English Football

iStock_000013741498_LargeUnquestionably, the national sport and social mainstay in England is association football and it has been so since 1863, with the kind of rules and structures that we still know and respect today. But the concept of kicking a ball around for fun in England is one that reaches back to the 13th century. Everything, from a reflection on football as an evil in society to understanding it as a healthy alternative to masturbation for young men, was raised in the messy collaboration that over the centuries yielded today’s football rules, codes of conduct and structures that define play.

A Pyramid of Leagues

Association football is premised on the existence of the football clubs themselves, which annually take part in a league. With over 7,000 different teams in the United Kingdom, a pyramidal hierarchy was formed, which effectively gives even the most obscure and least known clubs the chance to work itself through the system, if it is strong enough.

It’s Not All About Talent

Ascending through that pyramid is not just about scoring goals, however. A team can be promoted to the championship of the Premier League through meeting criteria set by the league and this can include having the appropriate funding or facilities, over and above the talent and scores.

Who’s on Top?

The pyramid of league football in England has a single division of the Premier League at its apex, a development to the notion of league football that was formalized in 1992. This cream of the football crop comprises 20 clubs who vie against one another for the winning position over a ten month season each year. The Premier League season this year ends in May 2017. The 20 competing clubs are the top 17 of the previous year’s league, plus the top three from the Championship, which is the next rung down from the Premier League.

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