|Founded||20 February 1992|
|Number of teams||20|
|Relegation to||The Championship|
|Level on pyramid||Level 1|
|Domestic cup(s)|| FA Cup|
|UEFA cup(s)|| Champions League|
|Current champions||Man City (11-12)|
The Premier League, colloquially known as The Premiership or internationally the EPL, is an English professional league for football clubs. Situated at the top of the English football league system, it is the country's primary football competition. The Premier League is currently contested by 20 clubs, operating a system of promotion and relegation with The Football League. Seasons run from August to May, with teams playing 38 games each. It is currently sponsored by Barclays Bank, and officially known as the Barclays Premier League.
The competition formed as the FA Premier League on 20 February 1992 and the first games were played on 15 August that year, following the decision of clubs in the Football League First Division to break away from The Football League to take advantage of a lucrative television rights deal. The Football League had served as England and Wales' primary football competition since 1888; since then, the Premier League has become the world's most watched sporting league and the most lucrative football league, with combined club revenues of around £1.4 billion in 2005-06, and rising above £2 billion by 2009-10, primarily due to rising media revenues. The league is a corporation with the 20 clubs acting as shareholders.
A total of 40 clubs have competed in the Premier League, but only five have won the title: Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester City. The current champions are Manchester City, who won their first Premier League title in the 2011-12 season.
The 1980s had marked a low point for English football. Stadiums were crumbling, supporters endured poor facilities, hooliganism was rife, and English clubs were banned from European competition following the Heysel Stadium Disaster in 1985. The Football League First Division, which had been the top level of English football since 1888, was well behind leagues such as Italy's Serie A and Spain's La Liga in attendances and revenues, and several top English players had moved abroad. However, by the turn of the 1990s the downward trend was starting to reverse; England had been successful in the 1990 FIFA World Cup, reaching the semi-finals. UEFA, European football's governing body, lifted the five-year ban on English clubs playing in European competitions in 1990 and the Taylor Report on stadium safety standards, which proposed expensive upgrades to create all-seater stadiums, was published in January of that year.
Television money had also become much more important; the Football League received £6.3million for a two-year agreement in 1986, but when that deal was renewed in 1988, the price rose to £44m over four years. The 1988 negotiations were the first signs of a breakaway league; ten clubs threatened to leave and form a "super league", but were eventually persuaded to stay. As stadiums improved and match attendance and revenues rose, the country's top teams again considered leaving the Football League in order to capitalise on the growing influx of money being pumped into the sport.
In the 1991 close season, a proposal for the establishment of a new league was tabled that would bring more money into the game overall. The Founder Members Agreement, signed on 17 July 1991 by the game's top-flight clubs, established the basic principles for setting up the FA Premier League. The newly formed top division would have commercial independence from [The Football Association]] and The Football League, giving the FA Premier League license to negotiate its own broadcast and sponsorship agreements. This was considered necessary so that English clubs could once again compete with and beat the best of Europe, while attracting the best talent in the world, something which in 1991 seemed practically unthinkable.
In 1992 the First Division clubs resigned from the Football League en masse and on 27 May 1992 the FA Premier League was formed as a limited company working out of an office at the Football Association's then headquarters in Lancaster Gate. This meant a break-up of the 104-year-old Football League that had operated until then with four divisions; the Premier League would operate with a single division and the Football League with three. There was no change in competition format; the same number of teams competed in the top flight, and promotion and relegation between the Premier League and the new First Division remained on the same terms as between the old First and Second Divisions.
The 22 inaugural members of the new Premiership were Arsenal, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Chelsea, Coventry City, Crystal Palace, Everton, Ipswich Town, Leeds United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Norwich City, Nottingham Forest, Oldham Athletic, Queens Park Rangers, Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday, Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur, and Wimbledon.
Two additional teams, Luton Town and Notts County, were signatories to the establishment of the breakaway league, but were immediatly relegated as the league decreased in size. They have subsequently failed to gain promotion back to the top flight
The league held its first season in 1992-93 and was originally composed of 22 clubs. Relegation was limited to three teams, with three teams being promoted from the First Division. Due to insistence by FIFA, the international governing body of football, that domestic leagues reduce the number of games clubs played, the number of clubs was reduced to 20 in 1995 when four teams were relegated from the league and only two teams promoted. On 8 June 2006, FIFA requested that all major European leagues, including Italy's Serie A and Spain's La Liga be reduced to 18 teams by the start of the 2007-08 season. The Premier League responded by announcing their intention to resist such a reduction. Ultimately the 2007-08 season kicked off again with 20 teams. The league changed its name from the FA Premier League to simply the Premier League for, and the highly controversial Game 39, a showpiece match played overseas was mentioned and discussed for the first time. Swansea City were the first non-English team to compete in the Premier League in the 2011-12 Season, with the first game played outside England being the game between Swansea and Wigan Athletic on the 20 August 2011.
Qualification for European competitionsEdit
The top four teams in the Premier League qualify for the UEFA Champions League, with the top three teams directly entering the group phase. The fourth placed team enters the competition at the third qualifying round for non-champions and must win a two-legged knockout tie in order to enter the group phase. The fifth placed team automatically qualifies for the Europa League, and the sixth and seventh placed teams can also qualify, depending on what happens in the two domestic cup competitions. If the FA Cup winners qualify for Europe, the runner-up is awarded the Europa Cup place; if the runner-up has also qualified for Europe, the spot goes to the next-highest placed league finisher not already qualified for Europe. If the League Cup is won by a team that has already qualified for Europe, the League Cup's Europa League spot also goes to the next highest placed team in the League (unlike the FA Cup spot, it is never transferred to the losing finalist).
If an English team wins the Champions League, but does not qualify for the Champions League via the Premier League, then they will qualify automatically at the expense of the fourth placed team in the league, with all four teams entering the Group Stage. The fourth place team becomes the fifth team and the same rules above apply, but bumped up a place. The winners of the Europa League qualify for the competition again. If they have already qualified then no further action is taken.
From 1992 to 2003 the Premier League champions qualified for the group stage, with the league runners-up entering a qualifying round. After an expansion of the Champions League from 2004 to 2008 the 16 top ranked teams (from an average finishing position over the past 5 seasons) who qualified, entered the group stage, with the third and fourth placed English teams entering the third qualifying round. The current system, adopted in 2009, sees the top three placed teams qualify for the group stage, with the fourth team entering a play-off between non league champions for a place in the group stage.
An exception to the usual European qualification system happened in 2005, when Liverpool won the UEFA Champions League, but did not finish in a Champions League qualification position in that season's Premier League. This was the first time this had happened since the reformtting of the European Cup, and exposed an overlooked rule that had not been kept. The rule allowed for winners of the competition to defend their title, even if though they were not league winners. UEFA gave special dispensation for Liverpool to enter the Champions League at the first qualifying round, giving England five qualifiers. UEFA subsequently reintroduced the rule that allowed the defending champions of the trophy to qualify for the competition the following year regardless of their domestic league placing. However, for those associations with four participants in the Champions League, this means that if the Champions League winner falls outside of its domestic league's top four, it will qualify at the expense of the fourth-ranked team in the league.
Prior to 2008-09, the highest placed team that had not qualified for the Europa Cup was allowed the opportunity to compete in the UEFA Intertoto Cup, provided they had applied to enter the Intertoto Cup in the next season. The Intertoto Cup was discontinued after 2008 after a change to the Europa League qualification rules.
The Premier League achieved top place in the UEFA rankings of European leagues based on their performances in European competitions over a five-year period. This broke the eight-year dominance of the Spanish league, La Liga. The top three leagues in Europe are currently allowed to enter four teams into the Champions League. The UEFA president Michel Platini, had proposed taking one place from the Premier League's quota, and allocating this place to the FA Cup winners. This proposal though, was rejected in a vote at a UEFA Strategy Council meeting.
In the same meeting that Platini's suggestion that FA Cup winners should qualify for the Champion's League rather than the UEFA Cup was rejected, however the current agreement regarding the third and fouth placed teams of the top leagues was agreed. This was part of Platini's plan to increase the amount of teams qualifying directly into the Group Stage, while simultaneously increasing the number of teams from lower-ranked nations in the competition proper.
Since 1993, the Premier League has been sponsored. The sponsor has been able to determine the league's sponsorship name. The list below details who the sponsors have been and what they called the competition:
- 1993-2001: Carling (FA Carling Premiership)
- 2001-2004: Barclaycard (Barclaycard Premiership)
- 2004-2007: Barclays (Barclays Premiership)
- 2007-Current: Barclays (Barclays Premier League)
The Premiership trophy was created by Royal Jewellers Asprey & Garrard. Weighing four stone (approximately 25 kilograms), its main body is solid sterling silver, while its base is made of the semi-precious African stone malachite. The green colour of malachite is representative of the green field of play. The design of the trophy is based on the heraldry of Three Lions that is associated with English football. Two of the lions are found above the handles on either side of the trophy—the third is symbolised by the captain of the title winning team as he raises the trophy, and its gold crown, above his head at the end of the season.
Premier League clubsEdit
A total of 45 clubs have played in the Premier League from its inception in 1992 to the end of the 2012-13 season. Two other clubs (Luton Town and Notts County) were signatories to the original agreement that created the Premier League, but were relegated prior to the inaugural Premiership season and have not subsequently returned to the top flight. For a list of all clubs past and present see List of FA Premier League clubs and an amalgamated table can be found at All-time FA Premier League table. For a list of winners and runners-up of the Premier League since its inception, and top scorers for each season, see English football champions.
Seven clubs have been members of the Premiership for every season since its inception. This group is composed of Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur.
Former Premier League membersEdit
League champions, runners-upEdit
Relegated teams (from the Premier League)Edit
Top Premier League scorersEdit
Top 10 Premier League scorers of all-timeEdit
|8||Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink||127|
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