English Football League

The English Football League (EFL) is a league of professional football clubs from England and Wales. Founded in 1888 as the Football League, the league is the oldest such competition in the world. It was the top-level football league in England from its foundation until 1992, when the top 22 clubs split from it to form the Premier League.

English Football League
English Football League Logo.svg
Founded17 April 1888; 135 years ago (1888-04-17)
CountryEngland (68 teams)
Other club(s) fromWales (4 teams)
Number of teams72
Level on pyramid2–4
Promotion toPremier League
Relegation toNational League
Domestic cup(s)FA Cup
League cup(s)
Current championsBurnley
TV partners
Current: 2023–24 English Football League

The EFL is divided into the Championship, League One and League Two, with 24 clubs in each division, 72 in total, with promotion and relegation between them; the top Championship division clubs change places with the lowest-placed clubs in the Premier League, and the bottom clubs of League Two with the top clubs of the National League. Currently three of the EFL clubs are from Wales – Cardiff City, Swansea City and Newport County – the rest of the 72 are located in England. Welsh club Wrexham will return to the EFL in 2023-24 after achieving promotion to League Two.

The Football League had a sponsor from the 1983–84 season, and thus was known by various names.[1] For the 2016–17 season, the league rebranded itself as the English Football League (EFL).[2][3]

The English Football League also organises two knock-out cup competitions, the EFL Cup and the EFL Trophy. The operations centre of the Football League is in Preston, while its commercial office is in London.[4][5]


The Football League consists of 69 professional association football clubs in England and three in Wales. It runs the oldest professional football league competition in the world. It also organises two knockout cup competitions, the EFL Cup and EFL Trophy. The Football League was founded in 1888 by Aston Villa director William McGregor, originally with twelve member clubs. Steady growth and the addition of more divisions meant that by 1950 the League had 92 clubs. Financial considerations led to a major shake-up in 1992, when in a step to maximise their revenue the leading members of the Football League broke away to form their own competition, the FA Premier League, which was renamed the Premier League in 2007.[6] The Football League therefore no longer includes the top twenty clubs who belong to this group, although promotion and relegation between the Football League and the Premier League continues. In total, 136 teams have played in the Football League[7] up to 2013 (including those in the Premier League, since clubs must pass through the Football League before reaching the former).



The EFL's 72 member clubs are grouped into three divisions: the EFL Championship, EFL League One, and EFL League Two (previously the Football League First Division, Football League Second Division and Football League Third Division respectively; they were renamed for sponsorship reasons). Each division has 24 clubs, and in any given season a club plays each of the others in the same division twice, once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponent's. This makes for a total of 46 games played each season.

Clubs gain three points for a win, one for a draw, and none for a defeat. At the end of the season, clubs at the top of their division may win promotion to the next higher division, while those at the bottom may be relegated to the next lower one. At the top end of the competition, three Championship clubs win promotion from the Football League to the Premier League, with the bottom three Premier League clubs taking their places. At the lower end, two League Two clubs lose their Football League status with relegation to the National division of the National League, while two teams from that division join League Two of The Football League in their stead.

Division Promoted directly Promoted via playoffs Relegated
EFL Championship Top two clubs One from 3rd to 6th-place finishers Bottom three clubs
EFL League One Top two clubs One from 3rd to 6th-place finishers Bottom four clubs
EFL League Two Top three clubs One from 4th to 7th-place finishers Bottom two clubs

The final league positions determine both promotion and relegation. However, to keep up the enthusiasm for more clubs throughout the season, a playoff is held at the end of the season between four clubs to decide one promotion spot from each division. This means that it is possible for a team finishing sixth in the Championship or League One, or seventh in League Two to be promoted, instead of the clubs that finished directly above them in the standings.

Since the 2004–05 season, penalties have existed for clubs entering financial administration during the season. If a club enters administration before 31 March of any given season, they will immediately be deducted twelve points; entering administration from 1 April onward will see the points deduction either held over until the end of the season (if the club finishes outside the relegation places) or applied the following season (if the club was relegated anyway). Also, it is required that a club exiting administration agrees to a Creditor's Voluntary Agreement and pays in full any other footballing creditors. Failure to do either of these will result in a second, potentially unlimited (though in practice usually between fifteen and twenty) points deduction.

The other main situation in which is a club may lose points is by fielding an improperly registered or otherwise ineligible player. If a club is found to have done this, then any points earned from any match that player participated in will be deducted; the opposing club(s) do not earn any points from this, however.


The EFL organises two knock-out cup competitions: the EFL Cup (officially known as the Carabao Cup for sponsorship reasons) and the EFL Trophy (officially known as the Papa John's Trophy also for sponsorship reasons). The EFL Cup was established in 1960 and is open to all EFL and Premier League clubs, with the winner eligible to participate in the UEFA Europa Conference League. The EFL Trophy, established in 1983, is for clubs belonging to EFL League One and EFL League Two. The organisation celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1988 with a Centenary Tournament at Wembley between sixteen of its member clubs.


William McGregor, founder of The Football League

After four years of debate, the Football Association finally permitted professionalism on 20 July 1885. Before that date many clubs made payments to "professional" players to boost the competitiveness of their teams, breaking FA rules and arousing the contempt of those clubs abiding by the laws of the amateur Football Association code.[citation needed] As more and more clubs became professional the ad-hoc fixture list of FA Cup, inter-county, and ordinary matches was seen by many as an unreliable stream of revenue, and ways were considered of ensuring a consistent income.[8][9]

A Scottish director of Birmingham-based Aston Villa, William McGregor, was the first to set out to bring some order to a chaotic world where clubs arranged their own fixtures, along with various cup competitions.[8] On 22 March 1888, he wrote to the committee of his own club, Aston Villa, as well as to those of Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Preston North End, Stoke and West Bromwich Albion; suggesting the creation of a league competition that would provide a number of guaranteed fixtures for its member clubs each season. His idea might have been based upon a description of a proposal for an early American college football league, publicised in the English media in 1887 which stated: "measures would be taken to form a new football league ... [consisting of] a schedule containing two championship games between every two colleges composing the league".[10][11]

Preston North End FC, the first champions in 1888

The first meeting was held at Anderton's Hotel in London on 23 March 1888 on the eve of the FA Cup Final.[12] The Football League was formally created and named in Manchester at a further meeting on 17 April at the Royal Hotel.[12] The name "Association Football Union" was proposed by McGregor but this was felt too close to "Rugby Football Union". Instead, "The Football League" was proposed by Major William Sudell, representing Preston, and quickly agreed upon.[8] Although the Royal Hotel is long gone, the site is marked with a commemorative red plaque on the Royal Buildings in Market Street. The first season of the Football League began a few months later on 8 September with twelve member clubs from the Midlands and north of England: Accrington, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Burnley, Derby County, Everton, Notts County, Preston North End, Stoke (renamed Stoke City in 1926),[13] West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Each club played the others twice, once at home and once away, and two points were awarded for a win and one for a draw. This points system was not agreed upon until after the season had started; the alternative proposal was one point for a win only. Preston won the first league title without losing a game and completed the first league–cup double by also taking the FA Cup. Teams finishing at the bottom of the table were required to reapply for their position in the league for the following year in a process called "re-election".

In 1890, Stoke were not re-elected to the league and were replaced for the 1890–91 season by Sunderland, who won it in their second, third, and fifth year. Stoke were re-elected for the 1891–92 season, along with Darwen, to take the league to fourteen clubs.

Preston North End, Aston Villa, and Sunderland dominated the early years of the game. In the first ten seasons, the only other clubs to win (single) league titles were Everton and Sheffield United.

Addition of the Second DivisionEdit

The Aston Villa team in 1897, after winning both the FA Cup and the Football League.

A new Second Division was formed in 1892 with the absorption of the rival 12-club Football Alliance. Alliance clubs Nottingham Forest, The Wednesday (later renamed Sheffield Wednesday) and Newton Heath (later renamed Manchester United) were added to the new First Division, and Crewe Alexandra and Darwen were reallocated to the new Second, bringing the First Division total to sixteen clubs. With the addition of Northwich Victoria (from The Combination), Burslem Port Vale (later renamed Port Vale, from the Midland League) and Sheffield United (from the Northern League), the Second Division started with twelve clubs, as Alliance club Birmingham St George's disbanded at that point. The bottom clubs of the lower division were subsequently required to apply for re-election to the League at the end of each season.

Accrington were relegated from the First Division but chose to resign from the Football League rather than play in the Second Division. Bootle were dissolved because of financial problems. The Second Division increased to fifteen clubs for season 1893–94. Instead of three clubs expanding the division, five were added to make the number fifteen. The additional clubs were Liverpool from the Lancashire League, Middlesbrough Ironopolis and Newcastle United from the Northern League, Rotherham Town from the Midland League, and Woolwich Arsenal (later Arsenal), who became the first team from the South of England to compete.

For the following season 1894–95, the third season of the division, there was a net increase to sixteen with the addition of Bury from the Lancashire League, Leicester Fosse (later Leicester City) and Burton Wanderers (who later joined with existing Second Division club Burton Swifts to form Burton United) from the Midland League along with Lincoln City, while Northwich resigned and Middlesbrough Ironopolis disbanded.

Both Liverpool and Bury won the division at the first attempt.

In 1895 Loughborough replaced Walsall Town Swifts.[14] In 1896 Blackpool from the Lancashire League and Gainsborough Trinity from the Midland League replaced Burslem Port Vale and Crewe Alexandra.[15] In 1897 Luton Town from the United League replaced Burton Wanderers.[16]

Automatic promotion and relegation for two clubs were introduced in 1898 when the previous system of test matches between the bottom two clubs of the First Division and the top two clubs of the Second Division was brought into disrepute when Stoke and Burnley colluded in the final match to ensure they were both in the First Division the next season. At this point both divisions of the League expanded to eighteen, with the addition of Barnsley from the Midland and Yorkshire Leagues, Burslem Port Vale, Glossop from the Midland League, and New Brighton Tower from the Lancashire League to the Second Division.[17]

Early 20th centuryEdit

After a few years, other northern clubs began to catch up, with the likes of Newcastle United and Manchester United having success. From 1900, Aston Villa (1899–1900, 1909–10), Liverpool (1900–01, 1905–06), Sunderland (1901–02, 1912–13), The Wednesday (1902–03, 1903–04), Newcastle United (1904–05, 1908–09), Manchester United (1907–08, 1910–11) and Blackburn Rovers (1911–12, 1913–14) all won two titles prior to the outbreak of the First World War, while Everton added a second title to their much earlier success in the last season, 1914–15.

It was not until the early years of the 20th century, and the expansion of both Leagues to 20 clubs (in 1905), that further southern clubs such as Chelsea and Clapton Orient (later Leyton Orient) (1905), Fulham (1907) and Tottenham Hotspur (1908) established themselves in the League. There would be a further wait until 1931 before a southern club, Arsenal would win the League for the first time.

Unlike in most other Leagues in Europe, no single English club managed to remain ever-present in the division during the 104 years of its existence as the top division in the country. Everton comes closest, missing just four seasons through relegation, and remains one of only three clubs in England to have played over 100 top-flight seasons, along with Aston Villa and Arsenal. Arsenal are also the longest serving member of the top division, present since 1919.

Post-First World WarEdit

The League was suspended for four seasons during the First World War and resumed in 1919 with the First and Second Divisions expanded to 22 clubs. On resumption West Bromwich Albion (1919–20) and Burnley (1920–21), both original twelve clubs, won their first-ever titles (in Albion's case their only title to date).

In 1920, leading clubs from the Southern League joined the League to form a new Third Division, which in 1921 was renamed the Third Division South upon the further addition of more clubs in a new Third Division North. One club from each of these divisions would gain promotion to the Second Division, with the two relegated clubs being assigned to the more appropriate Third Division. To accommodate potential difficulties in this arrangement, clubs in the Midlands such as Mansfield Town or Walsall would sometimes be moved from one-Third Division to the other.

Following this burst of post-war growth, the League entered a prolonged period of relative stability with few changes in the membership, although there were changes on the pitch. In 1925, a new offside law reduced the number of defending opponents between the attacking player and the goal from three to two, leading to a large increase in goals, and numbers on shirts were introduced in 1939.

Between 1923 and 1926, Huddersfield Town were the first team to win three consecutive league titles (and never won another one, though they finished as runners-up for the following two years). This was equalled by Arsenal between 1932 and 1935, during a period from 1930 to 1938 in which they won five titles out of eight.

Manchester City (1936–37) became the only other club to be added to the list of Football League winners prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, the fourteenth club to achieve the feat since 1888–89.

In the 1938–39 season Everton won the title for the fifth time but suffered the same fate as in 1915, being champions when football was suspended due to the World War.

Post-Second World WarEdit

The League was suspended once more in 1939 with the outbreak of the Second World War, this time for seven seasons. The Third Divisions were expanded to 24 clubs each in 1950, bringing the total number of League clubs to 92, and in 1958 the decision was made to end the regionalisation of the Third Divisions and reorganise the clubs into a new nationwide Third Division and Fourth Division. To accomplish this, the clubs in the top half of both the Third Division North and South joined together to form the new Third Division, and those in the bottom half made up the Fourth Division. An earlier suggestion that the Third Division South should become the Third Division and the Third Division North become the Fourth Division on the basis of better attendances and that they tended to fare better when promoted was rejected.[18] Four clubs were promoted and relegated between these two lower divisions, while two clubs exchanged places in the upper divisions until 1974 when the number increased to three.

Clubs to win their first League titles in the quarter-century following the Second World War were Portsmouth (1948–49 and 1949–50), Tottenham Hotspur (1950–51 and 1960–61), founder members of the League Wolverhampton Wanderers (1953–54, 1957–58 and 1958–59), Chelsea (1954–55), Ipswich Town (1961–62) and Leeds United (1968–69).

Tottenham Hotspur became the first club in the 20th century to win the League and FA Cup "double" in 1960–61, a season after Wolverhampton Wanderers had come within a whisker of achieving the feat themselves (Wolves won the 1959–60 FA Cup and were runners-up to Burnley in the League by a single point).

Post-Second World War changes in league football included the use of white balls in 1951 and the first floodlight game (played between Portsmouth and Newcastle United) in 1956, opening up the possibility of midweek evening matches.

By far the biggest change for league clubs during this era was a new cup competition open to all the members of the League, the Football League Cup. The League Cup was held for the first time in 1960–61 to provide clubs with a new source of income with Aston Villa winning that inaugural year. Despite an initial lack of enthusiasm on the part of some other big clubs, the competition became firmly established in the footballing calendar. It was not until the dawn of the 1970s, though, that all 92 Football League clubs regularly participated in the competition season after season.

Substitutes (one per team per match) were first allowed for injured players in 1965 and for any reason the following year.


The first ever League game to be held on a Sunday took place on 20 January 1974 (11:30 kick-off) and was played between Second Division rivals Millwall and Fulham at The Den. Millwall won 1–0. The first ever Sunday top-flight game was between Chelsea and Stoke a week later.[19]

Beginning with the 1976–77 season, the clubs finishing level on points began to be separated according to goal difference (the difference between goals scored and goals conceded) rather than goal average (goals scored divided by goals conceded). This was an effort to prevent unduly defensive play encouraged by the greater advantage in limiting goals allowed. In the event that clubs had equal points and equal goal differences, priority was given to the club that had scored the most goals. There has been only one season, 1988–89, when this level of differentiation was necessary to determine the League champion, and this was the occasion of one of the most dramatic nights in League history, when Arsenal beat Liverpool 2–0 at Anfield in the last game of the season to win the League on this tiebreaker – by a single Michael Thomas goal in the final minute of the final game of the season. Both teams would finish with the same amount of goal difference, but Arsenal had scored more goals during the season.

Two clubs won their first League titles during the 1970s: founder members of the League Derby County (1971–72 and 1974–75) and Nottingham Forest (1977–78), both clubs managed by Brian Clough and Peter Taylor. Nottingham Forest's title in 1977–78 turned out to be the last occasion that a first-time champion won the First Division title during The Football League era, before the First Division clubs formed the Premier League in 1992. The next first-time League champion club would be Leicester City in the 2015–16 season, the first such during the Premier League era.


Another important change was made in 1981, when it was decided to award three points for a win instead of two, a further effort to increase attacking football. (This scoring rule was not added by FIFA to the World Cups until the 1994 cup after the perceived dominance of defensive play at Italia 90).

The early 1980s also saw a significant decline in league attendances as a result of the recession and the ongoing problem of hooliganism. This did no favours for the financial position and league standing of numerous clubs, and several – including Wolverhampton Wanderers, Swansea City and Middlesbrough – were almost forced out of business as a result. The fortunes of the First Division clubs suffered a fresh blow in 1985 when all English clubs were banned from European competitions as a result of the Heysel disaster, where crowd trouble involving Liverpool fans at the European Cup final in Belgium resulted in 39 spectator deaths during a crush in a Juventus fan section. The loss of life occurred when a surge in the crowd (moving away from clashes between rival supporters) caused a wall to collapse. Inadequate segregation, stewarding and policing as well the generally poor condition of the ageing stadium were attributed as contributory factors.

In a similar vein, playoffs to determine promotion places were introduced for the 1986–87 season so that more clubs remained eligible for promotion closer to the end of the season, and at the same time to aid in the reduction over two years of the number of clubs in the First Division from 22 to 20. For the first two seasons, the playoffs were contested between the lowest placed team to avoid automatic relegation and three highest-placed teams to miss out on automatic promotion in the division below before it was altered from the 1988–89 season to include just the four clubs who had missed out on automatic promotion in the Second, Third and Fourth Divisions. 1986–87 was the first season of the decade where Football League attendances increased, helped by improved economic conditions and falling unemployment nationally.

At the same time, automatic promotion and relegation between the Fourth Division and the Football Conference were introduced for one club, replacing the annual application for re-election to the League of the bottom four clubs and linking the League to the developing National League System pyramid.

Emblematic of the confusion that was beginning to envelop the game, the number of clubs at the top of the league would return to 22 for the 1991–92 season, which increased competitiveness in the 1990–91 season as four teams would be promoted from the Second and Third Divisions instead of the normal three (with the seventh-place being the minimum position for the playoffs), while in the Fourth Division an unprecedented five promotion places were up for grabs, with the eighth-place being high enough for the playoffs. The end of the ban on English clubs in Europe also helped boost interest in English football. However, the economy was now in another recession and added to that the clubs in the top two English divisions were faced with the requirement of having all-seater stadiums by 1994–95 to comply with the Taylor Report that followed the death of 97 Liverpool fans as a result of the Hillsborough disaster in April 1989.

The League also expanded to 93 clubs for the 1991–92 season and planned to raise the number again to 94 clubs for 1992–93, but after Aldershot and Maidstone United both went out of business within a few months of each other in mid-1992, this plan was abandoned. The issues creating the uncertainty in the game all centered on money.

The increasing influence of money in English football was evident with such events as the first £1m transfer in the game, that of Trevor Francis from Birmingham City to Nottingham Forest in February 1979. The first £2million player transferred between English clubs was Tony Cottee, who moved from West Ham United to Everton in July 1988 – although several players had already been sold by English clubs to foreign clubs for even higher fees.

Before the formation of the FA Premier League, the highest transfer fee paid was £2.9million for the transfer of Dean Saunders from Derby County to Liverpool during the 1991 close season. The first £3million player was Alan Shearer, who moved from Southampton to Blackburn Rovers in July 1992, the summer before the first Premier League season. At the close of the 1991 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.[20] 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. The argument given at the time was that the extra income would allow English clubs to compete with teams across Europe.[21]

1992: Foundation of the Premier LeagueEdit

During the 1991–92 season, the First Division clubs resigned from the Football League en masse and on 20 February 1992, the Premier League was formed as a limited company working out of an office at the Football Association's then headquarters in Lancaster Gate.[22] 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 1991–92 season had ended with 92 clubs in the Football League, with the 93rd club, Aldershot, having been declared bankrupt and forced to resign from the Fourth Division a few weeks before the end of the season. Colchester United, the Football Conference champions, were promoted to the new Division Three as the 71st members of the reorganised Football League. However, this number would soon drop to 70 due to the closure of Maidstone United at the beginning of the 1992–93 season, and the Football League abandoned its expansion plan. This meant that there would once again be 92 clubs in the highest four divisions of English football.

1992–2004: Three divisionsEdit

There were few major changes to the structure Football League in the 12 seasons which followed the breakaway that created the FA Premier League, perhaps the only notable changes being an expansion to 72 clubs from 70 for the 1995–96 season after the Premier League was streamlined to 20 clubs from 22, and the introduction of a second relegation place to the Football Conference from the end of the 2002–03 season.

However, following the formation of the Premier League, it became increasingly difficult for newly promoted clubs to establish themselves in the top flight. Whereas newly promoted teams had once normally survived for at least a few seasons in the old First Division, it was now the norm for at least one newly promoted club to be relegated straight back from the Premier League to Division One. In the nine seasons that followed the formation of the Premier League, at least one newly promoted club suffered this fate – and in the 1997–98 season, it happened to all three newly promoted teams. There were exceptions, however; including Blackburn Rovers, who were promoted to the Premier League on its formation and were champions three years later, and Newcastle United, who were promoted in 1993 and finished in the top six for the next four seasons, finishing Premier League runners-up twice.

The trend of relegated clubs to win an instant promotion back to the top flight continued, however. In the 12 seasons following the formation of the Premier League, there were just three seasons where none of the newly relegated sides failed to win an instant return to the Premier League.

The widening gulf between the top two divisions of English football can largely be put down to the increased wealth of the Premier League clubs, and the wealth gained by these clubs – combined with parachute payments following relegation – has also made it easier for many of them to quickly win promotion back to the top flight.

In spite of the economic prosperity between 1992 and 2004, many Football League clubs did run into financial problems during this time, although none of them were forced out of business. These include Oxford United, Luton Town, Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest, Portsmouth, Bradford City and Leicester City. Some of these clubs were faced with financial problems as a result of the lost revenue resulting from Premier League relegation and a failure to return to this level, as well as the collapse of ITV Digital in 2002.[23]

Just after the end of the 2001–02 season, South London based Wimbledon were given permission to move to Milton Keynes, some 70 miles from their traditional home. A relocation on this scale was unprecedented in English football and led to the majority of the club's fans switching their support to a new fan-formed club, AFC Wimbledon, who joined the Combined Counties League. The club's move to Milton Keynes was completed in September 2003, when they became tenants of the National Hockey Stadium until a new permanent home was completed four years later, and the club's name changed to Milton Keynes Dons in June 2004.

2004 Football League rebrandingEdit

2004–05 was the first season to feature the rebranded Football League. The First Division, Second Division and Third Division were renamed the Football League Championship, Football League One, and Football League Two respectively. Coca-Cola replaced the Nationwide Building Society as title sponsor.

The Football League's collection of historic materials is held by the National Football Museum.

2016 rebrandingEdit

On 12 November 2015, The Football League announced that it would be officially renamed the English Football League, with the abbreviation EFL to be emphasised, effective from the beginning of the 2016–17 season. The rebranding would include a new logo consisting of a circle composed of three swathes of 24 smaller circles each. The three swathes are to represent the three divisions and the 24 circles in each swathe (making a total of 72 circles) represent the 72 clubs in the league system. Each club is to be presented with its own bespoke version of the logo. Football League Chief Executive Shaun Harvey said:[24]

The new EFL name rightly emphasises the central role our clubs play at the heart of English professional football. In an increasingly challenging global sports market, it is absolutely essential that sports properties can project a modern identity that not only resonates with their regular audience but is also easily recognizable to a broader audience of potential fans, viewers, and commercial partners. We believe the EFL name and brand will give our competitions an identity that is new and distinct, while at the same time retaining our unique heritage. As such, it will be something that all fans can identify with – whether they be young or old, at home or abroad.

2019 review of EFL financial regulationsEdit

The EFL expulsion of Bury and the threatened expulsion of Bolton Wanderers after both League One clubs became insolvent during the summer of 2019 prompted the EFL to commission an independent review of its regulations concerning the financial sustainability of member clubs.[25]

Project Big PictureEdit

"Project Big Picture" was a plan announced in October 2020 to reunite the top Premier League clubs with the EFL, proposed by leading Premier League clubs Manchester United and Liverpool.[26] The plan was criticised by the Premier League leadership and the UK government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.[27] The Premier League rejected the proposal a few days later.[28]


Current member clubsEdit

Below are listed the member clubs of the English Football League. Since 1888 in total there have been 144 Football League members. Originally the bottom club(s) of the bottom division(s) had to apply for re-election each year, which was voted by all the other members. Walsall holds the record for the most reapplications for the Football League. Former Football League clubs include all 20 of the current members of the Premier League along with various relegated, removed or defunct clubs.

Accrington Stanley
AFC Wimbledon
Bradford City
Colchester United
Crawley Town
Crewe Alexandra
Doncaster Rovers
Forest Green Rovers
Grimsby Town
Harrogate Town
Mansfield Town
Milton Keynes Dons
Newport County
Notts County
Salford City
Stockport County
Sutton United
Swindon Town
Tranmere Rovers
Bolton Wanderers
Bristol Rovers
Burton Albion
Cambridge United
Carlisle United
Charlton Athletic
Cheltenham Town
Derby County
Exeter City
Fleetwood Town
Leyton Orient
Lincoln City
Northampton Town
Oxford United
Peterborough United
Port Vale
Shrewsbury Town
Wigan Athletic
Wycombe Wanderers
Birmingham City
Bristol City
Blackburn Rovers
Cardiff City
Coventry City
Huddersfield Town
Hull City
Ipswich Town
Leeds United
Leicester City
Norwich City
Plymouth Argyle
Preston North End
Queens Park Rangers
Rotherham United
Sheffield Wednesday
Stoke City
Swansea City
West Bromwich Albion
Locations of the Football League clubs by division
  – Championship   – League One   – League Two


League OneEdit

League TwoEdit

Past League winnersEdit

NB: League and FA Cup double winners are highlighted in bold.


When the Football League was first established, all 12 clubs played in just one division.

No. Season Champions
1 1888–89 Preston North End
2 1889–90 Preston North End
3 1890–91 Everton
4 1891–92 Sunderland


In 1892 the Football League absorbed 11 of the 12 clubs in the rival Football Alliance after it folded, meaning the League now had enough clubs to form another division. The existing division was renamed the First Division and the new division was named the Second Division, which comprised most of the Football Alliance's clubs.

No. Season First Division champions Second Division champions
5 1892–93 Sunderland Birmingham
6 1893–94 Aston Villa Liverpool
7 1894–95 Sunderland Bury
8 1895–96 Aston Villa Liverpool
9 1896–97 Aston Villa Notts County
10 1897–98 Sheffield United Burnley
11 1898–99 Aston Villa Manchester City
12 1899–1900 Aston Villa The Wednesday
13 1900–01 Liverpool Grimsby Town
14 1901–02 Sunderland West Bromwich Albion
15 1902–03 The Wednesday Manchester City
16 1903–04 The Wednesday Preston North End
17 1904–05 Newcastle United Liverpool
18 1905–06 Liverpool Bristol City
19 1906–07 Newcastle United Nottingham Forest
20 1907–08 Manchester United Bradford City
21 1908–09 Newcastle United Bolton Wanderers
22 1909–10 Aston Villa Manchester City
23 1910–11 Manchester United West Bromwich Albion
24 1911–12 Blackburn Rovers Derby County
25 1912–13 Sunderland Preston North End
26 1913–14 Blackburn Rovers Notts County
27 1914–15 Everton Derby County
1915–19 League suspended due to World War I
28 1919–20 West Bromwich Albion Tottenham Hotspur


In 1920 the Football League admitted the clubs from the first division of the Southern League (the Southern League continued with its remaining clubs) and Grimsby Town, who had failed to be re-elected to the Second Division the season before and been replaced by Cardiff City (of the Southern League). The clubs were placed in the new Third Division:

No. Season First Division champions Second Division champions Third Division champions
29 1920–21 Burnley Birmingham Crystal Palace


After just one season under the old format, the League expanded again. This time it admitted a number of clubs from the north of England to balance things out, as the last expansion brought mainly clubs from the south. The existing Third Division was renamed the Third Division South, and the new division was named the Third Division North. Grimsby Town transferred to the new northern division. Both divisions ran in parallel, with clubs from both Third Divisions being promoted to the national Second Division at the end of each season:

No. Season First Division champions Second Division champions Third Division (North) champions Third Division (South) champions
30 1921–22 Liverpool Nottingham Forest Stockport County Southampton
31 1922–23 Liverpool Notts County Nelson Bristol City
32 1923–24 Huddersfield Town Leeds United Wolverhampton Wanderers Portsmouth
33 1924–25 Huddersfield Town Leicester City Darlington Swansea Town
34 1925–26 Huddersfield Town The Wednesday Grimsby Town Reading
35 1926–27 Newcastle United Middlesbrough Stoke City Bristol City
36 1927–28 Everton Manchester City Bradford Park Avenue Millwall
37 1928–29 The Wednesday Middlesbrough Bradford City Charlton Athletic
38 1929–30 Sheffield Wednesday Blackpool Port Vale Plymouth Argyle
39 1930–31 Arsenal Everton Chesterfield Notts County
40 1931–32 Everton Wolverhampton Wanderers Lincoln City Fulham
41 1932–33 Arsenal Stoke City Hull City Brentford
42 1933–34 Arsenal Grimsby Town Barnsley Norwich City
43 1934–35 Arsenal Brentford Doncaster Rovers Charlton Athletic
44 1935–36 Sunderland Manchester United Chesterfield Coventry City
45 1936–37 Manchester City Leicester City Stockport County Luton Town
46 1937–38 Arsenal Aston Villa Tranmere Rovers Millwall
47 1938–39 Everton Blackburn Rovers Barnsley Newport County
48 1939–40 League aborted due to World War II
1940–46 League suspended due to World War II
49 1946–47 Liverpool Manchester City Doncaster Rovers Cardiff City
50 1947–48 Arsenal Birmingham City Lincoln City Queens Park Rangers
51 1948–49 Portsmouth Fulham Hull City Swansea Town
52 1949–50 Portsmouth Tottenham Hotspur Doncaster Rovers Notts County
53 1950–51 Tottenham Hotspur Preston North End Rotherham United Nottingham Forest
54 1951–52 Manchester United Sheffield Wednesday Lincoln City Plymouth Argyle
55 1952–53 Arsenal Sheffield United Oldham Athletic Bristol Rovers
56 1953–54 Wolverhampton Wanderers Leicester City Port Vale Ipswich Town
57 1954–55 Chelsea Birmingham City Barnsley Bristol City
58 1955–56 Manchester United Sheffield Wednesday Grimsby Town Leyton Orient
59 1956–57 Manchester United Leicester City Derby County Ipswich Town
60 1957–58 Wolverhampton Wanderers West Ham United Scunthorpe United Brighton & Hove Albion


For the beginning of the 1958–59 season, national Third and Fourth Divisions were introduced to replace the regional Third Division North and Third Division South:

No. Season First Division champions Second Division champions Third Division champions Fourth Division champions
61 1958–59 Wolverhampton Wanderers Sheffield Wednesday Plymouth Argyle Port Vale
62 1959–60 Burnley Aston Villa Southampton Walsall
63 1960–61 Tottenham Hotspur Ipswich Town Bury Peterborough United
64 1961–62 Ipswich Town Liverpool Portsmouth Millwall
65 1962–63 Everton Stoke City Northampton Town Brentford
66 1963–64 Liverpool Leeds United Coventry City Gillingham
67 1964–65 Manchester United Newcastle United Carlisle United Brighton & Hove Albion
68 1965–66 Liverpool Manchester City Hull City Doncaster Rovers
69 1966–67 Manchester United Coventry City Queens Park Rangers Stockport County
70 1967–68 Manchester City Ipswich Town Oxford United Luton Town
71 1968–69 Leeds United Derby County Watford Doncaster Rovers
72 1969–70 Everton Huddersfield Town Leyton Orient Chesterfield
73 1970–71 Arsenal Leicester City Preston North End Notts County
74 1971–72 Derby County Norwich City Aston Villa Grimsby Town
75 1972–73 Liverpool Burnley Bolton Wanderers Southport
76 1973–74 Leeds United Middlesbrough Oldham Athletic Peterborough United
77 1974–75 Derby County Manchester United Blackburn Rovers Mansfield Town
78 1975–76 Liverpool Sunderland Hereford United Lincoln City
79 1976–77 Liverpool Wolverhampton Wanderers Mansfield Town Cambridge United
80 1977–78 Nottingham Forest Bolton Wanderers Wrexham Watford
81 1978–79 Liverpool Crystal Palace Shrewsbury Town Reading
82 1979–80 Liverpool Leicester City Grimsby Town Huddersfield Town
83 1980–81 Aston Villa West Ham United Rotherham United Southend United
84 1981–82 Liverpool Luton Town Burnley Sheffield United
85 1982–83 Liverpool Queens Park Rangers Portsmouth Wimbledon
86 1983–84 Liverpool Chelsea Oxford United York City
87 1984–85 Everton Oxford United Bradford City Chesterfield
88 1985–86 Liverpool Norwich City Reading Swindon Town
89 1986–87 Everton Derby County AFC Bournemouth Northampton Town
90 1987–88 Liverpool Millwall Sunderland Wolverhampton Wanderers
91 1988–89 Arsenal Chelsea Wolverhampton Wanderers Rotherham United
92 1989–90 Liverpool Leeds United Bristol Rovers Exeter City
93 1990–91 Arsenal Oldham Athletic Cambridge United Darlington
94 1991–92 Leeds United Ipswich Town Brentford Burnley


Following the breakaway of the 22 clubs in the First Division to form the FA Premier League, the Football League no longer included the top division in England, and the Football League champions were no longer the national champions of England. Therefore, the Second Division became the First Division, the Third Division became the Second Division and the Fourth Division became the Third Division.

No. Season First Division champions Second Division champions Third Division champions
95 1992–93 Newcastle United Stoke City Cardiff City
96 1993–94 Crystal Palace Reading Shrewsbury Town
97 1994–95 Middlesbrough Birmingham City Carlisle United
98 1995–96 Sunderland Swindon Town Preston North End
99 1996–97 Bolton Wanderers Bury Wigan Athletic
100 1997–98 Nottingham Forest Watford Notts County
101 1998–99 Sunderland Fulham Brentford
102 1999–2000 Charlton Athletic Preston North End Swansea City
103 2000–01 Fulham Millwall Brighton & Hove Albion
104 2001–02 Manchester City Brighton & Hove Albion Plymouth Argyle
105 2002–03 Portsmouth Wigan Athletic Rushden & Diamonds
106 2003–04 Norwich City Plymouth Argyle Doncaster Rovers


In 2004, the Football League renamed its divisions: the First Division became the Football League Championship, the Second Division became Football League One and the Third Division became Football League Two.

No. Season Championship champions League One champions League Two champions
107 2004–05 Sunderland Luton Town Yeovil Town
108 2005–06 Reading Southend United Carlisle United
109 2006–07 Sunderland Scunthorpe United Walsall
110 2007–08 West Bromwich Albion Swansea City Milton Keynes Dons
111 2008–09 Wolverhampton Wanderers Leicester City Brentford
112 2009–10 Newcastle United Norwich City Notts County
113 2010–11 Queens Park Rangers Brighton & Hove Albion Chesterfield
114 2011–12 Reading Charlton Athletic Swindon Town
115 2012–13 Cardiff City Doncaster Rovers Gillingham
116 2013–14 Leicester City Wolverhampton Wanderers Chesterfield
117 2014–15 AFC Bournemouth Bristol City Burton Albion
118 2015–16 Burnley Wigan Athletic Northampton Town
119 2016–17 Newcastle United Sheffield United Portsmouth
120 2017–18 Wolverhampton Wanderers Wigan Athletic Accrington Stanley
121 2018–19 Norwich City Luton Town Lincoln City
122 2019–20 Leeds United Coventry City Swindon Town
123 2020–21 Norwich City Hull City Cheltenham Town
124 2021–22 Fulham Wigan Athletic Forest Green Rovers
125 2022–23 Burnley Plymouth Argyle Leyton Orient

At the end of the 2005–06 season, Reading finished with a record 106 points, beating the previous record of 105 held by Sunderland.

Titles by clubEdit

Due to the breakaway of the Premier League in 1992, winning the Football League title no longer makes a team the top tier champions of English football.

Club National Crowns Football League titles
Premier League titles
Football League titles
Total Football League titles
Manchester United 20 7 13 0 7
Liverpool 19 18 1 0 18
Arsenal 13 10 3 0 10
Everton 9 9 0 0 9
Manchester City 9 2 7 1 3
Aston Villa 7 7 0 0 7
Sunderland 6 6 0 4 10
Chelsea 6 1 5 0 1
Newcastle United 4 4 0 3 7
Sheffield Wednesday 4 4 0 0 4
Wolverhampton Wanderers 3 3 0 2 5
Huddersfield Town 3 3 0 0 3
Leeds United 3 3 0 1 4
Blackburn Rovers 3 2 1 0 2
Burnley 2 2 0 2 4
Portsmouth 2 2 0 1 3
Derby County 2 2 0 0 2
Preston North End 2 2 0 0 2
Tottenham Hotspur 2 2 0 0 2
Leicester City 1 0 1 1 1
Nottingham Forest 1 1 0 1 2
West Bromwich Albion 1 1 0 1 2
Ipswich Town 1 1 0 0 1
Sheffield United 1 1 0 0 1
Norwich City 0 0 0 3 3
Fulham 0 0 0 2 2
Reading 0 0 0 2 2
AFC Bournemouth 0 0 0 1 1
Bolton Wanderers 0 0 0 1 1
Cardiff City 0 0 0 1 1
Charlton Athletic 0 0 0 1 1
Crystal Palace 0 0 0 1 1
Middlesbrough 0 0 0 1 1
Queens Park Rangers 0 0 0 1 1

Football League titlesEdit

Includes Premier League titles.

Team First tier Second tier Third tier Fourth tier Total Titles
Manchester United 20 2 22
Liverpool 19 4 23
Arsenal 13 13
Manchester City 9 7 16
Everton 9 1 10
Aston Villa 7 2 1 10
Sunderland 6 5 1 12
Chelsea 6 2 8
Sheffield Wednesday 4 5 9
Newcastle United 4 4 8
Wolverhampton Wanderers 3 4 3 1 11
Leeds United 3 4 7
Blackburn Rovers 3 1 1 5
Huddersfield Town 3 1 1 5
Burnley 2 4 1 1 8
Derby County 2 4 1 7
Preston North End 2 3 2 1 8
Tottenham Hotspur 2 2 4
Portsmouth 2 1 3 1 7
Leicester City 1 7 1 9
Ipswich Town 1 3 2 6
Nottingham Forest 1 3 1 5
West Bromwich Albion 1 3 4
Sheffield United 1 1 1 1 4
Norwich City 5 2 7
Birmingham City 5 1 6
Middlesbrough 4 4
Notts County 3 2 3 8
Fulham 3 2 5
Bolton Wanderers 3 1 4
Grimsby Town 2 3 1 6
Reading 2 3 1 6
Queens Park Rangers 2 2 4
Stoke City 2 2 4
Crystal Palace 2 1 3
West Ham United 2 2
Bristol City 1 5 6
Millwall 1 3 1 5
Charlton Athletic 1 3 4
Coventry City 1 3 4
Brentford 1 2 3 6
Luton Town 1 2 1 4
Bradford City 1 2 3
Bury 1 2 3
Oldham Athletic 1 2 3
Oxford United 1 2 3
Cardiff City 1 1 1 3
AFC Bournemouth 1 1 2
Blackpool 1 1
Plymouth Argyle 5 1 6
Doncaster Rovers 4 3 7
Wigan Athletic 4 1 5
Hull City 4 4
Brighton & Hove Albion 3 2 5
Lincoln City 3 2 5
Barnsley 3 3
Chesterfield 2 4 6
Leyton Orient 2 1 3
Port Vale 2 1 3
Rotherham United 2 1 3
Stockport County 2 1 3
Swansea City 2 1 3
Watford 2 1 3
Bristol Rovers 2 2
Southampton 2 2
Swindon Town 1 3 4
Carlisle United 1 2 3
Northampton Town 1 2 3
Darlington 1 1 2
Cambridge United 1 1 2
Mansfield Town 1 1 2
Shrewsbury Town 1 1 2
Southend United 1 1 2
Bradford Park Avenue 1 1
Hereford United 1 1
Nelson 1 1
Newport County 1 1
Scunthorpe United 1 1
Tranmere Rovers 1 1
Wrexham 1 1
Gillingham 2 2
Peterborough United 2 2
Walsall 2 2
Accrington Stanley 1 1
Burton Albion 1 1
Cheltenham Town 1 1
Forest Green Rovers 1 1
Exeter City 1 1
Milton Keynes Dons 1 1
Rushden & Diamonds 1 1
Southport 1 1
Wimbledon 1 1
Yeovil Town 1 1
York City 1 1


Championship Play-off final, 2006. (Leeds United v. Watford, Millennium Stadium)

The Football League play-offs are used as a means of determining the final promotion place from each of the league's three divisions. This is a way of keeping the possibility of promotion open for more clubs towards the end of the season.

The format was first introduced in 1987, after the decision was made to reduce the top flight from 22 to 20 clubs over the next two seasons; initially, the play-offs involved the team finishing immediately above the relegation places in a given division and the three teams who finished immediately below the promotion places in the division below – essentially one team was fighting to keep their place in the higher division while the other three teams were attempting to take it from them. In 1989, this was changed—instead of teams from different divisions playing each other, the four teams below the automatic promotion places contested the play-offs. The first season of this arrangement saw the final being contested in home and away legs. The four teams play-off in two semi-finals and a final, with the team winning the final being promoted. Originally the semi-finals and the final were all two-legged home-and-away affairs, but from 1990 onwards the final is a one-off match. It is in this format that the play-offs continue today. A proposal to have six teams rather than four competing for the final place was defeated at the league's AGM in 2003.[29]

Play-off winnersEdit

Season Second Division Third Division Fourth Division
1986–87 Charlton Athletic Swindon Town Aldershot
1987–88 Middlesbrough Walsall Swansea City
1988–89 Crystal Palace Port Vale Leyton Orient
1989–90 Swindon Town1 Notts County Cambridge United
1990–91 Notts County Tranmere Rovers Torquay United
1991–92 Blackburn Rovers Peterborough United Blackpool
Season First Division Second Division Third Division
1992–93 Swindon Town West Bromwich Albion York City
1993–94 Leicester City Burnley Wycombe Wanderers
1994–95 Bolton Wanderers Huddersfield Town Chesterfield
1995–96 Leicester City Bradford City Plymouth Argyle
1996–97 Crystal Palace Crewe Alexandra Northampton Town
1997–98 Charlton Athletic Grimsby Town Colchester United
1998–99 Watford Manchester City Scunthorpe United
1999-00 Ipswich Town Gillingham Peterborough United
2000–01 Bolton Wanderers Walsall Blackpool
2001–02 Birmingham City Stoke City Cheltenham Town
2002–03 Wolverhampton Wanderers Cardiff City AFC Bournemouth
2003–04 Crystal Palace Brighton & Hove Albion Huddersfield Town
Season Championship League One League Two
2004–05 West Ham United Sheffield Wednesday Southend United
2005–06 Watford Barnsley Cheltenham Town
2006–07 Derby County Blackpool Bristol Rovers
2007–08 Hull City Doncaster Rovers Stockport County
2008–09 Burnley Scunthorpe United Gillingham
2009–10 Blackpool Millwall Dagenham & Redbridge
2010–11 Swansea City Peterborough United Stevenage
2011–12 West Ham United Huddersfield Town Crewe Alexandra
2012–13 Crystal Palace Yeovil Town Bradford City
2013–14 Queens Park Rangers Rotherham United Fleetwood Town
2014–15 Norwich City Preston North End Southend United
2015–16 Hull City Barnsley AFC Wimbledon
2016–17 Huddersfield Town Millwall Blackpool
2017–18 Fulham Rotherham United Coventry City
2018–19 Aston Villa Charlton Athletic Tranmere Rovers
2019–20 Fulham Wycombe Wanderers Northampton Town
2020–21 Brentford Blackpool Morecambe
2021–22 Nottingham Forest Sunderland Port Vale
2022–23 Luton Town Sheffield Wednesday Carlisle United
1: Due to financial irregularities, Swindon were prevented from taking their place in the First Division, which was awarded to the losing finalists, Sunderland.

League sponsorshipEdit

Since 1983 the League has accepted lucrative sponsorships for its main competition. Below is a list of sponsors and the League's name under their sponsorship:

Years Sponsor Name
1983–1986 Canon Canon League
1986–1987 Today newspaper Today League
1987–1993 Barclays Barclays LeagueA
1993–1996 Endsleigh Endsleigh League
1996–2004 Nationwide Nationwide Football League
2004–2010 Coca-Cola Coca-Cola Football League[30]
2010–2013 npower npower Football League[31]
2013–2016 Sky Bet Sky Bet Football League[32]
2016–Present Sky Bet EFL
  • A Upon the breakaway of the First Division in 1992 to form the Premier League, Barclays became a secondary sponsor in the newly formed top division, becoming the primary sponsor from 2001 until 2016.

After the formation of the Premier League the newly slimmed-down football League (70 clubs until 1995 and 72 clubs since) renamed its divisions to reflect the changes. The old Second Division became the new First Division, the Third Division became the Second Division, and the Fourth Division became the Third Division. The financial health of its clubs had become perhaps the highest League priority due to the limited resources available. However, there were some promising signs for the future, as the League planned to announce new initiatives beginning with the 2004–05 season, coinciding with the start of a new sponsorship agreement with Coca-Cola. The first of these changes was a rebranding of the League with the renaming of the First Division as The Championship, the Second Division as League One and the Third Division as League Two. The League's cup competitions have had different sponsors. The current sponsor Sky Bet commissioned a suite of trophies for the league from silversmith Thomas Lyte.[33]

Media rightsEdit

United Kingdom and IrelandEdit

Live matchesEdit

Matches broadcast in the United Kingdom and Ireland
Seasons Sky BBC Total
?–2009 ? ? ?
2009–2012 65 10 75
2012–2015 75 75
2015–2018 112 112
2019–2024 138 138

The other major source of revenue is television. The 1980s saw competition between terrestrial broadcasters for the rights to show League matches, but the arrival on the scene of satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting (Sky TV), eagerly searching for attractive programming[clarification needed] to build its customer base and willing to pay huge sums, changed the picture entirely. The League's top-tier clubs had been agitating for several years to be able to keep more of the League's revenue for themselves, threatening to break away and form their own league if necessary. In 1992 the threat was realised as the First Division clubs left to establish the FA Premier League and signed a contract for exclusive live coverage of their games with Sky TV. The FA Premier League agreed to maintain the promotion and relegation of three clubs with The Football League, but The League was now in a far weaker position – without its best clubs and without the clout to negotiate high-revenue TV deals. This problem was exacerbated with the collapse in 2002 of ITV Digital, holder of TV rights for The Football League, which cost League clubs millions of pounds in revenue.

In 2001 the league signed a £315 million deal with ITV Digital, but in March 2002 the broadcaster was put into administration by its parent companies when the league refused to accept a £130 million reduction in the deal. As a result, ITV Digital's parent companies Granada and Carlton both cut off the deal with the EFL and consequently, ITV Digital suffered the losses. In November 2007 the league announced a new domestic rights deal worth £264 million with Sky and the BBC for the three seasons from 2009 to 2012. It covers Football League, League Cup and Football League Trophy matches and the full range of media: terrestrial and pay television, broadband internet, video-on-demand and mobile services. The deal represents a 135% increase on the previous deal and works out at an average of over £1.2 million per club per season, though some clubs will receive more than others. Sky will provide the majority of the coverage and the BBC broadcast 10 exclusively live matches from the Championship per season and the semi-finals and finals of the League Cup.[34] In 2012, Sky Sports signed a new exclusive deal to broadcast all matches after the BBC pulled out of the deal owing the financial cuts that the BBC Sport department was going through. However the BBC signed a new deal to still broadcast The Football League Show highlights programme.

In May 2017, it was announced that Talksport had secured exclusive national radio rights to the English Football League.[35] It gave them the ability to broadcast up to up 110 EFL fixtures a season. Many Football League matches are also broadcast to local audiences via BBC Local Radio stations or by commercial stations.

On 18 September 2008, the Football League unveiled a new Coca-Cola Football League podcast, hosted by BBC Radio 5 Live's Mark Clemmit to be released every Thursday.[36] In the 2012–13 season the Podcast was renamed the npower football league show but still hosted by Mark Clemmit. Mark Clemmit continued to host the show as TradePoint came on board in the 2013–14 season to be the title sponsor of the newly re-branded 'Football League Radio'. The programme is now produced by digital production studio, Engage Sports Media.

In November 2018, Sky Sports announced new controversial 5-year deal with EFL. Starting since 2019/20 season,[37] Sky will show 138 league matches per season, with an option to increase the number of matches to 158 in the final two years of the agreement.[38]


Highlights programme Duration Broadcaster
Football League Extra 1994–95 to 2003–04 ITV
The Championship* 2004–05 to 2008–09
The Football League Show 2009–10 to 2014–15 BBC One
Football League Tonight** 2015–16 to 2017–18 Channel 5
EFL on Quest[39] 2018–19 to 2021–22 Quest
English Football League Highlights 2022– ITV4

*Between January 2008 to May 2008, the programme was renamed Championship Goals.

**The programme was split into two shows part way through the 2015/16 season, and renamed 'The Championship' for Championship highlights, and 'Goal Rush' for League One and League Two highlights.

International broadcastersEdit

Governance and managementEdit


The Football League Board meets monthly and consists of two independent directors, three directors representing the Championship, two representing League One, and one representing League Two. Current members are:

Senior managementEdit

  • Andy Williamson OBE – Chief Operating Officer

Former presidentsEdit


Coat of arms of English Football League
25 March 1974
On a grassy mount a football surmounted by a swift volant all proper.
Argent on a cross gules a lion passant guardant between two lions' faces in pale or.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
    League One, Two and select under 21 teams from Premier League and Championship clubs
  2. ^
    FA Cup or League Cup winners


  1. ^ Canon League, the Today League, the Barclays League, the Endsleigh League, the Nationwide Football League, the Coca-Cola Football League and the npower The Football League, SkyBet Football League
  2. ^ "Rebranded Football League changing its name to English Football League as EFL unveils new logo". The Daily Telegraph. London. 12 November 2015. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  3. ^ "Sky Bet to sponsor the Football League". 18 July 2013. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  4. ^ "Contact The Football League". English Football League. Archived from the original on 13 September 2018. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  5. ^ Gillatt, Peter (30 November 2007). Blackpool FC On This Day: History, Facts and Figures from Every Day of the Year. Pitch Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-1-905411-50-4.
  6. ^ "Premier League and Barclays Announce Competition Name Change" (PDF). Premier League. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2006.
  7. ^ Tony Brown (27 February 2013). "125 Years of The Football League in numbers". The Football League. Archived from the original on 11 September 2014. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  8. ^ a b c One letter, two meetings and 12 teams – the birth of league football, BBC News, Paul Fletcher, 26 February 2013
  9. ^ "The History of The Football League". The Football League. Archived from the original on 11 April 2008. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  10. ^ The New York Times, 27 March 1887
  11. ^ The Leeds Mercury Issue 15289, 9 April 1887.
  12. ^ a b Butler, Bryon (1998). 100 Seasons of League Football. England: Queen Anne Press. p. 392. ISBN 1-85291-595-1.
  13. ^ "SCFC History". The Oatcake. 19 July 2000. Archived from the original on 24 October 2005. Retrieved 8 April 2009.
  14. ^ "Football Club History Database – Football League 1894–95". fchd.info.
  15. ^ "Football Club History Database – Football League 1895–96". fchd.info.
  16. ^ "Football Club History Database – Football League 1896–97". fchd.info.
  17. ^ "Football Club History Database – Football League 1897–98". fchd.info.
  18. ^ Bowser, Paul (2019). Bootham Crescent: A Second Home – Part 1. Minsterman Books. p. 219. ISBN 978-1-9996907-0-0.
  19. ^ "20 January 1974: The first Sunday football". The Guardian. 23 January 2010. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  20. ^ "In the matter of an agreement between the Football Association Premier League Limited and the Football Association Limited and the Football League Limited and their respective member clubs". HM Courts Service. 2006. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 8 August 2006.
  21. ^ "A history of the Premier League". Premier League. Archived from the original on 18 November 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2008.
  22. ^ "A History of The Premier League". Premier League. Archived from the original on 18 November 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2007.
  23. ^ "ITV Digital goes broke". BBC. 27 March 2002. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  24. ^ "Football League to be re-named the English Football League". The Football League. 12 October 2015. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  25. ^ "Bury: EFL commissions independent review of regulations after club's demise". BBC Sport. BBC. 5 September 2019. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  26. ^ MacInnes, Paul; Hytner, David (11 October 2020). "Project Big Picture: leading clubs' plan to reshape game sparks anger". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 12 October 2020.
  27. ^ "'Project Big Picture' condemned by government as EFL chief launches defence of secret talks". The Independent. 11 October 2020. Retrieved 12 October 2020.
  28. ^ "Premier League clubs reject Project Big Picture proposal but agree bailout for League One and Two clubs". Sky Sports. 15 October 2020. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  29. ^ "Play-off plans shelved". BBC Sport. 5 June 2003. Retrieved 25 March 2009.
  30. ^ "Coca-Cola and the Football League Sign New Deal". The Coca-Cola Company. 12 March 2007. Archived from the original on 7 June 2009. Retrieved 26 May 2009.
  31. ^ "Football League names Npower as new sponsor". BBC News. 16 March 2010. Retrieved 13 September 2010.
  32. ^ "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.
  33. ^ "Football Business Awards 2015". Archived from the original on 18 November 2015.
  34. ^ Football League Agrees Historic Deal with Sky Sports and BBC Archived 15 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine, www.football-league.premiumtv.co.uk, 6 November 2007.
  35. ^ "EFL Official Website". English Football League.
  36. ^ "Podcast Top of the League". The Football League. Archived from the original on 6 December 2008. Retrieved 25 March 2009.
  37. ^ Sky Sports: EFL agrees new five-year television deal worth £595m with broadcaster
  38. ^ Sky Sports extends EFL contract until 2024, broadcasting 138 live games per season
  39. ^ "Quest becomes new home of EFL highlights". Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  40. ^ "ESPN+ Extends U.S. Media Rights to English Football League and the Carabao Cup". 9 August 2022.
  41. ^ T&C's on the Betfair Live Video website
  42. ^ [The FAQ on the Bet365 streaming website]
  43. ^ "EFL Official Website – International Broadcast Partners". www.efl.com. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  44. ^ Llewelyn Phillips, David (Spring 2015). "Badges and 'Crests': The Twentieth-Century Relationship Between Football and Heraldry" (PDF). The Coat of Arms. 11 (229). Retrieved 9 November 2022.

External linksEdit