FA PREMIER LEAGUE

 

(The FA Premier League trophy)
The competition formed as the FA Premier League on 20 February 1992 following the decision of clubs in the Football League First Division to break away from the Football League, which was originally founded in 1888, and take advantage of a lucrative television rights deal. This deal is worth £1 billion a year domestically as of 2013–14, with BSkyB and BT Group securing the domestic rights to broadcast 116 and 38 games respectively.The league generates €2.2 billion per year in domestic and international television rights.

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. In the 2010–11 season, the average Premier League match attendance was 35,363, the second highest of any professional football league behind the Bundesliga, and stadium occupancy was 92% capacity. The Premier League ranked second in the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) coefficients of leagues based on performances in European competitions over the last five years.

Of the 47 clubs to have competed since the inception of the Premier League in 1992, five have won the title: Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers.

Origins
Despite significant European success during the 1970s and early 1980s, the late 1980s had marked a low point for English football. Stadia were crumbling, supporters endured poor facilities, hooliganism was rife, and English clubs were banned from European competition for five years following the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985. The Football League First Division, which had been the top level of English football since 1888, was well 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.
However, by the turn of the 1990s the downward trend was starting to reverse; England had been successful in the 1990 FIFA World Cup, reaching 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 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1991) and the Taylor Report on stadium safety standards, which proposed expensive upgrades to create all-seater stadia in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster, was published in January of that year.
Television money had also become much more important; the Football League received £6.3 million for a two-year agreement in 1986, but when that deal was renewed in 1988, the price rose to £44 million over four years. The 1988 negotiations were the first signs of a breakaway league; ten clubs threatened to leave and form a "super league", but were eventually persuaded to stay. As stadia improved and match attendance and revenues rose, the country's top teams again considered leaving the Football League in order to capitalise on the growing influx of money being pumped into the sport.
Foundation
At the close of the 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 would 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.

The managing director of London Weekend Television (LWT), Greg Dyke, met with the representatives of the "big five" football clubs in England in 1990. The meeting was to pave the way for a break away 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 decided it was a good idea 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 enjoy an amicable relationship with the Football League at the time and considered it as a way to weaken the Football League's position.

In 1992, the First Division clubs resigned from the Football League en masse and on 27 May 1992 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. 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 and was originally composed of 22 clubs. The first ever Premier League goal was scored by Brian Deane of Sheffield United in a 2–1 win against Manchester United.

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, Queen's Park Rangers, Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday, Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur and Wimbledon.

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.

"Big Four" dominance (2000s)

One significant feature of the Premier League in the mid-2000s was the dominance of the so-called "Big Four" clubs: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United.
During this decade, and particularly from 2002 to 2009, they dominated the top four spots, which came with UEFA Champions League qualification, taking all top four places in 5 out of 6 seasons from 2003–04 to 2008–09 inclusive. 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."

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. In the 2009–10 season, Tottenham finished fourth and became the first team to break the top four since Everton in 2005. 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 of the "Big Four" to win since 1994–95. That season also saw two of the Big Four (Chelsea and Liverpool) finish outside of the top four places for the first time since 1994-95.
Development
Due to insistence by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), the international governing body of football, that domestic leagues reduce the number of games clubs played, the number of clubs was reduced to 20 in 1995 when four teams were relegated from the league and only two teams promoted. On 8 June 2006, FIFA requested that all major European leagues, including Italy's Serie A and Spain's La Liga be reduced to 18 teams by the start of the 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.

The league changed its name from the FA Premier League to simply the Premier League in 2007.

Corporate structure

The Premier League is operated as a corporation and is owned by the 20 member clubs. Each club is a shareholder, 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 current chairman is Sir Dave Richards, who was appointed in April 1999, and the chief executive is Richard Scudamore, appointed in November 1999. The former chairman and chief executive, John Quinton and Peter Leaver, were forced to resign in March 1999 after awarding consultancy contracts to former Sky executives Sam Chisholm and David Chance. 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 Premier League sends representatives to UEFA's European Club Association, the number of clubs and the clubs themselves chosen according to UEFA coefficients. 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 and UEFA Europa League.

Competition format

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 system), once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents, for a total of 38 games.

Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. Teams are 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.

The three lowest placed teams are relegated into the Football League Championship, and the top two teams from the Championship, together with the winner of play-offs involving the third to sixth placed Championship clubs, are promoted in their place.
Sponsorship
From 1993 through 2016, the Premier League has had title sponsorship rights sold to two companies; Barclays was the most recent title sponsor, having sponsored the Premier League from 2001 through 2016 (until 2004, the title sponsorship was held through its Barclaycard brand before shifting to Barclays proper in 2004.
  • 1992–1993: No sponsor (FA Premier League)
  • 1993–2001: Carling (FA Carling Premiership)
  • 2001–2004: Barclaycard (FA Barclaycard Premiership)
  • 2004–2016: Barclays (Barclays Premier League; FA Barclays Premiership until 2007)
Barclays' deal with the Premier League will expire 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 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 who have had the contract since the 2000–01 season when they took over from Mitre.
Clubs
A total of 47 clubs have played in the Premier League from its inception in 1992, up to and including the 2015–16 season. Seven clubs have been members of the Premier League for every season since its inception: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur.
The following 20 clubs are competing in the Premier League during the 2017–18 season.
ClubPosition
in 2017-18
First season in
top division
Seasons
in top
division
Seasons
in Premier
League
First season of
current spell in
top division
Top
division
titles
Last top
division title
Arsenal6th1903–04102281919–20132003–04
AFC Bournemouth11th2015-16442015–160n/a
Brighton & Hove Albion15th1979-80512017-180n/a
Burnley 7th1888-895652016-1721959-60
Cardiff City2nd in Championship1921-221512017-180n/a
Chelsea5th1907–0884271989–9062016-17
Crystal Palace11th1969–7019102013–140n/a
Everton8th1888–89116281954–5591986–87
Huddersfield Town16th1920-213112017-1831925-26
Leicester City9th1908–0950132014–1512015-16
Liverpool4th1894–95104281962–63181989–90
Manchester City1st1899–190090222002–0352017-18
Manchester United2nd1892–9394281975–76202012–13
Newcastle United10th1898-9986232017-1841926-27
Southampton17th1966–6742202012–130n/a
Tottenham Hotspur3rd1909–1084281978–7921960–61
Watford14th1982-831662015-160n/a
West Ham United13th1923–2461232012–130n/a
Wolverhampton Wanderers1st in Championship1888-896542017-1831958-59

 

Wales
Up to 2010–11, no Welsh clubs had qualified for the top flight in the Premier League era. In 2010–11, Swansea City gained promotion from the Championship. The first Premier League match to be played outside England was Swansea City's home match against Wigan Athletic at the Liberty Stadium on 20 August 2011. In 2012–13, Swansea qualified for the Europa League by winning the League Cup, and achieved a top-half finish in the Premier League by finishing 9th. The number of Welsh clubs in the Premier League increased to two in 2013–14, as Cardiff City gained promotion by winning the 2012–13 Championship. However, Cardiff City failed to avoid relegation after its maiden season.
Because they are members of the Football Association of Wales (FAW), the question of whether clubs like Cardiff and Swansea should represent England or Wales in European competitions has caused long-running discussions in UEFA. Despite being a member of the FAW, Swansea took one of England's three available places in the Europa League in 2013–14, by winning the 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.
Scotland and Ireland

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 received Premier League approval to 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 and Rangers, should or will take part in the Premier League, but nothing has come of these discussions.

Stadiums
Premier League football has been played in 50 stadiums since the formation of the Premier League in 1992. The Hillsborough disaster in 1989 and the subsequent Taylor Reportsaw a recommendation that standing terraces should be abolished; as a result all stadia 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 stadia. Nine stadia that have seen Premier League football have now been demolished. 
Managers
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 '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; examples include Paul Hart at Portsmouth and David Pleat at Tottenham Hotspur.

The league's longest-serving manager was Alex Ferguson, who was in charge of Manchester United from November 1986 until his retirement at the end of the 2012–13 season, meaning that he was manager for all of the first 21 seasons of the Premier League. Arsène Wenger is now the league's longest-serving current manager, having been in charge of Arsenal in the Premier League since 1996.

No English manager has won the Premier League; the seven managers to have won the title comprise two Scots: Alex Ferguson (Manchester United, 13 wins) and Kenny Dalglish (Blackburn Rovers, one win), a Frenchman (Arsène Wenger, Arsenal, three wins), a Portuguese (José Mourinho, Chelsea, three wins), a Chilean (Manuel Pellegrini, Manchester City, one win) and two Italians (Carlo Ancelotti, Chelsea, and Roberto Mancini, Manchester City, one win each).

The current managers in the Premier League are:
Nat. Name ClubAppointed
EnglandEddie HoweAFC Bournemouth12 October 2012
EnglandSean DycheBurnley30 October 2012
Mauricio PochettinoTottenham Hotspur27 May 2014
EnglandChris HughtonBrighton & Hove Albion31 December 2014
GermanyJurgen KloppLiverpool8 October 2015

David Wagner

Huddersfield Town5 November 2015
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Pep Guardiola

Manchester City1 February 2016
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Rafael Benitez

Newcastle United11 March 2016
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Jose Mourinho

Manchester United27 May 2016
England

Neil Warnock

Cardiff City14 October 2016
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Nuno Espirito Santo

Wolverhampton Wanderers5 August 2017
England

Roy Hodgson

Crystal Palace12 September 2017
France

Claude Puel

Leicester City25 October 2017
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Javi Gracia

Watford21 January 2018

Manuel Pellegrini

West Ham United22 May 2018
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Unai Emery

Arsenal23 May 2018
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Marco Silva

Everton31 May 2018
Italy

Maurizio Sarri

Chelsea14 July 2018
Italy

Claudio Ranieri

Fulham14 November 2018
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Ralph Hassenhuttl

Southampton5 December 2018
Trophy

The Premier League maintains two trophies - the genuine trophy (held by the reigning champions) and a spare replica. Two trophies are held in the event that two different clubs could win the League on the final day of the season.

The rare event that more than two clubs are vying for the title on the final day of the season - then a replica won by a previous club is used.

 

The current Premier League trophy was created by Royal Jewellers Asprey of London. It consists of a trophy with a golden crown and amalachite plinth base. The plinth weighs 33 pounds (15 kg) and the trophy weighs 22 pounds (10.0 kg). The trophy and plinth are 76 cm (30 in) tall, 43 cm (17 in) wide and 25 cm (9.8 in) deep.

Its main body is solid sterling silver and silver 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. Malachite's green colour is also representative of the green field of play.

The design of the trophy is based on the heraldry of 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 without a single defeat.