The English Premier League
The top-flight football league on top of the English football system has been the English Premier League (EPL) for the most part of history, and it has affected how sports enthusiasts and football fans perceive English football and the sport in general. And this perception has been highly favourable–and rightly so, considering how the Premier League reached its current status as the highest English football league system.
The EPL has gone through quite the interesting ordeal to reach its position today. For the benefit of our readers, both football enthusiasts and bettors out there, we’ll be detailing how the EPL became the league to beat in the English league and how it’s impacted the institution and culture of football itself.
The English Premier League
The English Premier League or the EPL is an English professional league for association football clubs. It is a corporation in which the 20 member clubs act as shareholders. Sitting on the peak of the English football league system, the EPL is the country’s primary football competition, contested by 20 clubs, and operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the English Football League (EFL).
Seasons run from August to May, with each club playing 38 matches (playing each other home and away). Most games are played on the weekends, but some games are played during weekday evenings. It was once sponsored by Carl Brewery, then the Barclays Bank as the latest, but the deal eventually ended in 2016, and no new deal to sponsor the league has been made since.
History of the EPL
The birthplace of modern professional football is considered England. This brought about the start of the English Premier League football history when in 1888, several clubs came together to form a league called the Football League, soon after becoming the first country to form a national football league.
After World War I, official national competitions started in most parts of the world, and so was the case in England. It gave birth to a new league called Football League First Division which would later be known as the EPL. After World War II, there were significant changes made to strengthen English football, including rebuilding stadiums and encouraging more attendance through offering inexpensive tickets to working-class people.
The Premier League was a result of a breakaway venture of the First Division of the Football League, in their desire to have control of their own TV rights and fees. Ultimately, this venture was motivated by profit and commercial reasons, backed up by the Football Association because their relationship with the Football League had become sour.
The English football Pyramid system consists of many leagues, which are divided into different levels for each tier with promotions and relegations each season between tiers according to where a team finishes within its respective tier’s standings. The Football League First Division from 1888 was the Premier League’s predecessor, and it replaced the First Division in 1992-1993.
The EPL originally had 22 teams, but this number has since been reduced to 20. It was created on 20 February 1992, when 22 of The Football League’s 36 clubs voted to move away from the Football League, which previously held their position as the highest division of English football since its foundation in 1888 and took advantage of a lucrative television rights deal.
This was after television companies started showing remarkable interest in the EPL that they felt lots of money could be generated from it if not much attention was paid towards promotion or relegation system in football. The newly formed EPL became the first league to be widely broadcast through commercial channels.
This decision led to a restructuring of the Pyramid system that saw what was then English Second Division renamed into English First Division and Third Division into English League Two. EPL was formed as a limited company run by The Football Association (The FA) on behalf of the clubs and had no influence on the Pyramid system whatsoever since its original purpose was to negotiate broadcasting contracts on behalf of The FA. But since their independence from the FL, the EPL has since taken over its own control of football in terms of how it governs itself, its member clubs, players, etc. Today, the FA still has no influence over the EPL.
Why It’s Named “Premier League”
The English Premier League is the English equivalent of what in Spain is called La Liga and Serie A for Italy. There is really no other reason behind the naming of the EPL as “Premier” other than the fact that they are the highest football league in the country. The word “Premier” denotes that it is the league of first importance, a take that intentionally differentiates the league from the Football League while at the same time still maintaining reverence to the origin of the league, which was the First Division.
Although English football has evolved into a more complex system, the Premier League still remains England’s top flight of football with 20 teams participating. The Premier League is considered home to many of the biggest names in football history, including Arsenal, whose has had Arsene Wenger at the helm for over 18 years, Manchester United, who have won multiple European cups and English titles since the formation of the Premier League, Liverpool who were credited for popularising football around Europe during their dominant run from 1980-1990, and Chelsea where past legends such as Gianfranco Zola, Petr Cech, Didier Drogba, and John Terry have played.
It is quite the feat that the very reason the Premier League broke away from the FL is the very thing that has them striving in this day and age. Today, the EPL has become one of the most-watched football leagues in the world. It owes that popularity to its live matches being available on almost any online platform worldwide due to EPL TV live streaming, allowing people all over the world to tune in and watch the EPL matches from their computers or smartphones. No one can ever say that their independence was for naught, as because of it, the EPL is an untouchable competitive institution in the world of football.
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