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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 richest 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 Molineuxmarker crowd. The last time the club had received The Championship trophy was back in 1959, the last time they had won the top-flight of English football.


For history before 2004, see Football League First Division after 1993 and Football League Second Division before that year
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), Spainmarker's Primera división (11.57m) and Germanymarker's Bundesliga (10.92m), but beating Italymarker's Serie A (9.77m) and Francemarker'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.

Structure of the league

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.

The two teams finishing the season in the top two positions are promoted to the Premier League and the bottom three teams are relegated to Football League One. In addition, the teams finishing in positions 3-6 compete in the Football League Championship Play-Offs, a knock-out competition with the winner also being promoted to the Premier League. In the playoffs, the third placed team plays against the sixth-placed team and the fourth placed team plays against the fifth placed team in two-legged semifinals. The winners of each semifinal then compete in a single match with the prize being promotion to the Premier League and the Championship playoff 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.

Football League Championship clubs 2009–10

The following 24 clubs will compete in the Championship during the 2009–10 season.
Club Finishing position last season
Barnsley 20th
Blackpool 16th
Bristol City 10th
Cardiff City 7th
Coventry City 17th
Crystal Palace 15th
Derby County 18th
Doncaster Rovers 14th
Ipswich Town 9th
Leicester City 1st in League One
Middlesbrough 19th in the Premier League
Newcastle United 18th in the Premier League
Nottingham Forest 19th
Peterborough United 2nd in League One
Plymouth Argyle 21st
Preston North End 6th
Queens Park Rangers 11th
Reading 4th
Scunthorpe United 6th in League One (play-off winner)
Sheffield United 3rd
Sheffield Wednesday 12th
Swansea City 8th
Watford 13th
West Bromwich Albion 20th in the Premier League

Broadcasting rights

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.

In Australia, Fox Sports broadcasts live Coca Cola Championship matches every weekend, as well as a Highlights show every Tuesday night at 7 pm.

In Italymarker, Sportitalia has exclusive rights to broadcast live one match a week and highlights show.

History of the current 24 clubs in the Championship (2009–10 season)

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.

Club names(space) Finishing position2008–09 season Member sinceseason Consecutiveseasons in league Total seasonsin league* Spellsin league* Relegatedto league* Promotedfrom League* Relegatedfrom league* Promotedto League*

Barnsley T20th 2006–07 4 4/6 1 0 0 0 1
Blackpool P16th 2007–08 3 3/6 1 0 0 0 1
Bristol City J10th 2007–08 3 3/6 1 0 0 0 1
Cardiff City1 G7th 2003–04 7 6/6 1 0 0 0 0
Coventry City Q17th 2001–02 9 6/6 1 0 0 0 0
Crystal Palace O15th 2005–06 5 5/6 1 1 0 0 0
Derby County R18th 2008–09 2 5/6 2 1 1 0 0
Doncaster Rovers N14th 2008–09 2 2/6 1 0 0 0 1
Ipswich Town I9th 2002–03 8 6/6 1 0 0 0 0
Leicester City V1st in League One 2009–10 1 5/6 2 0 0 1 1
Middlesbrough B19th in the Premier League 2009–10 1 1/6 1 1 0 0 0
Newcastle United A18th in the Premier League 2009–10 1 1/6 1 1 0 0 0
Nottingham Forest S19th 2008–09 2 3/6 2 0 0 1 1
Peterborough United W2nd in League One 2009–10 1 1/6 1 0 0 0 1
Plymouth Argyle U21st 2004–05 6 6/6 1 0 0 0 0
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
Reading E4th 2008–09 2 4/6 2 1 1 0 0
Scunthorpe United X6th in League One 2009–10 1 2/6 2 0 0 1 2
Sheffield United D3rd 2007–08 3 5/6 2 1 1 0 0
Sheffield Wednesday L12th 2005–06 5 5/6 1 0 0 0 1
Swansea City1 H8th 2008–09 2 2/6 1 0 0 0 1
Watford M13th 2007–08 3 5/6 2 1 1 0 0
West Bromwich Albion C20th in the Premier League 2009–10 1 3/6 2 2 1 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 Walesmarker

Previous seasons

League champions, Runners-up & play-Off winners

Season League champions points Runner-Up points Promoted Play-Off Winner
2004–05 Sunderland 94 Wigan Athletic 87 West Ham United
2005–06 Reading 106 Sheffield United 90 Watford
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.

Play-off results

Season Semifinal (1st Leg) Semifinal (2nd Leg) Final
2004–05 Preston North End 2–0 Derby County

West Ham United 2–2 Ipswich Town
Derby County 0–0 Preston North End

Ipswich Town 0–2 West Ham United
West Ham United 1–0 Preston North End
2005–06 Leeds United 1–1 Preston North End

Crystal Palace 0–3 Watford
Preston North End 0–2 Leeds United

Watford 0–0 Crystal Palace
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

Relegated teams (from the Championship)

Season Clubs
2004–05 Gillingham, Nottingham Forest, Rotherham United
2005–06 Crewe Alexandramarker, 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

Relegated teams (from the Premier League)

Season Clubs
2004–05 Southampton, Norwich City, Crystal Palace
2005–06 Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham City
2006–07 Watford, Charlton Athletic, Sheffield United
2007–08 Derby County, Birmingham City, Reading
2008–09 West Bromwich Albion, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United

Promoted teams (to the Championship)

Season Clubs
2004–05 Luton Town, Hull City, Sheffield Wednesday
2005–06 Southend United, Colchester United, Barnsleymarker
2006–07 Scunthorpe United, Bristol City, Blackpoolmarker
2007–08 Swansea City, Nottingham Forest, Doncaster Rovers
2008–09 Leicester City, Peterborough United, Scunthorpe United

Top scorers

Season Top scorer Club Goals
2004–05 Nathan Ellington Wigan Athletic 24
2005–06 Marlon King Watford 21
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

Championship Stadia 2009–10

Team Stadium Capacity
St James' Parkmarker 52,387
Hillsborough Stadiummarker 39,814
Riverside Stadiummarker 35,049
Pride Park Stadiummarker 33,597
Ricoh Arenamarker 32,609
Bramall Lanemarker 32,609
Walkers Stadiummarker 32,500
City Groundmarker 30,602
Portman Roadmarker 30,311
The Hawthornsmarker 28,003
Cardiff City Stadiummarker 26,828
Selhurst Parkmarker 26,309
Deepdalemarker 24,500
Madejski Stadiummarker 24,161
Oakwellmarker 23,009
Ashton Gatemarker 21,497
Liberty Stadiummarker 20,532
Vicarage Roadmarker 19,920
Home Parkmarker 19,500
Loftus Roadmarker 19,128
London Road Stadiummarker 15,460*
Keepmoat Stadiummarker 15,231
Bloomfield Roadmarker 10,035
Glanford Parkmarker 9,088*
* ground contains some terracing.

See also


  1. First fall in Premiership wages, BBC News, 31 May 2006, reporting on Deloitte's review of football finance in 2004–05.
  2. BBC SPORT Football | Countdown underway to new season
  3. Championship glories in outstripping Serie A Football - Times Online
  4. - First class second division

External links

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