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The Football League

The Football League, also known as the npower Football League for sponsorship reasons, is a league competition featuring professional association football clubs from England and Wales. Founded in 1888, it is the oldest such competition in world football. It was the top level football league in England from its foundation in the 19th century until 1992, when the top 20 clubs split away to form the Premier League.

The Football League has been associated with a title sponsor since 1983. As this sponsor has changed over the years the league has been known in turn as the Canon League, the Today League, the Barclays League, the Endsleigh League, the Nationwide Football League and the Coca-Cola Football League, until the present sponsor npower was adopted in 2010, contracted until 2013.

Since 1995 it has had 72 clubs evenly divided into three divisions, which are known as The Championship, League One, and League Two. Promotion and relegation between these divisions is a central feature of the League and is further extended to allow the top Championship clubs to exchange places with the lowest placed clubs in the Premier League, and the bottom clubs of League Two to switch with the top clubs of the Football Conference, thus integrating the League into the English football league system. Although primarily a competition for English clubs, one club from Wales also takes part, while in the past Swansea City, Wrexham, Newport County, Merthyr Town and Aberdare Athletic have been members.

The Football League is also the name of the governing body of the league competition, and this body also organises two knock-out cup competitions, the Football League Cup and the Football League Trophy.

The operations centre of The Football League is located in Preston, while its commercial office is in London. It was formerly based in Lytham St. Annes, after its original spell in Preston.

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