NIFL Championship
Founded2008 (as IFA Championship)
CountryNorthern Ireland
Number of teams12
Level on pyramid2
Promotion toNIFL Premiership
Relegation toNIFL Premier Intermediate League
Domestic cup(s)Irish Cup
League cup(s)Northern Ireland Football League Cup
Current championsPortadown (2nd title)
(2019–20)
Current: 2021-22 Season

The Northern Ireland Football League Championship (known as the Bluefin Sport Championship for sponsorship reasons) is the second level of the Northern Ireland Football League, the national football league in Northern Ireland. Clubs in the Championship can be promoted to the highest national division - the NIFL Premiership, and relegated to the third level - the NIFL Premier Intermediate League.

It was founded in 2008 as the Premier Intermediate League for members of the previous IFA Intermediate League that met the new stricter membership criteria,[1] though was marketed as the IFA Championship.[2] In 2009, it was extended to two divisions: Championship 1 and Championship 2 with promotion and relegation between the two.[3] In 2013, the Championship and Premiership became part of the Northern Ireland Football League, independent of the Irish Football Association (IFA).

Under reforms agreed by the Irish League clubs in 2014, Championship 1 acquired senior status from the 2016–17 season onwards, continuing as the NIFL Championship. Championship 2 became the NIFL Premier Intermediate League, retaining its intermediate status.[4]

Current NIFL Championship clubs (2021–22)

Club Stadium Location Capacity[5]
Annagh United Tandragee Road Portadown 1,250 (100 seated)
Ards Bangor Fuels Arena Bangor 1,895 (500 seated)
Ballinamallard United Ferney Park Ballinamallard 2,000 (250 seated)
Ballyclare Comrades Dixon Park Ballyclare 5,333
Dergview Darragh Park Castlederg 1,200
Dundela Wilgar Park Belfast 2,500
Harland & Wolff Welders Tillysburn Park Belfast 3,000
Institute Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium Derry 8,200
Knockbreda Breda Park Belfast 1,000
Loughgall Lakeview Park Loughgall 3,000
Newry City The Showgrounds Newry 2,275 (1,080 seated)
Queen's University Upper Malone Belfast 1,000 (330 seated)

See also

References

  1. ^ "Premier Intermediate League (PIL)". Irish Football Association. irishfa.com. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  2. ^ "IFA Championship". Irish Football Association. irishfa.com. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  3. ^ Ladbrokes.com Championship 2009/10
  4. ^ Northern Ireland Football League (2014). NI Football League Restructure Proposal.
  5. ^ "Championship 2019/2020 - Venues". Soccerway. Retrieved 7 February 2020.