The English Football League (EFL) Championship, commonly referred to as the Championship, is the second tier of professional league soccer behind the Premier League in England. It is the highest division of the EFL. The winner is awarded the Football League Championship trophy and earns a promotion to the Premier League. The 2nd place finisher is also automatically promoted to the Premier League. The 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th place teams enter a playoff with the winner earning a Premier League promotion.
The 24-team league features 552 matches with each club played every other club home and away (46 matches per team) between August through May. Teams are awarded 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, and 0 point for a loss.
In addition to the 3 teams promoted to the Premier League, the 3 teams that finish at the bottom of the league are relegated to the Football League One.
The current league structure was established in 2004 when the EFL divisions were re-branded as Football League Championship, Football League One, and Football League Two. Other changes were made at lower levels of English football.
But the EFL is the continuation of the English league play established in 1892. From 1892 until the formation of the Premier League in 1992, the EFL was known as Division Two. Once the Premier League was formed, creating a new league separate from the Football League, the league was called Division One. The league has always used a relegation/promotion system with the top flight where it was the Premier League or Division One.
In addition to league matches, EFL clubs qualify for the FA Cup, the oldest football association tournament in the world, with the winner earning a berth in the UEFA Europa League as well as the FA Community shield match, the annual game between Premier League champions and Cup champions. EFL clubs also earn a berth along with the other clubs from the top divisions of English football in the EFL Cup. The winner earns a berth in the UEFA Europa League.