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EFL Championship
EFL Championship.png
CountryEngland (22 teams)
Other club(s) fromWales (2 teams)
Number of teams24
Level on pyramid2
Promotion toPremier League
Relegation toLeague One
Domestic cup(s)FA Cup
FA Community Shield
League cup(s)EFL Cup
EFL Trophy
International cup(s)UEFA Europa League
(via FA Cup)
UEFA Europa Conference League
(via EFL Cup)
Current championsFulham (1st title)
Most championships
TV partnersList of broadcasters
WebsiteOfficial website
Current: 2021–22 EFL Championship

The English Football League Championship (often referred to as the LANCASHIRE SUPER LEAGUE, Championship for short or the Sky Bet Championship for sponsorship purposes)[1] is the highest division of the English Football League (EFL) and second-highest overall in the English football league system after the Premier League. The league is contested by 24 clubs.

Introduced for the 2004–05 season as the Football League Championship, the division was previously known as the Football League Second Division (18921992) and Football League First Division (19922004). The winning club of the Championship receives the EFL Championship trophy, the same trophy that was awarded to English First Division champions from[when?] until 1992. As in other divisions of professional English football, Welsh clubs can be part of the division, making it a cross-border 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 Championship is the wealthiest non-top-flight football division in the world, the ninth-richest division in Europe,[2] and the tenth best-attended division in world football (with the highest per-match attendance of any secondary league).[3] Its average match attendance for the 2018–19 season was 20,181.[4]

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).[5] Currently, Nottingham Forest hold the longest tenure in the Championship, last being out of the division in the 2007–08 season.[6][7]


For history 1892–1992, see Football League Second Division. For history 1992–2004, see Football League First Division.

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In its inaugural season[clarification needed] of 2004–05, the Football League Championship announced a total attendance[relevance questioned] (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).[relevance questioned][8][9][10]

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 before 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.[11]

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.[12][13] 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.[14] 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), which began in 2004–05 season, at the end of the 2009–10 season.[15] 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.[16]

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

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.[17]

For the 2016–17 season, the Football League was re-branded as the English Football League. 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.[18]

League structure

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 (including away goals record). If two or more teams finish the season equal in all these respects, then 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.[19]

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.

Current members

EFL Championship is located in Greater London
Location of Greater London's EFL Championship clubs

The following 24 clubs will compete in the EFL Championship during the 2021–22 season.

EFL Championship is located in Lancashire
Location of Lancashire's EFL Championship clubs
Club Finishing position last season Location Stadium Capacity[20]
Barnsley 5th Barnsley Oakwell 23,287
Birmingham City 18th Birmingham St Andrew's Stadium 29,409
Blackburn Rovers 15th Blackburn Ewood Park 31,367
Bournemouth 6th Bournemouth Vitality Stadium 11,364
Blackpool 3rd in League One (promoted via play-offs) Blackpool Bloomfield Road 17,338
Bristol City 19th Bristol Ashton Gate 27,000
Cardiff City 8th Cardiff Cardiff City Stadium 33,316
Coventry City 16th Coventry Coventry Building Society Arena 32,609
Derby County 21st Derby Pride Park Stadium 33,597
Fulham 18th in Premier League (relegated) London (Fulham) Craven Cottage 19,359
Huddersfield Town 20th Huddersfield John Smith's Stadium 24,121
Hull City 1st in League One (promoted) Kingston upon Hull MKM Stadium 25,400
Luton Town 12th Luton Kenilworth Road 10,356
Middlesbrough 10th Middlesbrough Riverside Stadium 34,742
Millwall 11th London (South Bermondsey) The Den 20,146
Nottingham Forest 17th Nottingham City Ground 30,576
Peterborough United 2nd in League One (promoted) Peterborough Weston Homes Stadium 15,314
Preston North End 13th Preston Deepdale 23,408
Queens Park Rangers 9th London (Shepherd's Bush) Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium 18,360
Reading 7th Reading Select Car Leasing Stadium 24,200
Sheffield United 20th in Premier League (relegated) Sheffield Bramall Lane 32,050
Stoke City 14th Stoke-on-Trent bet365 Stadium 30,089
Swansea City 4th Swansea Liberty Stadium 21,088
West Bromwich Albion 19th in Premier League (relegated) West Bromwich The Hawthorns 26,688


League champions, runners-up and play-off finalists

See also: List of winners of the EFL Championship and predecessors

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 Albion2 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)
2019–20 Leeds United 93 West Bromwich Albion 83 Fulham 81 (4th) 2–1 (a.e.t.) Brentford 81 (3rd)
2020–21 Norwich City 97 Watford 91 Brentford 87 (3rd) 2–0 Swansea City 80 (4th)
2021–22 Fulham (90) Bournemouth (88) TBD TBD TBD

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 with 93 points they set a record for the most points for a second-placed team; this was matched by Brighton & Hove Albion three years later.

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 (Points)
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)
2019–20 Charlton Athletic (48), Wigan Athletic (47), Hull City (45)
2020–21 Wycombe Wanderers (43), Rotherham United (42), Sheffield Wednesday (41)
2021–22 Peterborough United (37), Derby County (34), Barnsley (30)

Relegated teams (from Premier League to Championship)

Season Clubs (Points)
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 (16)
2019–20 Bournemouth (34), Watford (34), Norwich City (21)
2020–21 Fulham (28), West Bromwich Albion (26), Sheffield United (23)
2021–22 Burnley (35), Watford (23), Norwich City (22)

Season Clubs (Points)
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)
2019–20[21] Coventry City (88.71), Rotherham United (77.94), Wycombe Wanderers (Play-off winners) (76.35)
2020–21 Hull City (89), Peterborough United (87), Blackpool (Play-off winners) (80)
2021–22 Wigan Athletic (92), Rotherham United (90), Sunderland (Play-off winners) (84)

Top scorers

Season Top scorer(s) Club(s) 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 Jamaica Andre Gray Burnley 25
2016–17 New Zealand Chris Wood Leeds United 27
2017–18 Czech Republic Matěj Vydra Derby County 21
2018–19 Finland Teemu Pukki Norwich City 29
2019–20 Serbia Aleksandar Mitrović Fulham 26
2020–21 England Ivan Toney Brentford 31
2021–22 Serbia Aleksandar Mitrović Fulham 43*

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. ^ A referenced list of all leagues ranking above the Championship is available at the Major League Soccer attendance page.
  4. ^ "Championship 2018/2019 - Attendance". Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  5. ^ "Barnsley 2–1 Brighton". BBC Sport. 12 March 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  6. ^ Flanagan, Chris (1 April 2019). "Derby County's shocking 2007/08 revisited: the Premier League's worst ever season, told by those who were there". FourFourTwo. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  7. ^ Clarke, Lee (24 November 2016). "Where are they now? - Nottingham Forest's 2007/08 promotion winning team | Football League World - Part 11". Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  8. ^ "Countdown underway to new season". BBC News. 6 August 2005. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  9. ^ Lansley, Peter (29 July 2005). "Championship glories in outstripping Serie A". The Times. UK. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  10. ^ First class second division
  11. ^ "League Points". Football League 125. Archived from the original on 12 November 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  12. ^ "Leeds Utd call in administrators". BBC News. 4 May 2007. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  13. ^ "Relegated Leeds in administration". BBC Sport. 4 May 2007. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  14. ^ "Derby 1–0 West Brom". BBC Sport. 28 May 2007. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  15. ^ Coca-Cola end Football League sponsorship deal The Guardian, 30 September 2009
  16. ^ Football League names npower as new sponsor BBC Sport, 16 March 2010
  17. ^ "Derby County 0–1 Queens Park Rangers". BBC Sport. 24 May 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  18. ^ "EFL: More than 18m fans watched matches in 2016–17". BBC Sport. 11 May 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  19. ^ "Championship". Sporting Life. Archived from the original on 9 May 2006. Retrieved 2 April 2008.
  20. ^ "Football Ground Guide". Football Ground Guide. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  21. ^ The teams listed for this season were ranked using points per game following the curtailment of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom.