Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Football in England
Football is the unofficial national sport of England, and as such has an important place within English national life. Football as an organised sport first developed in England before being carried throughout the world by its many fans.
History and development
Football's roots can be found in the ball games often played in English communities in centuries past. However, it was not until the mid-nineteenth century that efforts to develop commonly accepted rules first achieved success. See football for details on the early development of football.
The Football Association
The Football Association, commonly known as The FA, is the governing body of football in England. All of England's professional football clubs must be members, and thousands of semi-professional and amateur clubs also belong.
The Football League, established in 1888, was the first professional football league in the world. Since its founding, however, many other leagues have been founded in England. Over recent years there has been an increasing effort to link all these leagues together in a pyramidal structure allowing promotion and relegation between different levels. The primary motivation for this drive is to maintain the possibility that any club in England may dream of one day rising to the very top, no matter what status they currently hold. For more information, see English football league system.
The FA Premier League
The FA Premier League is the highest league in English football and has 20 member clubs. Winning the Premier League is considered the greatest honour in English football and guarantees qualification for the UEFA Champions League, Europe's elite club competition.
The Premier League was founded in 1992 after England's top clubs broke away from The Football League in a successful effort aimed at increasing their income at the expense of clubs in the lower divisions. Links with The Football League were maintained, and each season the bottom three clubs are relegated from the Premier League and replaced by three from the Football League Championship.
At the top of the Premier League, the second placed club currently qualify for the Champions League, joining the Premier League winners. The third and fourth placed clubs also qualify, but have to win a two-legged preliminary match against another side. This means that although four English teams can be in the Champions League proper, only two are guaranteed places. The fifth placed club qualifies for the UEFA Cup, and the sixth and seventh may also qualify if one of the top four clubs also wins either the FA Cup or League Cup. The number of clubs qualifying for European competition is determined by UEFA and is based on previous years' results.
The Football League
Although the oldest league in the world, The Football League now ranks second in the hierarchy of English football after the split of England's top clubs in 1992 to form the FA Premier League. The Football League has 72 member clubs evenly divided among three divisions: the Football League Championship, Football League One and Football League Two..
The National League System
Many teams operate reserve teams in separate leagues; in some lower levels of the pyramid, reserve teams play against first teams. The main leagues for reserve teams of professional clubs are the FA Premier Reserve League , the Pontins Central League , and the Pontins Football Combination .
The FA Cup
The FA Cup is the oldest and most respected national cup competition in the world. It is open to around 600 clubs in the higher levels of the pyramid.
The Football League Cup
Other cup competitions
The Football League Trophy, currently known by its sponsored name of the LDV Vans Trophy, is a competition for clubs in the Football League One and Football League Two, as well as a number of specially invited clubs from the Football Conference.
The FA Trophy is open to leading clubs in the next few levels below the Football League, and the FA Vase to clubs in the next couple of levels below that. These competitions replaced the FA Amateur Cup, which was the leading competition for non-League teams for many years.Representative teams from leagues lower than capable of being competitive in the Vase contest the FA National League System Cup, and the FA Sunday Cup is for Sunday League Football teams.
Other defunct national cup competitions include:
The England national team
The first recorded women's football match in England was more than 100 years ago but it is only in recent years that women's football has begun to receive some serious attention, in the form of televised matches (such as the FA Women's Cup final), international games being held at larger stadia and, to a lesser extent, the comedy film Bend It Like Beckham.
Burton Brewers' 57-0 loss against Willenhall Town on March 4, 2001 in the West Midland Regional Women's Football League, Division One North may be a British record for the biggest defeat in a football match .
Beyond organised football
Football in England is not just a spectator sport or the preserve of official leagues and clubs, but a sport attracting mass participation at many different levels and in a wide variety of forms.
Seasons in English football
1870s: 1871-72 - 1872-73 - 1873-74 - 1874-75 - 1875-76 - 1876-77 - 1877-78 - 1878-79
1880s: 1879-80 - 1880-81 - 1881-82 - 1882-83 - 1883-84 - 1884-85 - 1885-86 - 1886-87 - 1887-88 - 1888-89
1890s: 1889-90 - 1890-91 - 1891-92 - 1892-93 - 1893-94 - 1894-95 - 1895-96 - 1896-97 - 1897-98 - 1898-99
1900s: 1899-1900 - 1900-01 - 1901-02 - 1902-03 - 1903-04 - 1904-05 - 1905-06 - 1906-07 - 1907-08 - 1908-09
1910s: 1909-10 - 1910-11 - 1911-12 - 1912-13 - 1913-14 - 1914-15 - 1915-16 - 1916-17 - 1917-18 - 1918-19
1920s: 1919-20 - 1920-21 - 1921-22 - 1922-23 - 1923-24 - 1924-25 - 1925-26 - 1926-27 - 1927-28 - 1928-29
1930s: 1929-30 - 1930-31 - 1931-32 - 1932-33 - 1933-34 - 1934-35 - 1935-36 - 1936-37 - 1937-38 - 1938-39
1940s: 1939-40 - 1940-41 - 1941-42 - 1942-43 - 1943-44 - 1944-45 - 1945-46 - 1946-47 - 1947-48 - 1948-49
1950s: 1949-50 - 1950-51 - 1951-52 - 1952-53 - 1953-54 - 1954-55 - 1955-56 - 1956-57 - 1957-58 - 1958-59
1960s: 1959-60 - 1960-61 - 1961-62 - 1962-63 - 1963-64 - 1964-65 - 1965-66 - 1966-67 - 1967-68 - 1968-69
1970s: 1969-70 - 1970-71 - 1971-72 - 1972-73 - 1973-74 - 1974-75 - 1975-76 - 1976-77 - 1977-78 - 1978-79
1980s: 1979-80 - 1980-81 - 1981-82 - 1982-83 - 1983-84 - 1984-85 - 1985-86 - 1986-87 - 1987-88 - 1988-89
1990s: 1989-90 - 1990-91 - 1991-92 - 1992-93 - 1993-94 - 1994-95 - 1995-96 - 1996-97 - 1997-98 - 1998-99
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