 Football League Championship play-off Final was a football match played at Wembley Stadium on 25 May 2009, at the end of the 2008–09 season. The match determined the third and final team to gain promotion from the Championship to the Premier League, and was contested by Sheffield United, who finished third during the league season, and Burnley, who finished fifth. The teams reached the final by defeating Preston North End and Reading respectively in the two-legged semi-finals. Burnley won the match 1–0, Wade Elliott scoring the only goal of the game.2016–17 EFL Championship
The 2016–17 EFL Championship (referred to as the Sky Bet Championship for sponsorship reasons) was the first season of the EFL Championship under its current name, and the twenty-fifth season under its current league structure. Newcastle United were crowned the champions and were promoted to Premier League after just one season in the Championship. Brighton & Hove Albion, alongside Huddersfield Town, both achieved their first ever Premier League promotions, via the second automatic promotion place and play-off route respectively.
The season started on 5 August 2016 with the final round of regular league fixtures played on 7 May 2017. The fixtures were announced on 22 June 2016.2017 EFL Championship play-off Final
The 2017 EFL Championship play-off Final was hosted on 29 May 2017 at Wembley Stadium, London. The winner gained promotion to the 2017–18 Premier League season. The top two teams of the 2016–17 EFL Championship season gained automatic promotion to the Premier League, whilst the teams placed between third and sixth place in the league table played two initial matches in a series of play-offs, and the top two teams of the play-offs play for the final place for the 2017–18 season in the Premier League.
Huddersfield Town won on penalties against Reading in the final, returning to the top flight for the first time since 1972 and playing their first Premier League season in their history.2017–18 EFL Championship
The 2017–18 EFL Championship (referred to as the Sky Bet Championship for sponsorship reasons) was the second season of the EFL Championship under its current name, and the twenty-sixth season under its current league structure.2018 EFL Championship play-off Final
The 2018 EFL Championship play-off Final was played on 26 May 2018 at Wembley Stadium, London. The winner earned promotion to the Premier League for the 2018–19 season. The top two teams of the 2017–18 EFL Championship season gained automatic promotion to the Premier League, whilst the teams placed between third and sixth place in the league table played two initial matches in a series of play-offs, and the top two teams of the play-offs play for the final place for the 2018–19 season in the Premier League.
Winning the game has been estimated by accountants Deloitte to be worth £160m to the winners, rising to £280m should they survive at least one season in the Premier League.Fulham won 1–0, the only goal of the game being scored by Tom Cairney in the 23rd minute. It was their first game at Wembley for 43 years since losing the 1975 FA Cup Final.2018–19 EFL Championship
The 2018–19 EFL Championship (referred to as the Sky Bet Championship for sponsorship reasons) was the third season of the EFL Championship under its current name, and the twenty-seventh season under its current league structure. Norwich City were crowned champions on the final day, following a 2–1 win over Aston Villa.2019 EFL Championship play-off Final
The 2019 EFL Championship play-off Final was a football match which was played on 27 May 2019 at Wembley Stadium, London between Aston Villa and Derby County. The winner earned promotion to the Premier League for the 2019–20 season. The top two teams of the 2018–19 EFL Championship season gained automatic promotion, whilst the teams placed between third and sixth place in the league table played two initial matches in a series of play-offs, and the top two teams of the play-offs played for the final place for the 2019–20 Premier League. Winning the game is estimated to be worth £170m to the successful team.Aston Villa won 2–1 to return to the Premier League for the first time since 2016.2019–20 Barnsley F.C. season
The 2019–20 season will see Barnsley playing in the EFL Championship, FA Cup and EFL Cup. The season covers the period from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.2019–20 Brentford F.C. season
The 2019–20 season is Brentford's 130th year in existence and sixth consecutive season in the Championship. Along with competing in the Championship, the club will also participate in the FA Cup and the EFL Cup.
The season covers the period from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.2019–20 Cardiff City F.C. season
The 2019–20 season is Cardiff City's 121st season in their existence and their first back in the EFL Championship. Cardiff were relegated to the second tier of English football after finishing 18th in the 2018–19 Premier League. Along with competing in the EFL Championship, the club also participated in the FA Cup and EFL Cup. The season covers the period from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.2019–20 EFL Championship
The 2019–20 EFL Championship (referred to as the Sky Bet Championship for sponsorship reasons) is the 16th season of the Football League Championship under its current title and the 28th season under its current league division format.2019–20 Huddersfield Town A.F.C. season
The 2019–20 season is Huddersfield Town's 111th year in existence and their first season back in the EFL Championship after relegation from the Premier League.
The season covers the period from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.2019–20 Luton Town F.C. season
The 2019–20 season will be the 134th in the history of Luton Town Football Club, a professional association football club based in Luton, Bedfordshire, England. Their promotion from League One in 2018–19 means they will play in the Championship after a 12-year absence. This will be the club's 94th season in the English Football League. The season will run from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.2019–20 Stoke City F.C. season
The 2019–20 season will be Stoke City's 103rd season in the Football League, the 43rd in the second tier and sixth in the Championship.EFL Championship play-offs
The English Football League Championship play-offs are a series of play-off matches contested by the teams finishing from 3rd to 6th in the EFL Championship table. The semi-finals are played over two legs, with 3rd playing 6th and 4th playing 5th, with the return fixtures following. The final is played at Wembley Stadium, although from 2001 to 2006, it was played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff while Wembley was being rebuilt.
The first play-offs at this level were contested in 1987, when it was the Football League Second Division. From 1993 to 2004, following the creation of the FA Premier League as a breakaway from the Football League, it became the Division One play-offs, and since 2005 has taken its current name as the Championship play-offs following a rebranding of the remaining three divisions of the Football League.
There is no single sporting event in the world more valuable to the winners, who end up approximately £60m better off than the losers, mainly due to the increased commercial television revenue from being promoted to the Premier League. However, by convention the two finalists agree that the loser will keep all the gate receipts from the game, so as to slightly soften the financial blow of missing out.The most recent final was between Aston Villa and Derby County on 27 May 2019, with Aston Villa being promoted to the Premier League after a 2-1 victory.
Ipswich Town have been in the Championship play-offs a joint record eight times: 1987, 1997–2000 inclusive, 2004, 2005 and 2015, making the final only once in 2000 (when they won promotion). Derby County have also made the playoffs 8 times, with their only success coming in 2007. Leicester City have reached the Championship play-off final four times (in the space of five seasons), losing two in 1992 and 1993 and winning two in 1994 and 1996. Crystal Palace have also appeared in the final five times, losing in 1996 and winning in 1989, 1997, 2004 and 2013, the most wins by any club.The team finishing highest in the league (third) has succeeded in winning promotion eleven times out of thirty seasons, up to 2017, with 4th managing six promotions, 5th eight and 6th five.
The play-off winners have managed to finish above the Championship winners and runners-up in the subsequent Premier League season on seven occasions: Blackburn Rovers in 1992–93, Leicester City in 1996–97, Ipswich Town in 2000–01, West Ham United in 2005–06 and 2012–13, Swansea City in 2011–12, and Crystal Palace in 2013–14.Football League First Division
The Football League First Division is a former division of The Football League, now known as the English Football League. From 1888 to 1992 it was the top tier division in the English football league system. Following the creation of the FA Premier League, it became the second tier division. In 2004 it was rebranded as the Football League Championship, and in 2016 adopted its current name of EFL Championship.List of teams promoted from the English Football League Championship and predecessors
A national second tier of English league football was established in 1892–93, at the demise of Football Alliance. as the Second Division. In 1992, with the departure of the then First Division clubs to become the Premier League, the second tier became known as the First Division. In 2004 it was re-branded as the Football League Championship before it was renamed the EFL Championship in 2016.
|Statistics and awards|
|Football League Second Division|
|Football League First Division|
|Football League Championship|
2018–19 EFL Championship venues