Wikipedia - Premier League

The Premier League is the highest level of the English football league system. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the English Football League (EFL). Seasons typically run from August to May, with each team playing 38 matches: two against each other team, one home and one away. Most games are played on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, with occasional weekday evening fixtures.

The competition was founded as the FA Premier League on 20 February 1992 following the decision of First Division (top-tier league from 1888 until 1992) clubs to break away from the English Football League. However, teams may still be relegated to and promoted from the EFL Championship. The Premier League takes advantage of a £5 billion television rights deal, with Sky and BT Group securing the domestic rights to broadcast 128 and 32 games, respectively. This deal will rise to £6.7 billion for the four seasons from 2025 to 2029. The league is projected to earn $7.2bn in overseas TV rights from 2022 to 2025. The Premier League is a corporation managed by a chief executive, with member clubs acting as shareholders. Clubs were apportioned central payment revenues of £2.4 billion in 2016–17, with a further £343 million in solidarity payments to EFL clubs.

The Premier League is the most-watched sports league in the world, broadcast in 212 territories to 643 million homes, with a potential TV audience of 4.7 billion people. For the 2018–19 season, the average Premier League match attendance was at 38,181, second to the German Bundesliga's 43,500, while aggregated attendance across all matches was the highest of any association football league at 14,508,981, and most stadium occupancies are near capacity. As of 2023, the Premier League is ranked first in the UEFA coefficient rankings based on performances in European competitions over the past five seasons, ahead of Spain's La Liga. The English top-flight has produced the second-highest number of European Cup / UEFA Champions League titles, with a record six English clubs having won fifteen European championships in total.

Fifty-one clubs have competed in the Premier League since its inception in 1992: 49 from England and two from Wales. Seven of them have won the title: Manchester United (13), Manchester City (7), Chelsea (5), Arsenal (3), Blackburn Rovers (1), Leicester City (1) and Liverpool (1); the two Manchester clubs hold the distinction of having won three titles in a row, while six clubs have avoided relegation: Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.



Despite significant European success in the 1970s and early 1980s, the late 1980s marked a low point for English football. Stadiums were deteriorating and supporters endured poor facilities, hooliganism was rife, and English clubs had been banned from European competition for five years following the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985. The Football League First Division, the top level of English football since 1888, was 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.

By the turn of the 1990s, the downward trend was starting to reverse. At the 1990 FIFA World Cup, England reached the semi-finals; UEFA, European football's governing body, lifted the five-year ban on English clubs playing in European competitions in 1990, resulting in Manchester United lifting the Cup Winners' Cup in 1991. The Taylor Report on stadium safety standards, which proposed expensive upgrades to create all-seater stadiums in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster, was published in January 1990.

During the 1980s, major English clubs had begun to transform into business ventures, applying commercial principles to club administration to maximize revenue. Martin Edwards of Manchester United, Irving Scholar of Tottenham Hotspur, and David Dein of Arsenal were among the leaders in this transformation. The commercial imperative led to the top clubs seeking to increase their power and revenue: the clubs in Division One threatened to break away from the Football League, and in doing so, they managed to increase their voting power and gain a more favorable financial arrangement, taking a 50% share of all television and sponsorship income in 1986. They demanded that television companies should pay more for their coverage of football matches, and revenue from television grew in importance. The Football League received £6.3 million for a two-year agreement in 1986, but by 1988, in a deal agreed with ITV, the price rose to £44 million over four years, with the leading clubs taking 75% of the cash. According to Scholar, who was involved in the negotiations of television deals, each of the First Division clubs received only around £25,000 per year from television rights before 1986, this increased to around £50,000 in the 1986 negotiation, then to £600,000 in 1988. The 1988 negotiations were conducted under the threat of ten clubs leaving to form a "super league", but they were eventually persuaded to stay, with the top clubs taking the lion's share of the deal. The negotiations also convinced the bigger clubs that in order to receive enough votes, they needed to take the whole of First Division with them instead of a smaller "super league". By the beginning of the 1990s, the big clubs again considered breaking away, especially now that they had to fund the cost of stadium upgrade as proposed by the Taylor Report.

In 1990, the managing director of London Weekend Television (LWT), Greg Dyke, met with the representatives of the "big five" football clubs in England (Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Arsenal) over a dinner. The meeting was to pave the way for a breakaway from The Football League. Dyke believed that it would be more lucrative for LWT if only the larger clubs in the country were featured on national television and wanted to establish whether the clubs would be interested in a larger share of television rights money. The five clubs agreed with the suggestion and decided to press ahead with it; however, the league would have no credibility without the backing of The Football Association, and so David Dein of Arsenal held talks to see whether the FA were receptive to the idea. The FA did not have an amicable relationship with the Football League at the time and considered it as a way to weaken the Football League's position. The FA released a report in June 1991, Blueprint for the Future of Football, that supported the plan for the Premier League with the FA as the ultimate authority that would oversee the breakaway league.

Foundation (1990s)

1990s, foundations and early Manchester United dominance
Season Champions Runners-up
1992–93 Manchester United Aston Villa
1993–94 Manchester United Blackburn Rovers
1994–95 Blackburn Rovers Manchester United
1995–96 Manchester United Newcastle United
1996–97 Manchester United Newcastle United
1997–98 Arsenal Manchester United
1998–99 Manchester United Arsenal
1999–2000 Manchester United Arsenal
Double winners
Treble winners

At the close of the 1990–1991 season, a proposal was tabled for the establishment of a new league 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 was to have commercial independence from The Football Association and the Football League, giving the FA Premier League licence 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. Although Dyke played a significant role in the creation of the Premier League, he and ITV (of which LWT was part) lost out in the bidding for broadcast rights: BSkyB won with a bid of £304 million over five years, with the BBC awarded the highlights package broadcast on Match of the Day.

Luton Town, Notts County, and West Ham United were the three teams relegated from the old First Division at the end of the 1991–92 season, and did not take part in the inaugural Premier League season. They were replaced by Ipswich Town, Middlesbrough, and Blackburn Rovers, promoted from the old Second Division. The 22 First Division clubs resigned en masse from the Football League in 1992, and on 27 May that year 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. The 22 inaugural members of the new Premier League 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
  • Wimbledon

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 the same as the old First and Second Divisions with three teams relegated from the league and three promoted.

The league held its first season in 1992–93. It was composed of 22 clubs for that season (reduced to 20 in the 1995–96 season). The first Premier League goal was scored by Brian Deane of Sheffield United in a 2–1 win against Manchester United.

Manchester United won the inaugural edition of the new league, ending a twenty-six year wait to be crowned champions of England. Bolstered by this breakthrough, United immediately became the competition's dominant team, winning seven of the first nine trophies, two League and FA Cup 'doubles' and a European treble, initially under a team of hardened veterans such as Bryan Robson, Steve Bruce, Paul Ince, Mark Hughes and Eric Cantona, before Cantona, Bruce and Roy Keane led a young dynamic new team filled with the Class of 92, a group of young players including David Beckham who came through the Manchester United Academy.

Between 1993 and 1997, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United came close to challenging Manchester United's early dominance; Blackburn won the 1994–95 FA Premier League and Newcastle led the title charge over United for much of the 1995–96 season. As the decade closed, Arsenal replicated Manchester United's dominance by winning the League and FA Cup double in 1997–98 and together the "Big 2" would form a duopoly over the league between 1997 and 2004.[]

"Big Four" dominance (2000–10)

Results of the 'Big Four' during the 2000s
2000–01 2 6 3 1
2001–02 1 6 2 3
2002–03 2 4 5 1
2003–04 1 2 4 3
2004–05 2 1 5 3
2005–06 4 1 3 2
2006–07 4 2 3 1
2007–08 3 2 4 1
2008–09 4 3 2 1
2009–10 3 1 7 2
Top four 10 8 7 10
out of 10
League champions
Champions League group stage
Champions League third qualifying / play-off round
Champions League first qualifying round
UEFA Cup / Europa League

The 2000s saw the rise of first Liverpool, and then Arsenal to real competitiveness, Chelsea finally breaking the duopoly by winning the league in 2004–05. The dominance of the so-called "Big Four" clubs – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United – saw them finish at the top of the table for the bulk of the decade, thereby guaranteeing qualification for the UEFA Champions League. Only three other clubs managed to qualify for the competition during this period: Newcastle United (2001–02 and 2002–03), Everton (2004–05) and Tottenham Hotspur (2009–10) – each occupying the final Champions League spot, with the exception of Newcastle in the 2002–03 season, who finished third.

Following the 2003–04 season, Arsenal acquired the nickname "The Invincibles" as it became the first, and to date, only club to complete a Premier League campaign without losing a single game.

In May 2008, Kevin Keegan stated that "Big Four" dominance threatened the division: "This league is in danger of becoming one of the most boring but great leagues in the world." Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said in defence: "There are a lot of different tussles that go on in the Premier League depending on whether you're at the top, in the middle or at the bottom that make it interesting."

Between 2005 and 2012 there was a Premier League representative in seven of the eight Champions League finals, with only "Big Four" clubs reaching that stage. Liverpool (2005), Manchester United (2008) and Chelsea (2012) won the competition during this period, with Arsenal (2006), Liverpool (2007), Chelsea (2008) and Manchester United (2009 and 2011) all losing Champions League finals. Leeds United were the only non-"Big Four" side to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League, in the 2000–01 season. There were three Premier League teams in the Champions League semi-finals in 2006–07, 2007–08, and 2008–09, a feat only ever achieved five times (along with Serie A in 2002–03 and La Liga in 1999–2000).

Additionally, between the 1999–2000 and 2009–10 seasons, four Premier League sides reached UEFA Cup or Europa League finals, with only Liverpool managing to win the competition in 2001. Arsenal (2000), Middlesbrough (2006) and Fulham (2010) all lost their finals.

Although the group's dominance was reduced to a degree after this period with the emergence of Manchester City and Tottenham, in terms of all-time Premier League points won they remain clear by some margin. As of the end of the 2021–22 season – the 27th season of the Premier League – Liverpool, in fourth place in the all-time points table, were over 300 points ahead of the next team, Tottenham Hotspur. They are also the only teams to maintain a winning average of over 50% throughout their entire Premier League tenures.

Emergence of the "Big Six" (2010s)

Results of the 'Big Six' during the 2010s
2010–11 4 2 6 3 1 5
2011–12 3 6 8 1 2 4
2012–13 4 3 7 2 1 5
2013–14 4 3 2 1 7 6
2014–15 3 1 6 2 4 5
2015–16 2 10 8 4 5 3
2016–17 5 1 4 3 6 2
2017–18 6 5 4 1 2 3
2018–19 5 3 2 1 6 4
2019–20 8 4 1 2 3 6
Top four 6 7 5 10 6 5
Top six 9 9 7 10 9 10
out of 10
League champions
Champions League group stage
Champions League play-off round
Europa League

The years following 2009 marked a shift in the structure of the "Big Four" with Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City both breaking into the top four places on a regular basis, turning the "Big Four" into the "Big Six". In the 2009–10 season, Tottenham finished fourth and became the first team to break into the top four since Everton five years prior. Criticism of the gap between an elite group of "super clubs" and the majority of the Premier League has continued, nevertheless, due to their increasing ability to spend more than the other Premier League clubs. Manchester City won the title in the 2011–12 season, becoming the first club outside the "Big Four" to win since Blackburn Rovers in the 1994–95 season. That season also saw two of the "Big Four" (Chelsea and Liverpool) finish outside the top four places for the first time since that season.

With only four UEFA Champions League qualifying places available in the league, greater competition for qualification now exists, albeit from a narrow base of six clubs. In the five seasons following the 2011–12 campaign, Manchester United and Liverpool both found themselves outside of the top four three times, while Chelsea finished 10th in the 2015–16 season. Arsenal finished 5th in 2016–17, ending their record run of 20 consecutive top-four finishes.

In the 2015–16 season, underdogs Leicester City won the Premier League. With 5000/1 odds of winning the league at the beginning of the season, Leicester became the first club outside the "Big Six" to win the Premier League since Blackburn Rovers in the 1994–95 season.

Off the pitch, the "Big Six" wield significant financial power and influence, with these clubs arguing that they should be entitled to a greater share of revenue due to the greater stature of their clubs globally and the attractive football they aim to play. Objectors argue that the egalitarian revenue structure in the Premier League helps to maintain a competitive league which is vital for its future success. The 2016–17 Deloitte Football Money League report showed the financial disparity between the "Big Six" and the rest of the division. All of the "Big Six" had revenues greater than €350 million, with Manchester United having the largest revenue in the league at €676.3 million. Leicester City was the closest club to the "Big Six" in terms of revenue, recording a figure of €271.1 million for that season – helped by participation in the Champions League. The eighth-largest revenue generator, West Ham – who did not play in European competition – had revenues of €213.3 million, less than half of those of the club with the fifth-largest revenue, Liverpool (€424.2 million). A substantial part of the clubs' revenue by then came from television broadcast deals, with the biggest clubs each taking from around £150 million to nearly £200 million in the 2016–17 season from such deals. In Deloitte's 2019 report, all the "Big Six" were in the top ten of the world's richest clubs.

Number of top 6 finishes during 2010s
Club Top 6 finishes
Manchester City 10
Tottenham Hotspur 10
Arsenal 9
Chelsea 9
Manchester United 9
Liverpool 7
Everton 2
Leicester City 2
Newcastle United 1
Southampton 1


Results of the 'Big Six' during the 2020s
2020–21 8 4 3 1 2 7
2021–22 5 3 2 1 6 4
2022–23 2 12 5 1 3 8
Top four 1 2 2 3 2 1
Top six 2 2 3 3 3 1
out of 3
League champions
Champions League group stage
Europa League
Europa Conference League

From the 2019–20 season, video assistant referees were used in the league.

Project Big Picture was announced in October 2020 that described a plan to reunite the top Premier League clubs with the English Football League, proposed by leading Premier League clubs Manchester United and Liverpool. It has been criticised by the Premier League leadership and the UK government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

On 26 April 2021, play was stopped during a match between Leicester City and Crystal Palace to allow players Wesley Fofana and Cheikhou Kouyaté to break Ramadan fast. It is believed to be the first time in Premier League history that a game was paused to allow Muslim players to eat and drink after the sun had set in accordance with the rules of the faith.

The 2022–23 season was the first to take a six-week break between November and December 2022 to allow for the first winter World Cup, with a return for the Boxing Day fixtures. The Premier League players decided to take the knee at selected "significant moments". They assured to "remain resolutely committed to eradicate racial prejudice". That season was notable for Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion breaching the traditional "big six", as they finished fourth and sixth, respectively, while Tottenham and Chelsea were eighth and twelfth, respectively. Meanwhile, 2015–16 champions Leicester City were relegated, becoming the second league-winning club to suffer relegation since 1992, after Blackburn Rovers.

Number of top 6 finishes during 2020s
Club Top 6 finishes
Liverpool 3
Manchester City 3
Manchester United 3
Arsenal 2
Chelsea 2
Brighton & Hove Albion 1
Leicester City 1
Newcastle United 1
West Ham United 1
Tottenham Hotspur 1
The England Premier League is a highly prestigious and competitive soccer tournament held annually in Great Britain. It is widely regarded as one of the most exciting and popular football leagues in the world. The tournament features 20 top-tier professional clubs from England, each vying for the coveted title of Premier League champions.

The England Premier League showcases the best football talent from around the globe, attracting world-class players, managers, and coaches. The participating teams represent some of the most historic and successful clubs in English football, including Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester City, among others.

The tournament follows a round-robin format, where each team plays against every other team twice, once at their home stadium and once away. The matches are played with immense passion and intensity, with players showcasing their skills, tactical prowess, and teamwork to secure victories for their respective clubs.

The England Premier League is known for its fast-paced and physical style of play, with matches often featuring thrilling end-to-end action, spectacular goals, and nail-biting finishes. The league's reputation for unpredictability adds to its allure, as any team can defeat another on any given day, making it a captivating and unpredictable competition.

The tournament also boasts a rich history and tradition, with numerous iconic moments and legendary players etching their names in Premier League folklore. From dramatic title races to stunning comebacks, the England Premier League has provided fans with countless memorable moments that have become part of footballing history.

The England Premier League attracts a massive global audience, with millions of fans tuning in to watch the matches live or following the action through various media platforms. The tournament's popularity extends beyond the borders of Great Britain, with fans from all corners of the world passionately supporting their favorite teams and players.

In addition to the thrilling on-field action, the England Premier League also contributes significantly to the development of football in Great Britain. The tournament's financial success allows clubs to invest in youth academies, infrastructure, and grassroots programs, nurturing young talent and promoting the growth of the sport at all levels.

Overall, the England Premier League is a captivating and prestigious soccer tournament that showcases the best of British football. With its rich history, intense competition, and global appeal, it continues to captivate fans and inspire future generations of footballers.