Much like the sought after houses for sale in Durban, when it comes to professional leagues for men’s football, one of the most revered is the FA Premier League in England. It’s admired for its players, game play, sportsmanship, and most of all, for the thrill it delivers to sports spectators time and again. Yet it took years before it reached its current level of professionalism as the Premier League.
The Premier League is composed of 20 English football clubs and a few Welsh, Scottish, and Irish footballs (if they qualify for the main draw). Each of the 20 football clubs is considered as a shareholder of the league which means they have a direct participation in its operations and management. The football season is from August to May of the following year and each of the participating teams will be required to play 38 matches each.
One of the common confusions about the league is alternate use of the titles Barclays Premier League or English Premier League. They all refer to the same league. Barclays is the current major sponsor so it gets to be officially called Barclays Premier League. Once it stops being the main official sponsor, the title changes accordingly. The use of the English Premier League is more common among international groups or persons living outside of Great Britain.
FA Premier League
Before 1992, the league was nonexistent because the football clubs all played under The Football League. The Football League First Division clubs made a decision to create a splinter league because of an offer to make more money on TV. The Football League was England’s original football league having been established in 1888, more than a century ago.
One of the challenges of the league is to keep fans and players happy. Players and football clubs in particular continue to threaten leaving the league for more money as football continues to grow as an international sport. Thus far, they have managed to appease the clubs and players to stay. They also established the Founder Members Premier League or FA Premier League. Only the top football clubs were included in the foundation. Part of its charter was to be able to negotiate deals like TV, radio, and sponsorship contracts independently. This led to a new structure in professional football in England.
Organization-wise, the move caused confusion because it upset the balance of a number of games played and inclusion in world games like the FIFA World Cup. It was only after FIFA stepped in and made a new ruling on domestic games that the football league in England began to resolve its issues.
Financially, it was a spectacular decision because it brought football into many new homes and this year’s football season 2013 to 2014 is expected to rake in as much as 3 billion Pounds sterling in revenues.
Moreover, it has made the footballs clubs, coaches, and players world-famous reaching as many as 4.7 billion people globally. The current football club to have won the most championships since the start of the Premier League is Manchester United with 13 championship trophies including the one just concluded, 2012 to 2013.
This remarkable turnaround for English football clubs is a far cry from its status during the late 1980s. At that time, no one wanted them in their league. There were no fans, sponsors, facilities, and money. In fact, English football clubs were banned for 5 years from any competition in Europe after unruly behavior by Liverpool fans led to the death of 35 fans of the Italian football club and hundreds others were injured. After the tragedy, many English football players joined European teams in order to stay in the game and continue to earn a living.
In 2007, FA Football League was officially changed to simply Premier League.
Today, the league is back on its feet and doing exemplary work in promoting the sport. England competes in many international tournaments including the 1990 FIFA World Cup and was in the Group 6 First Round qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.