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The Premier League, often referred to as the English Premier League or the EPL (legal name: The Football Association Premier League Limited), is the top level of the
English football league system The English football league system, also known as the football pyramid, is a series of interconnected leagues for men's association football Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a team sport played w ...
. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of
promotion and relegation In s, promotion and relegation is a process where teams are transferred between multiple divisions based on their performance for the completed . Leagues that use promotion and relegation systems are often called open leagues. In a system of pro ...
with the
English Football League The English Football League (EFL) is a league of professional football Football is a family of team sport A team is a [group (disambiguation), group of individuals (human or non-human) working together to achieve their goal. As defin ...
(EFL). Seasons run from August to May with each team playing 38 matches (playing all 19 other teams both home and away). Most games are played on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The competition was founded as the FA Premier League on 20 February 1992 following the decision of clubs in the
Football League First Division The Football League First Division is a former division of the Football League The English Football League (EFL) (legal name: The Football League Limited) is a league competition featuring professional association football Associatio ...
to break away from the Football League, founded in 1888, and take advantage of a lucrative television rights sale to Sky UK, Sky. From 2019-20, the league's accumulated television rights deals were worth around £3.1 billion a year, with Sky and
BT Group BT Group plc (trading as A trade name, trading name, or business name is a pseudonym A pseudonym () or alias () (originally: ψευδώνυμος in Greek) is a fictitious name that a person or group assumes for a particular purpose, which ...
securing the domestic rights to broadcast 128 and 32 games respectively. The Premier League is a corporation where chief executive Richard Masters is responsible for its management, whilst the member clubs act as shareholders. Clubs were apportioned central payment revenues of £2.4 billion in 2016–17, with a further £343 million in solidarity payments to English Football League (EFL) clubs. The Premier League is the most-watched sports league in the world, broadcast in 212 territories to 643 million homes and 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 The Bundesliga (; ), sometimes referred to as the Fußball-Bundesliga () or 1. Bundesliga (), is a professional association football Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a played with a between tw ...

Bundesliga
's 43,500, while aggregated attendance across all matches is the highest of any association football league at 14,508,981. Most stadium occupancies are near capacity. The Premier League ranks first in the
UEFA coefficient In European footballUEFA competitions, also referred to by the mass media as European football, are the competitions organised by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), generally in professional and amateur association football and f ...
s of leagues based on performances in European competitions over the past five seasons as of 2021. The English top-flight has produced the second-highest number of UEFA Champions League/European Cup titles, with five English clubs having won fourteen European trophies in total. Fifty clubs have competed since the inception of the Premier League in 1992: forty-eight
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...
and two
Welsh Welsh may refer to: Related to Wales * Welsh, referring or related to Wales * Welsh language, a Brittonic Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, indigenous to the British Isles, spoken in Wales ** Patagonian Welsh, a dialect of Wels ...
clubs. Seven of them have won the title:
Manchester United Manchester () is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. The city has the country’s List of English districts by population, fifth-largest population at 547,627 (as of 2018) and lies within the United Kingdom's Greater ...
(13),
Chelsea Chelsea or Chelsey may refer to: Places Australia * Chelsea, Victoria Canada * Chelsea, Nova Scotia * Chelsea, Quebec United Kingdom * Chelsea, London, an affluent area of South West London, bounded to the south by the River Thames ** Chelsea ...
(5),
Manchester City Manchester () is the most-populous city and metropolitan borough in North West England and Greater Manchester, England. The city has the country's List of English districts by population, fifth-largest population at 547,627 (as of 2018) and lie ...
(5),
Arsenal The Royal Armoury, Leeds An arsenal is a place where arms and ammunition Ammunition (informally ammo) is the material fired, scattered, dropped or detonated from any weapon or weapon system. Ammunition is both expendable weapons (e ...
(3),
Blackburn Rovers Blackburn Rovers Football Club is a professional football club, based in Blackburn, Lancashire, England, which competes in the Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. The club was established in 1875, becomin ...
(1),
Leicester City Leicester is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. ...
(1) and
Liverpool Liverpool is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and metropolitan borough in Merseyside, England. With a population of in 2019, it is the List of English districts by population, tenth largest English district by population, and its ...
(1).


History


Origins

Despite significant European success in the 1970s and early 1980s, the late 1980s marked a low point for English football. Stadiums were crumbling, supporters endured poor facilities,
hooliganism Hooliganism is disruptive or unlawful behavior such as riot Rioters wearing scarves to conceal their identity and filter tear gas A riot () is a form of civil disorder Civil disorder, also known as civil disturbance, civil unrest, or so ...
was rife, and English clubs had been banned from European competition for five years following the
Heysel Stadium disaster The Heysel Stadium disaster (; ; ; german: Katastrophe von Heysel; french: Drame du Heysel; nl, Heizeldrama; it, Tragedia dell'Heysel or Strage dell'Heysel) was a human stampede that occurred on 29 May 1985 when mostly Juventus Juventu ...
in 1985. The
Football League First Division The Football League First Division is a former division of the Football League The English Football League (EFL) (legal name: The Football League Limited) is a league competition featuring professional association football Associatio ...
, the top level of English football since 1888, was behind leagues such as Italy's
Serie A Serie A (), also called Serie A TIM for sponsorship Sponsoring something (or someone) is the act of supporting an event, activity, person, or organization financially or through the provision of products or services. The individual or group t ...

Serie A
and Spain's
La Liga The Campeonato Nacional de Liga de Primera División, commonly known simply as Primera División (Spanish Premier League) in Spain, and as La Liga in English-speaking countries and officially as LaLiga Santander Santander may refer to: Places ...

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 The 1990 FIFA World Cup was the 14th FIFA World Cup The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a team ...
, England reached the semi-finals;
UEFA The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA ; french: Union des associations européennes de football; german: Union der europäischen Fußballverbände) is the administrative body for football, futsal and beach soccer in Europe, as wel ...

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
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup The UEFA Cup Winners' Cup was a European association football, football club competition contested annually by the winners of domestic cup competitions. The cup was, chronologically, the second seasonal inter-European club competition organised ...
in 1991. The
Taylor Report The Hillsborough Stadium Disaster Inquiry report is the report of an enquiry which was overseen by Peter Taylor, Baron Taylor of Gosforth, Lord Justice Taylor, into the causes of the Hillsborough disaster on 15 April 1989, as a result of which, at ...
on stadium safety standards, which proposed expensive upgrades to create all-seater stadiums in the aftermath of the
Hillsborough disaster The Hillsborough disaster was a fatal human crush A stampede () is uncontrolled concerted running as an act of mass impulse among herd animals or a crowd of people in which the group collectively begins running, often in an attempt to escape ...
, 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 maximise revenue.
Martin Edwards Charles Martin Edwards (born 24 July 1945) is the former chairman of Manchester United Manchester () is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. The city has the country’s List of English districts by population, fif ...
of
Manchester United Manchester () is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. The city has the country’s List of English districts by population, fifth-largest population at 547,627 (as of 2018) and lies within the United Kingdom's Greater ...
, Irving Scholar of
Tottenham Hotspur Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, commonly referred to as Tottenham () or Spurs, is an English professional association football, football club in Tottenham, London, that competes in the Premier League. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has been the cl ...
, and
David Dein David Barry Dein (born 7 September 1943) is the Ambassador for the Premier League The Premier League, often referred to outside the UK as the English Premier League, or sometimes the EPL, (legal name: The Football Association Premier Lea ...
of
Arsenal The Royal Armoury, Leeds An arsenal is a place where arms and ammunition Ammunition (informally ammo) is the material fired, scattered, dropped or detonated from any weapon or weapon system. Ammunition is both expendable weapons (e ...
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 so doing they managed to increase their voting power and gain a more favourable 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 ITV or iTV may refer to: ITV *Independent Television (ITV), a British television network, consisting of: **ITV (TV network), a free-to-air national commercial television network covering the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands ...
, 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 London Weekend Television (LWT) was the ITV ITV or iTV may refer to: ITV *Independent Television (ITV), a British television network, consisting of: **ITV (TV network), a free-to-air national commercial television network covering the United ...

London Weekend Television
(LWT),
Greg Dyke Gregory Dyke (born 20 May 1947) is a British mass media, media executive, football administrator, journalist, and broadcaster. Since the 1960s, Dyke has had a long career in the UK in Print journalism, print and then broadcast journalism. He is ...
, met with the representatives of the "big five" football clubs in England (Manchester United,
Liverpool Liverpool is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and metropolitan borough in Merseyside, England. With a population of in 2019, it is the List of English districts by population, tenth largest English district by population, and its ...
, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Arsenal) over a dinner. The meeting was to pave the way for a breakaway from
The Football League The English Football League (EFL) is a league of professional association football, football clubs from England and Wales. Founded in 1888 as the Football League, the league is the oldest such competition in Association football around the wor ...
. 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 The Football Association (also known as The FA) is the governing body A governing body is a group of people that has the authority to exercise governance Governance is all the processes of interactions be they through the laws Law ...
, and so David Dein of Arsenal held talks to see whether the FA were receptive to the idea. The FA did not enjoy 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 Premier League with FA the ultimate authority that would oversee the breakaway league.


Foundation (1990s)

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 Broadcasting is the distributionDistribution may refer to: Mathematics *Distribution (mathematics) Distributions, also known as Schwartz distributions or generalized functions, are objects that generalize the classical notion of functi ...

broadcast
and
sponsorship Sponsoring something (or someone) is the act of supporting an event, activity, person, or organization financially or through the provision of products or services. The individual or group that provides the support, similar to a Benefactor (law), ...
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 Sky UK Limited is a British broadcaster and telecommunications company that provides television and broadband Internet services, fixed line and mobile telephone services to consumers and businesses in the United Kingdom The United Kingd ...
won with a bid of £304 million over five years, with the
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London. It is the world's oldest national broadcaster, and the largest broadcasting, broadcaster in the world by ...

BBC
awarded the highlights package broadcast on ''
Match of the Day ''Match of the Day'' is a " football highlights and analysis" programme, typically broadcast on BBC One on Saturday evenings, during the Premier League season. In 2015, '' Guinness World Records'' recognised ''Match of the Day'' "as the lon ...
''. The 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 In a limited company, the liability of members or subscribers of the company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, whether Natural person, natural, Legal person, legal or ...
, working out of an office at the Football Association's then headquarters in
Lancaster Gate Lancaster Gate is a mid-19th century development in the Bayswater Bayswater is an area within the City of Westminster City of Westminster is an Inner London, inner London City status in the United Kingdom, city and London boroughs, ...
. The 22 inaugural members of the new Premier League were: 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 Division In sport, the Second Division, also called Division 2 or Division II is usually the second highest division of a league, and will often have promotion and relegation with divisions above and below. Following the rise of Premier League style competi ...
s with three teams relegated from the league and three promoted. The league held its first season in
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. 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 Brian Christopher Deane (born 7 February 1968) is an English football Football is a family of team sport A team is a
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_in_a_2–1_win_against_Manchester_United._
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of Sheffield United F.C.">Sheffield United Sheffield United Football Club is a professional association football, football club in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, which competes in the EFL Championship, Championship, the second tier of English football league system, English footb ...
in a 2–1 win against Manchester United. Luton Town F.C.">Luton Town Luton Town Football Club () is a professional association football Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a team sport played with a sphere, spherical Ball (association football), ball between two team ...
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, and West Ham United F.C.">West Ham United West Ham United Football Club is an English professional football Football is a family of team sport A team is a Stratford, East London that compete in the Premier League, the top tier of English football league system, English footb ...
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.


"Top Four" dominance (2000s)

The 2000s saw the dominance of the so-called "Top Four" clubs. Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United finished at the top of the table for bulk of the decade, thereby guaranteeing qualification for the UEFA Champions League. Only four other clubs managed to qualify for the competition during this period: Leeds United (2000-01 FA Premier League, 2000-01), Newcastle United F.C., Newcastle United (2001–02 FA Premier League, 2001–02 and 2002–03 FA Premier League, 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 3 (three) is a number, numeral (linguistics), numeral and numerical digit, digit. It is the natural number following 2 and preceding 4, and is the smallest odd prime number and the only prime preceding a square number. It has religious or cultur ...
season, Arsenal acquired the nickname " The Invincibles" as it became the first club to complete a Premier League campaign without losing a single game, the only time this has ever happened in the Premier League. In May 2008,
Kevin Keegan Joseph Kevin Keegan, (born 14 February 1951) is an English former football Football is a family of team sport A team is a Newcastle_United,_forward,_he_played_for_several_clubs,_including_Newcastle_United_F.C.">Newcastle_United,_So ...

Kevin Keegan
stated that "Top 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
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 Champions League is a sports competition, typically association football, that is contested by club teams who have distinguished themselves in their respective national competitions. The name originated with, and most often refers to, the UEFA Champ ...
finals, with only "Top Four" clubs reaching that stage. Liverpool ( 2005), Manchester United (
2008 2008 was designated as: *International Year of LanguagesThe United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2008 as the International Year of Languages, pursuant to a resolution of UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultura ...
) and Chelsea (
2012 2012 was designated as: *International Year of Cooperatives2012 was designated as the International Year of Cooperatives by the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December 2009. The designation has honored the use of cooperative organiz ...
) won the competition during this period, with Arsenal (
2006 2006 was designated as the International Year of Deserts and Desertification and the International Asperger syndrome, Asperger's Year. Events January * January 1 – Russia cuts the shipment of natural gas to Ukraine over a Russia–U ...
), Liverpool (
2007 2007 was designated as the International Heliophysical YearImage:IHY logo.png, 200px, right The International Heliophysical Year is a United Nations, UN-sponsored scientifically driven international program of scientific collaboration to unde ...
), Chelsea (
2008 2008 was designated as: *International Year of LanguagesThe United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2008 as the International Year of Languages, pursuant to a resolution of UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultura ...
) and Manchester United (
2009 2009 was designated as: *International Year of Astronomy 200px, Euro gold and silver commemorative coins (Austria)#2009 Coinage, International Year of Astronomy commemorative coin. The International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) was a year-l ...
and
2011 A series of protests and government overthrows, known as the Arab Spring The Arab Spring ( ar, الربيع العربي) was a series of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions that spread across much of the Arab worl ...
) all losing Champions League finals. Leeds United were the only non-"Top 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 Serie A (), also called Serie A TIM for sponsorship Sponsoring something (or someone) is the act of supporting an event, activity, person, or organization financially or through the provision of products or services. The individual or group t ...

Serie A
in
2002-03 The hyphen-minus, , is a Character (computing), character used in digital Document, documents and computing to represent a hyphen , a Plus and minus signs#Minus sign, minus sign , or an en dash . Typewriter keyboards and early computer encodings ...
and
La Liga The Campeonato Nacional de Liga de Primera División, commonly known simply as Primera División (Spanish Premier League) in Spain, and as La Liga in English-speaking countries and officially as LaLiga Santander Santander may refer to: Places ...

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 2001 was designated as International Year of Volunteers. Events January * January 1 – Kolkata (in West Bengal, India) officially restores its name from Calcutta. * January 9 – iTunes is launched. * January 10 – The U.S. ...
. Arsenal (
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),
Middlesbrough Middlesbrough ( ) is a large town in North Yorkshire North Yorkshire is the largest non-metropolitan county and ceremonial counties of England, lieutenancy area in England, covering an area of . Around 40% of the county is covered by Natio ...
(
2006 2006 was designated as the International Year of Deserts and Desertification and the International Asperger syndrome, Asperger's Year. Events January * January 1 – Russia cuts the shipment of natural gas to Ukraine over a Russia–U ...
) and
Fulham Fulham () is an area of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham () is a London boroughs, London borough in West London and which also forms part of Inner London. The borough was formed in 1 ...
(
2010 2010 was designated as: *International Year of Biodiversity The International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) was a year-long celebration of biological diversity and its importance, taking place internationally in 2010. Coinciding with the dat ...
) 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 2018–19 season – the 27th season of the Premier League – Liverpool, in fourth place in the all-time points table, were over 250 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)

The years following 2009 marked a shift in the structure of the "Top Four" with
Tottenham Hotspur Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, commonly referred to as Tottenham () or Spurs, is an English professional association football, football club in Tottenham, London, that competes in the Premier League. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has been the cl ...
and
Manchester City Manchester () is the most-populous city and metropolitan borough in North West England and Greater Manchester, England. The city has the country's List of English districts by population, fifth-largest population at 547,627 (as of 2018) and lie ...
both breaking into the top four places on a regular basis, turning the "Top Four" into the "Big Six". In the 2009–10 season, Tottenham finished fourth and became the first team to break 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 Blackburn Rovers Football Club is a professional football club, based in Blackburn, Lancashire, England, which competes in the Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. The club was established in 1875, becomin ...
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, the top four was breached by a non-Big Six side for the first time since Everton in 2005.
Leicester City Leicester is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. ...
were the surprise winners of the league, qualifying for the Champions League as a result. 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 The Deloitte Football Money League is a ranking of football Football is a family of team sport A team is a [group (disambiguation), group of individuals (human or non-human) working together to achieve their goal. As defined by Professor ...
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, nearly 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.


2020s

From the 2019–20 Premier League, 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 The English Football League (EFL) is a league of professional football Football is a family of team sport A team is a [group (disambiguation), group of individuals (human or non-human) working together to achieve their goal. As defin ...
, proposed by leading Premier League clubs
Manchester United Manchester () is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. The city has the country’s List of English districts by population, fifth-largest population at 547,627 (as of 2018) and lies within the United Kingdom's Greater ...
and
Liverpool Liverpool is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and metropolitan borough in Merseyside, England. With a population of in 2019, it is the List of English districts by population, tenth largest English district by population, and its ...
. It has been criticised by the Premier League leadership and the UK government's Department of 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 (footballer), 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.


Corporate structure

The Football Association Premier League Ltd (FAPL) is operated as a corporation and is owned by the 20 member clubs. Each club is a
shareholder A shareholder (in the United States often referred to as stockholder) of a corporation is an individual or legal entity (such as another corporation, a body politic, a Trust law, trust or partnership) that is registered by the corporation as the ...
, with one vote each on issues such as rule changes and contracts. The clubs elect a chairman, chief executive, and board of directors to oversee the daily operations of the league. The Football Association is not directly involved in the day-to-day operations of the Premier League, but has veto power as a special shareholder during the election of the chairman and chief executive and when new rules are adopted by the league. The current chief executive is Richard Masters, who was appointed in December 2019, whilst the chairman is Gary Hoffman, appointed in April 2020. Both men succeeded , who held the combined position of "Executive Chairman" from November 1999 until his retirement in November 2019. The Premier League sends representatives to UEFA's
European Club Association The European Club Association (ECA) is a body representing the interests of professional association football Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a team sport played with a sphere, spherical Ball (asso ...
, the number of clubs and the clubs themselves chosen according to
UEFA coefficients In European association football, football, the UEFA coefficients are statistics used for ranking and Single-elimination tournament#Seeding, seeding teams in club and international competitions. Introduced in 1979, the coefficients are calculated ...
. For the 2012–13 season the Premier League has 10 representatives in the Association: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Everton, Fulham, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur. The European Club Association is responsible for electing three members to UEFA's Club Competitions Committee, which is involved in the operations of UEFA competitions such as the
Champions League Champions League is a sports competition, typically association football, that is contested by club teams who have distinguished themselves in their respective national competitions. The name originated with, and most often refers to, the UEFA Champ ...
and
UEFA Europa League The UEFA Europa League (abbreviated as UEL) is an annual association football, football club competition organised by the UEFA, Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) for eligible European football clubs. It is the second-tier competitio ...
.


Criticism of governance

The Premier League has faced criticism of its
governance Governance is all the processes of interactions be they through the laws Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity ...

governance
due to an alleged lack of
transparency Transparency, transparence or transparent most often refer to transparency and translucency, the physical property of allowing the transmission of light through a material. They may also refer to: Literal uses * Transparency (photography), a sti ...
and
accountability Accountability, in terms of ethics and governance, is equated with answerability, blameworthiness, legal liability, liability, and the expectation of account-giving. As in an aspect of governance, it has been central to discussions related to probl ...

accountability
. Following the Premier League's blocking of the attempted takeover of Newcastle United by a PIF-backed consortium through the league's Fit-and-proper-person test, Owners' and Directors' test, many MPs, Newcastle United fans and related parties to the deal denounced the Premier League for its perceived lack of transparency and accountability throughout the process. On 6 July 2021, consortium member Amanda Staveley of PCP Capital Partners said that “fans surely deserve absolute transparency from the regulators across all their processes - to best ensure that they act responsibly. They (the Premier League) are performing a function like that of a government regulator - but without the same systems for accountability.” On 22 July 2021, Tracey Crouch, Tracey Crouch MP – chair of the fan-led review into the UK’s football governance - announced in the review’s interim findings that the Premier League had “lost the trust and confidence" of fans. The review also recommended that a new independent regulator be created to oversee matters such as club takeovers. Premier League chief executive Richard Masters had earlier spoken out against the implementation of an independent regulator, saying on 17 May 2021 that "I don’t think that the independent regulator is the answer to the question. I would defend the Premier League’s role as regulator of its clubs over the past 30 years."


Competition format


Competition

There are 20 clubs in the Premier League. During the course of a season (from August to May) each club plays the others twice (a double Round-robin tournament, round-robin system), once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents', for 38 games. Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. Teams are Group tournament ranking system, ranked by total points, then goal difference, and then goals scored. If still equal, teams are deemed to occupy the same position. If there is a tie for the championship, for relegation, or for qualification to other competitions, a play-off match at a neutral venue decides rank.


Promotion and relegation

A system of
promotion and relegation In s, promotion and relegation is a process where teams are transferred between multiple divisions based on their performance for the completed . Leagues that use promotion and relegation systems are often called open leagues. In a system of pro ...
exists between the Premier League and the EFL Championship. The three lowest placed teams in the Premier League are relegated to the Championship, and the top two teams from the Championship promoted to the Premier League, with an additional team promoted after a series of play-offs involving the third, fourth, fifth and sixth placed clubs. The number of clubs was reduced from 22 to 20 in 1994–95 FA Premier League, 1995, when four teams were relegated from the league and only two teams promoted. The top flight had only been expanded to 22 teams at the start of the 1991–92 Football League, 1991–92 season – the year prior to the formation of the Premier League. On 8 June 2006, FIFA requested that all major European leagues, including Italy's
Serie A Serie A (), also called Serie A TIM for sponsorship Sponsoring something (or someone) is the act of supporting an event, activity, person, or organization financially or through the provision of products or services. The individual or group t ...

Serie A
and Spain's
La Liga The Campeonato Nacional de Liga de Primera División, commonly known simply as Primera División (Spanish Premier League) in Spain, and as La Liga in English-speaking countries and officially as LaLiga Santander Santander may refer to: Places ...

La Liga
, be reduced to 18 teams by the start of the 2007–08 Premier League, 2007–08 season. The Premier League responded by announcing their intention to resist such a reduction. Ultimately, the 2007–08 season kicked off again with 20 teams.


Clubs

50 clubs have played in the Premier League from its inception in 1992, up to and including the 2021–22 Premier League, 2021–22 season.


Champions


2021–22 season

Twenty clubs compete in the 2021–22 Premier League, with three promoted from the 2020–21 EFL Championship, Championship: *
Fulham Fulham () is an area of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham () is a London boroughs, London borough in West London and which also forms part of Inner London. The borough was formed in 1 ...
, West Bromwich Albion F.C., West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United F.C., Sheffield United were relegated to the EFL Championship for the 2021–22 EFL Championship, 2021–22 season, while Norwich City F.C., Norwich City, Watford F.C., Watford and Brentford F.C., Brentford, as winners, runners-up and play-off final winners respectively, were promoted from the 2020–21 EFL Championship, 2020–21 season. *Brighton & Hove Albion F.C., Brighton & Hove Albion are the only club to have remained in the Premier League since their first promotion, having been in 5 seasons (out of 30).


Non-English clubs

In 2011, after Swansea City A.F.C., Swansea City gained promotion, a Welsh club participated in the Premier League for the first time. The first Premier League match to be played outside England was Swansea City's home match at the Liberty Stadium against Wigan Athletic F.C., Wigan Athletic on 20 August 2011. The number of Welsh clubs in the Premier League increased to two in 2013–14, as Cardiff City F.C., Cardiff City gained promotion, but they were relegated after their maiden season. Cardiff were promoted again in 2017–18 EFL Championship, 2017–18 but the number of Welsh clubs remained the same for the 2018–19 Premier League season, for Swansea City were relegated from the Premier League in 2017–18. Following Cardiff City's relegation after the 2018–19 season, there are currently no Welsh clubs participating in the Premier League. Because they are members of the Football Association of Wales (FAW), the question of whether clubs like Swansea should represent England or Wales in European competitions has caused Football in England#Welsh clubs, long-running discussions in
UEFA The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA ; french: Union des associations européennes de football; german: Union der europäischen Fußballverbände) is the administrative body for football, futsal and beach soccer in Europe, as wel ...

UEFA
. Swansea took one of England's three available places in the UEFA Europa League, Europa League in 2013–14 by winning the Football League Cup, League Cup in 2012–13. The right of Welsh clubs to take up such English places was in doubt until UEFA clarified the matter in March 2012, allowing them to participate. Participation in the Premier League by some Scottish or Irish clubs has sometimes been discussed, but without result. The idea came closest to reality in 1998, when Wimbledon F.C., Wimbledon received Premier League approval to Relocation of Wimbledon F.C. to Milton Keynes, relocate to Dublin, Ireland, but the move was blocked by the Football Association of Ireland. Additionally, the media occasionally discusses the idea that Scotland's two biggest teams, Celtic F.C., Celtic and Rangers F.C., Rangers, should or will take part in the Premier League, but nothing has come of these discussions.


International competitions


Qualification for European competitions


Qualification criteria for 2020–21

The top four teams in the Premier League qualify for the subsequent season's UEFA Champions League group stage. The winners of the UEFA Champions League and
UEFA Europa League The UEFA Europa League (abbreviated as UEL) is an annual association football, football club competition organised by the UEFA, Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) for eligible European football clubs. It is the second-tier competitio ...
may earn an additional qualification for the subsequent season's UEFA Champions League group stage if they are not in the top four. If this means six Premier League teams qualify, then the fourth-placed team in the Premier League instead plays in the
UEFA Europa League The UEFA Europa League (abbreviated as UEL) is an annual association football, football club competition organised by the UEFA, Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) for eligible European football clubs. It is the second-tier competitio ...
, for any single nation is limited to a maximum of five teams in UCL. The fifth-placed team in the Premier League, as well as the winner of the FA Cup, qualifies for the subsequent season's
UEFA Europa League The UEFA Europa League (abbreviated as UEL) is an annual association football, football club competition organised by the UEFA, Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) for eligible European football clubs. It is the second-tier competitio ...
group stage, but if the winner also finished in the top five places in the Premier League or has won one of
UEFA The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA ; french: Union des associations européennes de football; german: Union der europäischen Fußballverbände) is the administrative body for football, futsal and beach soccer in Europe, as wel ...

UEFA
's major tournaments, then this place reverts to the team that finished sixth. The winner of the EFL Cup qualifies for the subsequent season's
UEFA Europa League The UEFA Europa League (abbreviated as UEL) is an annual association football, football club competition organised by the UEFA, Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) for eligible European football clubs. It is the second-tier competitio ...
second qualifying round, but if the winner already qualified for a UEFA competition via their performance in another competition, then this place reverts to the team that finished sixth in the Premier League, or seventh if the FA Cup result already caused the sixth-placed team to qualify. The number of places allocated to English clubs in
UEFA The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA ; french: Union des associations européennes de football; german: Union der europäischen Fußballverbände) is the administrative body for football, futsal and beach soccer in Europe, as wel ...

UEFA
competitions is dependent upon the position a country holds in the UEFA coefficient#Country coefficient, UEFA country coefficients, which are calculated based upon the performance of teams in
UEFA The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA ; french: Union des associations européennes de football; german: Union der europäischen Fußballverbände) is the administrative body for football, futsal and beach soccer in Europe, as wel ...

UEFA
competitions in the previous five years. Currently the ranking of England (and de facto the Premier League) is second, behind Spain.


Previous seasons

An exception to the usual European qualification system happened in 2005, after
Liverpool Liverpool is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and metropolitan borough in Merseyside, England. With a population of in 2019, it is the List of English districts by population, tenth largest English district by population, and its ...
won the Champions League the year before, but did not finish in a Champions League qualification place in the Premier League that season. UEFA gave special dispensation for Liverpool to enter the Champions League, giving England five qualifiers. UEFA subsequently ruled that the defending champions qualify for the competition the following year regardless of their domestic league placing. However, for those leagues with four entrants in the Champions League, this meant that if the Champions League winner finished outside the top four in its domestic league, it would qualify at the expense of the fourth-placed team in the league. At that time, no association could have more than four entrants in the Champions League. This occurred in 2012, when Chelsea – who had 2012 UEFA Champions League Final, won the Champions League that summer, but finished sixth in the league – qualified for the Champions League in place of Tottenham Hotspur, who went into the Europa League. From 2015–16 UEFA Champions League, 2015–16, the Europa League winners qualify for the Champions League, increasing the maximum number of participants per country to five. This took effect in England in 2016–17 in English football, 2016–17, when Manchester United finished sixth in the Premier League and won the Europa League, giving England five Champions League entrants for 2017–18 UEFA Champions League, 2017–18. In these instances, any Europa League berth vacated will not be handed down to the next-best Premier League finisher outside a qualifying place and so the association's Europa League entrants for the following season will be reduced. If it happens that both Champions League and Europa League winners are of the same association and both finish outside the top four, then the fourth-placed team will be transferred to the Europa League.


Performance in international competition

Between the 1992–93 and the 2020–21 seasons, Premier League clubs won the UEFA Champions League six times (and had seven runners-up), behind Spain's
La Liga The Campeonato Nacional de Liga de Primera División, commonly known simply as Primera División (Spanish Premier League) in Spain, and as La Liga in English-speaking countries and officially as LaLiga Santander Santander may refer to: Places ...

La Liga
with eleven wins, and ahead of, among others, Italy's
Serie A Serie A (), also called Serie A TIM for sponsorship Sponsoring something (or someone) is the act of supporting an event, activity, person, or organization financially or through the provision of products or services. The individual or group t ...

Serie A
with five wins and Germany's
Bundesliga The Bundesliga (; ), sometimes referred to as the Fußball-Bundesliga () or 1. Bundesliga (), is a professional association football Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a played with a between tw ...

Bundesliga
with four wins. The FIFA Club World Cup (originally called the FIFA Club World Championship) List of FIFA Club World Cup finals#Results by nation, has been won twice by a Premier League club (Manchester United in 2008 FIFA Club World Cup, 2008 and Liverpool in 2019 FIFA Club World Cup, 2019), with two runners-up (Liverpool in 2005 FIFA Club World Championship, 2005 and Chelsea in 2012 FIFA Club World Cup, 2012), behind Spain's La Liga with seven wins, Brazil's Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, Brasileirão with four wins, and tied with Italy's Serie A with two wins.


Sponsorship

The league changed its name from the ''FA Premier League'' to simply the ''Premier League'' in 2007. From 1993 to 2016, the Premier League had title sponsorship rights sold to two companies, which were Carling brewery and Barclays Bank PLC; Barclays was the most recent title sponsor, having sponsored the Premier League from 2001 until 2016 (until 2004, the title sponsorship was held through its Barclaycard brand before shifting to its main banking brand in 2004). Barclays' deal with the Premier League expired at the end of the 2015–16 season. The FA announced on 4 June 2015 that it would not pursue any further title sponsorship deals for the Premier League, arguing that they wanted to build a "clean" brand for the competition more in line with those of Major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada, major U.S. sports leagues. As well as sponsorship for the league itself, the Premier League has a number of official partners and suppliers. The official ball supplier for the league is Nike, Inc., Nike who have had the contract since the 2000–01 season when they took over from Mitre Sports International, Mitre. Under its ''Merlin'' brand, Topps#Topps Europe Ltd Products, Topps held the licence to produce collectables for the Premier League between 1994 and 2019 including stickers (for their sticker album) and Trading card#Association football, trading cards. Launched in the 2007–08 season, Topps’ Match Attax, the official Premier League trading card game, is the best selling boys collectable in the UK, and is also the biggest selling sports trading card game in the world. In October 2018, Panini Group, Panini were awarded the licence to produce collectables from the 2019–20 season. The chocolate company Cadbury has been the official snack partner of the Premier League since 2017, and sponsors the Premier League Golden Boot, Golden Boot, Premier League Golden Glove, Golden Glove, and Premier League Playmaker of the Season, Playmaker of the Season awards.


Finances

The Premier League has the highest revenue of any association football league in the world, with total club revenues of €2.48 billion in 2009–10. In 2013–14, due to improved television revenues and cost controls, the Premier League clubs collectively made a net profit in excess of £78 million, exceeding all other football leagues. In 2010 the Premier League was awarded the Queen's Awards for Enterprise, Queen's Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category for its outstanding contribution to international trade and the value it brings to English football and the United Kingdom's broadcasting industry. The Premier League includes some of the richest football clubs in the world. Deloitte's "Deloitte Football Money League, Football Money League" listed seven Premier League clubs in the top 20 for the 2009–10 season, and all 20 clubs were in the top 40 globally by the end of the 2013–14 season, largely as a result of increased broadcasting revenue. In 2019, the league generated around £3.1 billion per year in domestic and international television rights. Premier League clubs agreed in principle in December 2012, to radical new cost controls. The two proposals consist of a break-even rule and a cap on the amount clubs can increase their wage bill by each season. With the new television deals on the horizon, momentum has been growing to find ways of preventing the majority of the cash going straight to players and agents. Central payments for the 2016–17 season amounted to £2,398,515,773 across the 20 clubs, with each team receiving a flat participation fee of £35,301,989 and additional payments for TV broadcasts (£1,016,690 for general UK rights to match highlights, £1,136,083 for each live UK broadcast of their games and £39,090,596 for all overseas rights), commercial rights (a flat fee of £4,759,404) and a notional measure of "merit" which was based upon final league position. The merit component was a nominal sum of £1,941,609 multiplied by each finishing place, counted from the foot of the table (e.g., Burnley F.C., Burnley finished 16th in May 2017, five places counting upwards, and received 5 × £1,941,609 = £9,708,045 merit payment).


Relegation

Since its split with the English Football League, Football League, established clubs in the Premier League have a funding disparity from counterparts in lower leagues. Revenue from television rights between the leagues has played a part in this. Promoted teams have found it difficult to avoid relegation in their first Premier League season. One Premier League newcomer has been relegated back to the Football League every season, save the 2001–02 FA Premier League, 2001–02, 2011–12 and 2017–18 seasons. In the 1997–98 FA Premier League, 1997–98 season, all three promoted clubs were relegated by the season's end. The Premier League distributes a portion of its television revenue as "parachute payments" to relegated clubs for adjustment to television revenue loss. The average Premier League team receives £41 million while the average EFL Championship, Championship club receives £2 million. Starting with the 2013–14 Premier League, 2013–14 season, these payments are in excess of £60 million over four seasons. Critics maintain that the payments widen the gap between teams that have reached the Premier League and those that have not, leading to the common occurrence of teams "Premier League–Football League gulf, bouncing back" soon after their relegation. Clubs which have failed to win immediate promotion back to the Premier League have seen financial problems, in some cases Administration (British football), administration or liquidation. Further relegations down the footballing ladder have occurred for multiple clubs unable to cope with the gap.


Media coverage


United Kingdom and Ireland

Television has played a major role in the history of the Premier League. The League's decision to assign broadcasting rights to Sky plc, BSkyB in 1992 was at the time a radical decision, but one that has paid off. At the time pay television was an almost untested proposition in the UK market, as was charging fans to watch live televised football. However, a combination of Sky's strategy, the quality of Premier League football and the public's appetite for the game has seen the value of the Premier League's TV rights soar. The Premier League sells its television rights on a collective basis. This is in contrast to some other European leagues, including La Liga, in which each club sells its rights individually, leading to a much higher share of the total income going to the top few clubs. The money is divided into three parts: half is divided equally between the clubs; one quarter is awarded on a merit basis based on final league position, the top club getting twenty times as much as the bottom club, and equal steps all the way down the table; the final quarter is paid out as facilities fees for games that are shown on television, with the top clubs generally receiving the largest shares of this. The income from overseas rights is divided equally between the twenty clubs. Not all Premier League matches are televised in the United Kingdom, as the league upholds the Blackout (broadcasting), long-standing prohibition on telecasts of any association football match (domestic or otherwise) that kicks off between 2:45 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. on Saturday matchdays. The first Sky television rights agreement was worth £304 million over five seasons. The next contract, negotiated to start from the 1997–98 season, rose to £670 million over four seasons. The third contract was a £1.024 billion deal with BSkyB for the three seasons from 2001 to 2002 to 2003–04. The league brought in £320 million from the sale of its international rights for the three-year period from 2004 to 2005 to 2006–07. It sold the rights itself on a territory-by-territory basis. Sky's monopoly was broken from August 2006 when Setanta Sports was awarded rights to show two out of the six packages of matches available. This occurred following an insistence by the European Commission that exclusive rights should not be sold to one television company. Sky and Setanta paid £1.7 billion, a two-thirds increase which took many commentators by surprise as it had been widely assumed that the value of the rights had levelled off following many years of rapid growth. Setanta also hold rights to a live 3 pm match solely for Irish viewers. The
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London. It is the world's oldest national broadcaster, and the largest broadcasting, broadcaster in the world by ...

BBC
has retained the rights to show highlights for the same three seasons (on ''
Match of the Day ''Match of the Day'' is a " football highlights and analysis" programme, typically broadcast on BBC One on Saturday evenings, during the Premier League season. In 2015, '' Guinness World Records'' recognised ''Match of the Day'' "as the lon ...
'') for £171.6 million, a 63 per cent increase on the £105 million it paid for the previous three-year period. Sky and BT Group, BT have agreed to jointly pay £84.3 million for delayed television rights to 242 games (that is the right to broadcast them in full on television and over the internet) in most cases for a period of 50 hours after 10 pm on matchday. Overseas television rights fetched £625 million, nearly double the previous contract. The total raised from these deals is more than £2.7 billion, giving Premier League clubs an average media income from league games of around £40 million-a-year from 2007 to 2010. The TV rights agreement between the Premier League and Sky has faced accusations of being a cartel, and a number of court cases have arisen as a result. An investigation by the Office of Fair Trading in 2002 found BSkyB to be dominant within the pay TV sports market, but concluded that there were insufficient grounds for the claim that BSkyB had abused its dominant position. In July 1999 the Premier League's method of selling rights collectively for all member clubs was investigated by the UK Restrictive Practices Court, which concluded that the agreement was not contrary to the public interest. The BBC's highlights package on Saturday and Sunday nights, as well as other evenings when fixtures justify, will run until 2016. Television rights alone for the period 2010 to 2013 have been purchased for £1.782 billion. On 22 June 2009, due to troubles encountered by Setanta Sports after it failed to meet a final deadline over a £30 million payment to the Premier League, ESPN (UK), ESPN was awarded two packages of UK rights containing 46 matches that were available for the 2009–10 season as well as a package of 23 matches per season from 2010 to 2011 to 2012–13. On 13 June 2012, the Premier League announced that BT Sport, BT had been awarded 38 games a season for the 2013–14, 2014–15 and 2015–16 seasons at £246 million-a-year. The remaining 116 games were retained by Sky plc, Sky, which paid £760 million-a-year. The total domestic rights have raised £3.018 billion, an increase of 70.2% over the 2010–11 to 2012–13 rights. The value of the licensing deal rose by another 70.2% in 2015, when Sky and BT paid £5.136 billion to renew their contracts with the Premier League for another three years up to the 2018–19 season. A new rights cycle began in the 2019–20 season, with the domestic package increasing to 200 matches overall; in February 2018, BT were awarded the package of 32 lunchtime fixtures on Saturdays, while Sky was awarded four of the seven packages, covering the majority of weekend fixtures (including eight new prime time fixtures on Saturdays), as well as Monday and Friday matches. Two remaining packages of 20 fixtures each were to be sold at a later date, including three rounds of mid-week fixtures and a bank holiday round. As Sky already owned the maximum number of matches it could hold without breaching a 148-match cap, it was speculated that at least one of the new packages could go to a new entrant, such as a streaming service. The five packages sold to BT and Sky were valued at £4.464 billion. In June 2018, it was announced that Amazon Prime Video and BT had acquired the remaining two packages; Amazon acquired rights to 20 matches per-season, covering a mid-week round in December, and all Boxing Day fixtures. The Amazon telecasts are produced in association with Tinopolis, Sunset + Vine and BT Sport. With the resumption of play in the 2019–20 Premier League due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom, the Premier League announced that all remaining matches would be carried on British television, split primarily across Sky, BT, and Amazon. A large number of these matches were also scheduled for free-to-air broadcasts, with Sky airing 25 on Pick (TV channel), Pick, Amazon streaming its four matches on Twitch (service), Twitch, and the BBC – for the first time in league history – carrying four live matches. As matches would continue to be played without spectators upon the start of the 2020–21 Premier League, its clubs voted on 8 September to continue broadcasting all matches through at least September (with the BBC and Amazon each holding one additional match), and "appropriate arrangements" being made for October. It was later announced that matches not selected for broadcast would be carried on pay-per-view via BT Sport Box Office and Sky Box Office at a cost of £14.95 per-match. The PPV scheme was poorly-received; the Football Supporters' Federation felt that the price was too high, and there were concerns that it could encourage piracy. There were calls from supporters to boycott the pay-per-views, and make donations to support charitable causes instead (with Newcastle's "Charity Not PPV" campaign raising £20,000 for a local food bank, and Arsenal fans raising £34,000 for Islington Giving). On 13 November, amid the reintroduction of measures across the UK, the Premier League officially announced that the non-televised matches would be assigned to its main broadcast partners, and again including additional matches for the BBC and Amazon. UK highlights In August 2016, it was announced the BBC would be creating a new magazine-style show for the Premier League entitled ''The Premier League Show''.


Worldwide

The Premier League is the most-watched football league in the world, broadcast in 212 territories to 643 million homes and a potential TV audience of 4.7 billion people,. The Premier League's production arm, Premier League Productions, is operated by IMG (company), IMG Productions and produces all content for its international television partners. The Premier League is the most widely distributed sports programme in Asia. In Australia, Optus telecommunications holds exclusive rights to the Premier League, providing live broadcasts and online access (Fox Sports formerly held rights). In India, the matches are broadcast live on Star Sports (Indian TV network), STAR Sports. In China, the broadcast rights were awarded to Super Sports in a six-year agreement that began in the 2013–14 season. As of the 2019–20 season, Canadian broadcast rights to the Premier League are owned by DAZN, after having been jointly owned by Sportsnet and The Sports Network, TSN from 2013 to 2014. The Premier League is Premier League on NBC, broadcast in the United States by NBC Sports, a division of Sky parent Comcast. Acquiring the rights to the Premier League in 2013 (replacing Fox Soccer and ESPN), NBC Sports has been widely praised for its coverage. NBC Sports reached a six-year extension with the Premier League in 2015 to broadcast the league until the end of the 2021–22 season in a deal valued at $1 billion (£640 million). In November 2021, NBC reached another six-year extension through 2028 in a deal valued at $2.76 billion (£2 billion). The Premier League is broadcast by SuperSport (South African broadcaster), SuperSport across sub-Saharan Africa. Broadcasters to continental Europe until 2025 include Canal+ for France, Sky Sport (Germany), Sky Sport for Germany and Austria, Match TV for Russia, Sky Sport (Italy), Sky Sport for Italy, Eleven Sports (Portuguese TV network), Eleven Sports for Portugal, DAZN for Spain, beIN Sports (Turkish TV channel), beIN Sports to Turkey, and Nordic Entertainment Group, NENT to Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark and Norway), Poland and the Netherlands. In South America, ESPN Latin America, ESPN covers much of the continent, with coverage in Brazil shared between ESPN Brasil and Fox Sports (Brazil), Fox Sports. SKY México broadcasts the league in Central America.


Stadiums

As of the 2017–18 season, Premier League football has been played in 58 stadiums since the formation of the division. The
Hillsborough disaster The Hillsborough disaster was a fatal human crush A stampede () is uncontrolled concerted running as an act of mass impulse among herd animals or a crowd of people in which the group collectively begins running, often in an attempt to escape ...
in 1989 and the subsequent
Taylor Report The Hillsborough Stadium Disaster Inquiry report is the report of an enquiry which was overseen by Peter Taylor, Baron Taylor of Gosforth, Lord Justice Taylor, into the causes of the Hillsborough disaster on 15 April 1989, as a result of which, at ...
saw a recommendation that standing terraces should be abolished. As a result, all stadiums in the Premier League are all-seater. Since the formation of the Premier League, football grounds in England have seen constant improvements to capacity and facilities, with some clubs moving to new-build stadiums. Nine stadiums that have seen Premier League football have now been demolished. The stadiums for the 2017–18 season show a large disparity in capacity. For example, Wembley Stadium, the temporary home of Tottenham Hotspur, has a capacity of 90,000 while Dean Court, the home of AFC Bournemouth, has a capacity of 11,360. The combined total capacity of the Premier League in the 2017–18 season is 806,033 with an average capacity of 40,302. Stadium attendances are a significant source of regular income for Premier League clubs. For the 2016–17 season, average attendances across the league clubs were 35,838 for Premier League matches with an aggregate attendance of 13,618,596. This represents an increase of 14,712 from the average attendance of 21,126 recorded in the Premier League's first season (1992–93). However, during the 1992–93 season, the capacities of most stadiums were reduced as clubs replaced terraces with seats in order to meet the
Taylor Report The Hillsborough Stadium Disaster Inquiry report is the report of an enquiry which was overseen by Peter Taylor, Baron Taylor of Gosforth, Lord Justice Taylor, into the causes of the Hillsborough disaster on 15 April 1989, as a result of which, at ...
's 1994–95 deadline for all-seater stadiums. The Premier League's record average attendance of 36,144 was set during the 2007–08 Premier League, 2007–08 season. This record was then beaten in the 2013–14 Premier League, 2013–14 season recording an average attendance of 36,695 with an attendance of just under 14 million, the highest average in England's top flight since 1950.


Managers

Manager (association football), Managers in the Premier League are involved in the day-to-day running of the team, including the training, team selection and player acquisition. Their influence varies from club-to-club and is related to the ownership of the club and the relationship of the manager with fans. Managers are required to have a UEFA Pro Licence which is the final coaching qualification available, and follows the completion of the
UEFA The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA ; french: Union des associations européennes de football; german: Union der europäischen Fußballverbände) is the administrative body for football, futsal and beach soccer in Europe, as wel ...

UEFA
'B' and 'A' Licences. The UEFA Pro Licence is required by every person who wishes to manage a club in the Premier League on a permanent basis (''i.e.'', more than 12 weeks, the amount of time an unqualified caretaker manager is allowed to take control). Caretaker appointments are managers that fill the gap between a managerial departure and a new appointment. Several caretaker managers have gone on to secure a permanent managerial post after performing well as a caretaker, including Paul Hart at Portsmouth F.C., Portsmouth and David Pleat at
Tottenham Hotspur Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, commonly referred to as Tottenham () or Spurs, is an English professional association football, football club in Tottenham, London, that competes in the Premier League. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has been the cl ...
. Arsène Wenger is the longest-serving manager, having been in charge of
Arsenal The Royal Armoury, Leeds An arsenal is a place where arms and ammunition Ammunition (informally ammo) is the material fired, scattered, dropped or detonated from any weapon or weapon system. Ammunition is both expendable weapons (e ...
in the Premier League from 1996 to his departure at the conclusion of the 2017–18 season, and holds the record for most matches managed in the Premier League with 828, all with Arsenal. He broke the record set by Alex Ferguson, who had managed 810 matches with Manchester United from the Premier League's inception to his retirement at the end of the 2012–13 season. Ferguson was in charge of Manchester United from November 1986 until his retirement at the end of the 2012–13 season, meaning he was manager for the last five years of the old Football League First Division and all of the first 21 seasons of the Premier League. There have been several studies into the reasoning behind, and effects of, managerial sackings. Most famously, Professor Sue Bridgewater of the University of Liverpool and Dr. Bas ter Weel of the University of Amsterdam, performed two separate studies which helped to explain the statistics behind managerial sackings. Bridgewater's study found clubs generally sack their managers upon dropping below an average of one point per match.


Players


Appearances


Transfer regulations and foreign players

Transfer (association football), Player transfers may only take place within transfer windows set by the Football Association. The two transfer windows run from the last day of the season to 31 August and from 31 December to 31 January. Player registrations cannot be exchanged outside these windows except under specific licence from the FA, usually on an emergency basis. As of the 2010–11 Premier League, 2010–11 season, the Premier League introduced new rules mandating that each club must register a maximum 25-man squad of players aged over 21, with the squad list only allowed to be changed in transfer windows or in exceptional circumstances. This was to enable the "home grown" rule to be enacted, whereby the Premier League would also from 2010 require at least eight members of the named 25-man squad to be "home-grown players". At the inception of the Premier League in
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, just 11 players named in the starting line-ups for the first round of matches hailed from outside of the United Kingdom or Ireland. By 2000–01 FA Premier League, 2000–01, the number of foreign players participating in the Premier League was 36% of the total. In the 2004–05 season, the figure had increased to 45%. On 26 December 1999, Chelsea became the first Premier League side to field an entirely foreign starting line-up, and on 14 February 2005, Arsenal were the first to name a completely foreign 16-man squad for a match. By 2009, under 40% of the players in the Premier League were English. By February 2020, 117 different nationalities had played in the Premier League, and 101 nationalities had scored in the competition. In 1999, in response to concerns that clubs were increasingly passing over young English players in favour of foreign players, the Home Office tightened its rules for granting work permits to players from countries outside of the European Union. A non-EU player applying for the permit must have played for his country in at least 75 per cent of its competitive 'A' team matches for which he was available for selection during the previous two years, and his country must have averaged at least 70th place in the official FIFA world rankings over the previous two years. If a player does not meet those criteria, the club wishing to sign him may appeal. Following the implementation of Brexit in January 2021, new regulations were introduced which require all foreign players to obtain a Governing Body Endorsement (GBE) in order to play football in the United Kingdom, regardless of EU status.


Top scorers

''Italics'' denotes players still playing professional football,
Bold denotes players still playing in the Premier League.
The Premier League Golden Boot is awarded each season to the top scorer in the division. Former Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United F.C., Newcastle United striker Alan Shearer holds the record for most Premier League goals with 260. List of Premier League players with 100 or more goals, Twenty-eight players have reached the 100-goal mark. Since the first Premier League season in 1992–93, 23 players from 11 clubs have won or shared the top scorer title. Thierry Henry won his fourth overall scoring title by scoring 27 goals in the 2005–06 season. Andrew Cole and Alan Shearer hold the record for most goals in a season (34) – for Newcastle and Blackburn respectively. Ryan Giggs of Manchester United holds the record for scoring goals in consecutive seasons, having scored in the first 21 seasons of the league. Giggs also holds the record for the Premier League records and statistics#Assists, most Premier League assists, with 162.


Wages

There is no team or individual salary cap in the Premier League. As a result of the increasingly lucrative television deals, player wages rose sharply following the formation of the Premier League when the average player wage was £75,000 per year. In the 2018–19 season the average annual salary stood at £2.99 million. The total salary bill for the 20 Premier League clubs in the 2018–19 season was £1.62bn; this compares to £1.05bn in
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La Liga
, £0.83bn in
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Serie A
, £0.72bn in
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Bundesliga
, and £0.54bn in Ligue 1. The club with the highest average wages is
Manchester United Manchester () is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. The city has the country’s List of English districts by population, fifth-largest population at 547,627 (as of 2018) and lies within the United Kingdom's Greater ...
at £6.5m. This is smaller than the club with the highest wage bill in Spain (FC Barcelona, Barcelona £10.5m), and Italy (Juventus F.C., Juventus £6.7m), but higher than in Germany (FC Bayern Munich, Bayern Munich £6.4m), and France (Paris Saint-Germain F.C., Paris Saint-Germain 6.1m). For the 2018–19 season the ratio of the wages of the highest-paid team to lowest-paid in the Premier League is 6.82 to 1. This is much lower than in
La Liga The Campeonato Nacional de Liga de Primera División, commonly known simply as Primera División (Spanish Premier League) in Spain, and as La Liga in English-speaking countries and officially as LaLiga Santander Santander may refer to: Places ...

La Liga
(19.1 to 1),
Serie A Serie A (), also called Serie A TIM for sponsorship Sponsoring something (or someone) is the act of supporting an event, activity, person, or organization financially or through the provision of products or services. The individual or group t ...

Serie A
(16 to 1),
Bundesliga The Bundesliga (; ), sometimes referred to as the Fußball-Bundesliga () or 1. Bundesliga (), is a professional association football Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a played with a between tw ...

Bundesliga
(20.5 to 1), and Ligue 1 (26.6 to 1). Because of the lower differential between team wage bills in the Premier League, it is often regarded as being more competitive than other top European leagues.


Player transfer fees

The Progression of British football transfer fee record, record transfer fee for a Premier League player has risen steadily over the lifetime of the competition. Prior to the start of the first Premier League season Alan Shearer became the first British player to command a transfer fee of more than £3 million. The record has increased steadily and Philippe Coutinho is now the most expensive transfer involving a Premier League club at £106 million. The highest transfer fee paid by a Premier League club is £100 million for Jack Grealish.


Awards


Trophy

The Premier League maintains two trophies – the genuine trophy (held by the reigning champions) and a spare replica. Two trophies are held for the purpose of making the award within minutes of the title being secured, in the event that on the final day of the season two clubs are still within reach of winning the League. In the rare event that more than two clubs are vying for the title on the final day of the season, a replica won by a previous club is used. The current Premier League trophy was created by Royal Jewellers Garrard & Co, Asprey of London. It consists of a trophy with a golden crown and a malachite plinth base. The plinth weighs and the trophy weighs . The trophy and plinth are tall, wide and deep. Its main body is solid sterling silver and silver gilding, gilt, while its plinth is made of malachite, a semi-precious stone. The plinth has a silver band around its circumference, upon which the names of the title-winning clubs are listed. The green of the malachite represents the green field of play. The design of the trophy is based on the heraldry of Royal Arms of England, Three Lions that is associated with English football. Two of the lions are found above the handles on either side of the trophy – the third is symbolised by the captain of the title-winning team as he raises the trophy, and its gold crown, above his head at the end of the season. The ribbons that drape the handles are presented in the team colours of the league champions that year. In 2004, a special gold version of the trophy was commissioned to commemorate Arsenal winning the title The Invincibles (football), without a single defeat.


Player and manager awards

In addition to the winner's trophy and the individual List of Premier League winning players, winner's medals awarded to players who win the title, the Premier League also issues other awards throughout the season. A man-of-the-match award is awarded to the player who has the greatest impact in an individual match. Monthly awards are also given for the Premier League Manager of the Month, Manager of the Month, Premier League Player of the Month, Player of the Month and Premier League Goal of the Month, Goal of the Month. These are also issued annually for Premier League Manager of the Season, Manager of the Season, Premier League Player of the Season, Player of the Season. and Premier League Goal of the Season, Goal of the Season. The Premier League Young Player of the Season, Young Player of the Season award is given to the most outstanding U-23 player starting from the 2019–20 Premier League, 2019–20 season. The Premier League Golden Boot, Golden Boot award is given to the top goalscorer of every season, the Premier League Playmaker of the Season, Playmaker of the Season award is given to the player who makes the most assists of every season, and the Premier League Golden Glove, Golden Glove award is given to the goalkeeper with the most clean sheets at the end of the season. From the 2017–18 Premier League, 2017–18 season, players also receive a milestone award for 100 appearances and every century there after and also players who score 50 goals and multiples thereof. Each player to reach these milestones is to receive a presentation box from the Premier League containing a special medallion and a plaque commemorating their achievement.


20 Seasons Awards

In 2012, the Premier League celebrated its second decade by holding the 20 Seasons Awards: * Premier League 20 Seasons Awards#Fantasy Teams of the 20 Seasons, Fantasy Team of the 20 Seasons ** Panel Choice: Peter Schmeichel, Gary Neville, Tony Adams, Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Cole, Cristiano Ronaldo, Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer ** Public Vote: Peter Schmeichel, Gary Neville, Tony Adams, Nemanja Vidić, Ashley Cole, Cristiano Ronaldo, Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer * Premier League 20 Seasons Awards#Best Manager, Best Manager: Alex Ferguson, Sir Alex Ferguson * Premier League 20 Seasons Awards#Best Player, Best Player: Ryan Giggs * Premier League 20 Seasons Awards#Other statistical recognitions, Most Appearances: Gareth Barry (652) * Premier League 20 Seasons Awards#Other statistical recognitions, Top Goalscorer: Alan Shearer (260) * Premier League 20 Seasons Awards#Other statistical recognitions, Most Clean Sheets: David James (footballer, born 1970), David James (173) * Premier League 20 Seasons Awards#Other statistical recognitions, 500 Club: Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Gareth Barry, Ryan Giggs, David James (footballer, born 1970), David James, Gary Speed, Frank Lampard, Emile Heskey and Sol Campbell * Premier League 20 Seasons Awards#Best Goal, Best Goal: Wayne Rooney, 12 February 2011,
Manchester United Manchester () is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. The city has the country’s List of English districts by population, fifth-largest population at 547,627 (as of 2018) and lies within the United Kingdom's Greater ...
vs
Manchester City Manchester () is the most-populous city and metropolitan borough in North West England and Greater Manchester, England. The city has the country's List of English districts by population, fifth-largest population at 547,627 (as of 2018) and lie ...
* Premier League 20 Seasons Awards#Best Save, Best Save: Craig Gordon, 18 December 2010, Sunderland A.F.C., Sunderland vs Bolton Wanderers F.C., Bolton Wanderers * Premier League 20 Seasons Awards#Best Team, Best Team: 2003–04 Arsenal F.C. season, Arsenal 2003–04


See also

* List of English football champions * List of English Football League managers * Football records in England * List of professional sports teams in the United Kingdom


References

;Bibliography *


External links

* {{Authority control Premier League, Football leagues in England, 1 1992 establishments in England Professional sports leagues in the United Kingdom Sports leagues established in 1992 Top level football leagues in Europe, England