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The Football League Championship play-offs are a series of playoff matches contested by the teams finishing from 3rd to 6th in the Football League Championship table. The semi-finals are played over two legs, with 6th playing 3rd and 5th playing 4th, with the return fixtures following. The final is played at Wembley Stadiummarker, although from 2001 to 2006, it was played at the Millennium Stadiummarker in Cardiffmarker while Wembley was being rebuilt.

There is no single sporting event in the world more valuable to the winners, who end up approximately £60,000,000 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 played on 25 May 2009, with Burnley beating Sheffield United 1–0 at Wembley Stadiummarker.

Ipswich Town have been in the Championship play-offs a record seven times: 1987, 1997–2000 inclusive, 2004, and 2005, making the final only once in 2000 when they won promotion.

Format

Name changes
1987–1992 Football League Second Division play-offs
1993–2004 Football League First Division play-offs
2005 - Football League Championship play-offs


Aside from the branding changes which affected English football in 1992 and 2004, the Championship play-offs have also changed in format.

When they were introduced for the 1986–87 season, the play-offs originally featured a top flight team as well as the three second tier clubs. This format was continued for the 1987–88, but discontinued afterwards to include only the four teams who finished behind the team or teams winning automatic promotion. As before, the semi-final and final were both two-legged.

Since 1989–90, the final has been a single game (contested between the winners of the semi-finals, which remain two-legged) has been held either at Wembley or the Millennium Stadium, apart from 1987, when Charlton Athletic and Leeds United could not be separated over two legs and took the tie to a third match at St. Andrewsmarker, Birminghammarker.

Results

1987

Semi-finals


Final


Replay


1988

Semi-finals


Final


1989

Semi-finals


Final


1990

Semi-finals


Final


Following successful prosecutions against Swindon Town and the club chairman, Brian Hillier, after they admitted 36 breaches of League rules - 35 of which are related to illegal payments, Swindon remained in the Second Division and Sunderland took their promotion place (see History of Swindon Town F.C.)

1991

Semi-finals


Final


1992

Semi-finals


Final


1993

Semi-finals


Final


1994

Semi-finals


Final


1995

The play-offs in 1995 featured the teams finishing in positions 2–5; during this season the Premiership was reduced from 22 to 20 clubs, with four relegated to Division 1 and only two promoted, the champions (Middlesbrough) automatically and one other through the play-offs.
Semi-finals


Final


1996

Semi-finals


Final


1997

Semi-finals


Final


1998

Semi-finals


Final


1999

Semi-finals


Final


2000

Semi-finals


Final


2001

Semi-finals


Final


2002

Semi-finals


Final


2003

Semi-finals


Final


2004

Semi-finals


Final


2005

Semi-finals


2006

Semi-finals


Final


2007

Semi-finals


Final


2008

Semi-finals


Final


2009

Semi-finals


Final


See also



References

  1. Cuff, Andrew. "Promotion worth £60m", "The Guardian", 3 May 2007, viewed 3 May 2007





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