The 2016-17 season marks the 25th year of the Premier League and since its inception a quarter of a century ago has become the most viewed sports event across the world. Millenials who are into the sport have grown up watching the first division English league and for so many of us, it embodies the very idea of how football should be.
Fast, physical, competitive and oh so entertaining, the Premier League has been a best friend on the idiot box, and now live streams, for almost all our lives.
Growing up alongside the most watched league in the world, have you ever stopped to consider how much you actually know about its history? Sure, we all know that there are 20 teams every year, the top four qualify for the Champions League and the bottom three get relegated to the Championship.
If you’re a diehard or even a casual fan of the Premier League, here are the 5 things you must know about its history:
#5 It wasn’t always 20 teams
The Premier League has always had 20 teams playing out 38 games every season, right? Well, no. Considering how long the system has been in place, it’s a little hard to believe that when the league embarked on its inaugural season, there were 22 clubs. This was, in fact, directly taken from the old first division where each team played the 21 other clubs twice in the season.
However, the system changed from 1995-96 when the number of clubs was reduced to 20 on the insistence of FIFA who stipulated that clubs had to decrease the number of domestic games they were playing.
Thanks to their directive, four clubs from the top division were relegated that year, while only two were promoted. FIFA tried to reduce the number further in 2007-08 by suggesting that only 18 teams participate in the league but the Premier League remained firm in their resolve to retain the 20 team quota.