The English Premier League, also known as the Barclays Premier League or the Premiership, is the most watched league in the world. It is watched by more than a billion viewers worldwide. Highly competitive, it is also known as the toughest league in the world. It is the top tier of English football. 20 teams play for the trophy over a season which lasts 9 months, from August to April. It is played on a relegation-promotion basis. The last 3 teams in the Premier League at the end of the season are relegated to the Tier-2 football cup, the Championship and the top 3 teams from the Championship are promoted to play in the Premiership. The team which amasses the maximum number of points during the season is crowned champions. 3 points are awarded for a victory, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss.
The English Premier League, as we know it today, was born in 1992. It was known then as the FA Premier League. FA stands for the Football Association, which is the managing body for the English national team and also organises competitions such as the FA Cup, the oldest club competition in the world. In the first ever season, 22 teams competed for the cup, which was finally cut down to 20 in the 1995-96 season. The first match ever to have been played in the league was on 15th August, 1992 between Manchester United and Sheffield United. In the very first season, Manchester United were eventually crowned champions, and since then they have to their names 11 trophies, making them its most successful club. They are also the only club in history to have won the title back to back for three years.
Before the Premiership, there existed the Football League which was also played with different levels. All the teams from the 1st division of the Football League were put together in the Premiership. Since its birth, only four teams have won the Premier League – Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Blackburn Rovers.
The English Premier League is a separate corporate entity owned by all 20 of the competing clubs. Every club is a shareholder holding one vote for decisions of important corporate nature. As in every corporation, there exists a Chairperson, a Chief Executive Officer and a Board of Directors.
The nature of the game is that it gained widespread popularity since the first season itself. The sponsor for a particular season holds the right to decide the name of the league. However, the league has always been named the Premiership. From its inception till 2001, Carling was the sponsor, and the league was called the FA Carling Premiership. From 2001 to 2004, Barclaycard was the sponsor, which was eventually bought out by Barclay’s, hence the present name Barclay’s Premier League.