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EFL Championship: All you need to know

The EFL Championship is known to be one of the most competitive and difficult leagues to predict in European football, which also helps make it one of the most entertaining to watch.

With the incentive of three teams being promoted to the Premier League every season, there is always plenty at stake in the second tier of English football, a division that is packed full of some of historically the biggest clubs in the English game.

WhatEFL Championship
WhereVarious grounds across England and Wales
When29th July 2022 - 6th May 2023
How to watchSky Sports
OddsBurnley 2/5, Sheff Utd 5/2, Middlesbrough 50/1, Watford 50/1, West Brom 66/1

What is the EFL Championship?

The Championship is the second-highest division in the English Football League pyramid and consists of 24 teams, with the top two at the end of each season being promoted to the Premier League automatically.

The final promotion place is decided via a playoff format, with the teams that finish 3rd-6th contesting two, two-legged semi-finals, with the winner from each of those ties going on to face each other in the final at Wembley.

Billed as the 'richest game in football', the winner of that one-off final at Wembley will not only secure promotion to the Premier League, but they will also receive a windfall of upwards of £135m.

There are also three relegation places to fill in each Championship season, with the bottom three teams in the division at the end of every campaign suffering relegation to League One.

When did the Championship start?

There has been a second tier of the English Football League pyramid for the last 131 years, but the division has taken on different guises over that time.

For the first 100 years of its existence it was known as the Football League Second Division, but that all changed in 1992 with the formation of the Premier League.

The Premier League replaced the Football League First Division as the top tier of the EFL pyramid, with the second tier then becoming known as the First Division for the next 12 years.

However, in 2004 the second tier was rebranded again and became known as the Championship, the title it still holds to this day.

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Which teams have won the Championship title the most?

Since the Championship took on its current form in 2004, 13 teams have been crowned champions of the second tier, with Sunderland landing the first title during the 2004/05 season.

Of those 13 teams, five have lifted the title twice - Sunderland, Reading, Wolves, Newcastle and Norwich, the latter claiming the second of their titles in 2021.

Fulham were the last team to lift the Championship trophy aloft, as they finished top of the standings during the 2021/22, campaign.

The second tier of course dates back further than 2004 and the most-successful teams in the history of the competition are Leicester and Manchester City, who have both won the title on seven occasions.

Can I watch the Championship on television?

Yes. Sky Sports hold the rights to show Championship matches, with up to 138 being broadcast live across the 2022/23 campaign.

In addition to that, selected midweek matches are also shown via the Sky Sports red button and/or on club streaming platform iFollow.

There is also a highlights programme shown after every gameweek on ITV.

Who are the favourites to win the 2022/23 Championship?

After being relegated from the Premier League on the final day of the 2021/22 season, Burnley look like the team to beat in the Championship this term, with Vincent Kompany's side currently riding high at the top of the standings and they are 2/5 in the To Win Outright market.

Sheffield United are the only team currently within touching distance of the high-flying Clarets at the top of the standings, with Paul Heckingbottom's team 5/2 to win the title and 1/6 to be promoted.

The top two in the Championship are currently well clear at the top of the standings, but the race for the playoffs and third and final promotion place remains wide open.

Middlesbrough (10/3), Watford (9/2), West Brom (9/2), Norwich (5/1) and Blackburn (7/1) all have their merits in the To Be Promoted market, but with so little separating the team in third from sides in the bottom half of the standings, this promises to be one of closest-fought playoff battles for quite some time.

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