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The EFL Championship is the second highest division of English football. It is just under the Premier League in the hierarchy of English league football, and teams that win the league, are runners up, or qualify for and win the playoffs at the end of a single season, will be promoted to play in the Premier League.


The Football League Second Division, the original second tier football division, was created in 1892. There was an original Football League that was launched in 1888 and a rival league called the Football Alliance, and these two leagues merged to create the First Division and Second Division.

In the first edition of the Second Division, there were 12 clubs in the league. These original members were Ardwick (which later became Manchester City), Bootle, Burton Swifts, Crewe Alexandra, Darwen, Grimsby Town, Lincoln City, Northwich Victoria, Port Vale, Sheffield United, Small Heath (which later became Birmingham City), and Walsall. In the first few years, clubs did not automatically achieve promotion if they won the league, but instead they qualified for a playoff against the teams that had finished at the bottom of the First Division.

In the first year, Small Heath won the league, but they did not win the playoffs and had to play in the Second Division in the following year too. In 1893, Liverpool, a team which had only been founded the year before, won the Second Division and achieved promotion to the First Division. Liverpool stayed in the First Division for one season before being relegated to the Second Division, where they won again in 1895. Incidentally, the runner up that year was Manchester City.

In 1898, the playoff structure for promotion was abolished, as Burnley and Stoke deliberately drew a playoff game 0-0 as that score could allow both teams to play in the First Division.

By that point, the Second Division had grown, and now 18 clubs played in the second tier league. Up until 1916, when the league was suspended due to the First World War, teams from all over the country won the Second Division. Manchester City and Liverpool both increased their tallies to 3 titles, whilst West Bromwich Albion, Preston North End, Notts County and Derby County all won the competition twice each. By 1919, the competition had expanded again and now 22 clubs played in the league. In 1921, a third division was created as well, with the same relegation and promotion structure as the one between the First Division and Second Division.

Between the wars, many new teams won the Second Division, including those teams that had fallen out of the First Division and those that came up through the Third Division. Everton, Nottingham Forest, Manchester United, Middlesbrough and Aston Villa were amongst the First Division teams that had been relegated and then won the Second Division to climb back into the top flight. The teams that came up through the Third Division and won or became runners up in the Second Division included Brentford, Charlton Athletic and Portsmouth.


After the Second World War, and up until 1992, many teams won the Second Division. Amongst them, Manchester City and Leicester City both won the most titles, with 6 each. Sheffield Wednesday won the Second Division 5 times, whilst Birmingham City, Derby County and Liverpool all won the competition four times each.

When the First Division was restructured and relaunched in 1992 as the Premier League, the Second Division was rebranded as the First Division. It was still the second highest division in the English league football hierarchy, but to distinguish the Premier League, the second division was renamed as the First Division. The Premier League also had its own commercial and broadcasting rights, independent of the leagues in the English Football League association, or EFL.

The winners of the inaugural First Division were Newcastle, who achieved promotion to the Premier League. In the years between 1992 and 2004, only Sunderland won the First Division twice, although Bolton Wanderers, Crystal Palace, Leicester City, Manchester City, Nottingham Forest, and Middlesbrough all achieved promotion multiple times.

From 2004, the division was renamed to the EFL Championship. In the first season, Sunderland won the league, and Wigan Athletic finished in second to achieve promotion to the top tier for the first time in their history. West Ham won the playoffs to become the third team to be promoted.

Since the rebranding, teams such as Wolverhampton Wanderers, Newcastle United, Leicester City, and Leeds, have all won the Second Division and managed to stay in the Premier League. There are teams such as Norwich City, Watford, Bournemouth and Fulham who have all achieved promotion but have fallen back into the EFL Championship.

Season Structure

24 teams play in the EFL Championship, with the season starting in August and finishing in the following May. The top two teams at the end of the season are promoted to the Premier League, whilst the teams that finish in the 4th to 6th places proceed to the playoffs. Here, the team that finished in third plays against the team that finished in sixth, and the team that finished in fifth plays against the team that finished in fourth. The winners of the first round then play each other in a final match, which is always played at Wembley Stadium. The winner of the final joins the league’s winner and runner up in promotion to the Premier League.

The three teams that finish at the bottom of the table are relegated to the EFL League One, the third division of English league football.

Fun Facts

In the first season of the EFL Championship, the league had a higher total attendance than Italy's Serie A and France's Ligue 1. It had the fourth largest attendance behind the Premier League, La Liga and the Bundesliga.

George Camsell set a record when he scored 59 goals in 37 games in the 1926/27 season.

Many of the top players in the Premier League spent some time on loan in the EFL Championship or started their careers in the EFL Championship. Players such as David Beckham, Gareth Bale, Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, and many more, all spent some time either playing as a loaned player or a regular in an EFL club.

Popular Bets

Match Result

Match result bets are simply bets on whether the home team will win the match, the away team will win the match, or whether the match will end in a draw.


In some cases, punters may choose to use handicaps when betting on a team to win. These can be either positive or negative, and at the end of the game, the handicap will be added or subtracted from the team’s score. A team will have to overcome a negative handicap and win the game for the bet to pay out. If a positive handicap is set, the bet can still win if the team chosen loses the game, as long as the handicap covers the margin by which the team lost. For example, if a handicap or +2.5 was set on Fulham, but they lost the game 2-1, the bet would still win as the adjusted score would be 2-3.5.

Total Goals

This bet relates to how many goals there will be in a game. Punters can pick one of several betting lines and bet on whether the game will end with over or under that number of goals. These lines will offer punters the chance to bet on smaller or larger ranges of goals. If a line of 4.5 is chosen, and the punter places money on under that number of goals, then the two teams should score any number of goals between 0 and 4 for the bet to win.

Game Props

Props can relate to many different aspects of a game. There may be bets offered such as correct score, result at the end of the first/second half, will a team score in both halves, which all relate to how a team may win a game. There may be other bets that relate to player performances, corners, suspensions, and more.

Live Bets

Punters can pick from a huge selection of live bets that will be made available once a game starts. These will not only include all the main bets, but they may have some exciting bets on events that may be resolved in minutes, such as which team will score next, will a certain player score during the match, will the next goal come from open play, and many more.

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