The Ekstraklasa (Polish pronunciation: [ˌɛkstraˈklasa]), named Lotto Ekstraklasa since the 2016–17 season due to its sponsorship by Lotto, is the top Polish professional league for men's association football teams (it is the country's primary football competition). The winner of the Ekstraklasa claims the Polish national championship. Contested by 16 clubs, operating a system of promotion and relegation with the I liga, seasons start in July, and end in May or June the following year. Teams play a total of 37 games each, totalling 296 matches in the season. Games are played on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. The winner of the Ekstraklasa qualifies for the Polish SuperCup. The Ekstraklasa is now operated by the Ekstraklasa SA (English: Ekstraklasa Joint-stock company).
|Organising body||Ekstraklasa SA|
|Founded||4 December 1926|
|Number of teams||16|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||I liga|
|Domestic cup(s)||Polish Cup|
|International cup(s)||UEFA Champions League|
UEFA Europa League
|Current champions||Piast Gliwice (1st title) |
|Most championships||Górnik Zabrze|
(14 titles each)
|Most appearances||Łukasz Surma (559)|
|Top goalscorer||Ernest Pohl (186 goals)|
|TV partners||NC+, Eurosport 2|
(List of broadcasers)
The Ekstraklasa (former I liga) was officially formed as Liga Polska on 4–5 December 1926 in Warsaw, since 1 March 1927 as Liga Piłki Nożnej (Polish pronunciation: [ˈlʲiɡa ˈpiwki ˈnɔʐnɛj]), but the Polish Football Association (Polish: Polski Związek Piłki Nożnej, PZPN) had been in existence since 20 December 1919, a year after the independence of Poland in 1918. The first games of the freshly created league took place on 3 April 1927, while first national non-league football championship took place in 1920.
A total of 81 teams have played in the top division of Polish football since the founding of the league, of which 16 clubs have won the title. The current champions are Piast Gliwice, who won their first-ever title in 2018–19 season.
Creation of the Polish Football LeagueEdit
On 4–5 December 1926 in Warsaw, representatives from several Polish clubs met for the purpose of discussing the creation of a league. It is unknown where the idea of a Polish league originated from, however a national league was thought to be a much more practical solution than hitherto practiced two-stage system of regional matches followed by a national match.
To dismay of clubs' officials, the PZPN was not receptive to the idea of a national league and therefore sought to thwart it. However, it turned out that virtually all but one of the Polish clubs supported the idea. The decision to create it was made regardless what PZPN's representatives thought of it. In late February 1927, at the PZPN's meeting in Warsaw, its officials openly opposed the formation of a league, but the clubs, allegedly egged on by some generals from the Polish Army (which, after May Coup of 1926, played a key role in all aspects of public life), proceeded anyway. The creation of the League was announced on 1 March 1927.
The only opponent of the league's formation was Cracovia – a very influential and strong organization in Polish football of the 1920s. Cracovia's boycott was because its chairman, Dr. Edward Cetnarowski, at the same time held the post of the director of the PZPN. Cetnarowski was a personality known not only in Poland, but also in other countries. It was due to his efforts that in September 1923, Cracovia toured Spain, drawing 1–1 with Barcelona and losing 0–1 to Real Madrid. In October, also thanks to Cetnarowski, Sevilla travelled to Kraków, losing 2–3 to Cracovia.
Early years of the leagueEdit
Games of the first championships started on 3 April 1927. All major teams (except for Cracovia) took part in it. This is the list of the teams (in the order they finished in November 1927):
In this first season of the league, fight for championship was decided between two powerful teams – Wisła Kraków and 1.FC Katowice. This rivalry was treated very seriously, not only by the two sides involved, but also by the whole nation. 1.FC was regarded as the team supported by German minority, while Wisła, at the end of this historic season, represented ambitions of all Poles.
Some time in the fall of 1927 in Katowice, an ill-fated game between 1.FC and Wisła took place. Stakes were very high – the winner would become the champion. Kraków's side won 2–0 and became the champion. 1.FC finished second, third was Warta Poznań.
1927–1932: dominance of Kraków teamsEdit
In 1928 Cracovia finally decided to enter the league, which was gladly accepted by all fans of football. However, championships were once again won by Wisła, with such excellent players as Henryk Reyman, Mieczyslaw Balcer and Jan Kotlarczyk. Warta Poznań was second and Legia Warsaw third. This was also the last year of 1.FC's glory. The team finished fifth, to be relegated forever at the end of 1929 season.
However, after the last game, on 1 December 1929, it was Garbarnia Kraków that was celebrating the championship. Two weeks later, in mid-December, PZPN's officials changed the result of the Warta – Klub Turystow Łódź game. Originally, Warta lost 1–2, but due to walk-over (it was decided that one of Łódź's players did not have all necessary documents), this was changed to 3–0 in favor of Poznań's side. As a result of the decision, Warta (with 33 points) became the champion, Garbarnia finished second with 32 points and Klub Turystow was relegated.
In 1930, Cracovia regained the championship, (to repeat this success in 1932) and a year later another Kraków's side, Garbarnia, won the league. It is clear that the 1927–1932 period was marked by dominance of teams from Kraków. During this time, only once (Warta Poznań, 1929) the championship was won by a side from a different city. The 1931 champion, Garbarnia, was unique as this was the first time that the league had been won by a side whose all players had been bought from other teams.
1933–1939: Upper Silesian dominanceEdit
As has been said, the early 1930s marked a decline of the dominance of Kraków and Lwów as centers of Polish football. The point of gravity slowly moved towards west – to Polish part of Upper Silesia, which had belonged to Poland since 1921 (see: Silesian Uprisings). In 1932 the champion was Cracovia, but starting in 1933, Ruch Chorzów (then: Ruch Wielkie Hajduki) completely dominated the league, being the champion for four times in a row.
Ruch, with such excellent players as Teodor Peterek, Ernest Wilimowski and Gerard Wodarz was by far the best team in those years. For example, in 1934 it finished seven points ahead of second Cracovia. Other important teams of these years were: Cracovia, Wisła Kraków, Pogoń Lwów and Warta Poznań.
In 1933 and 1934 there were 12 teams in the League. In 1935 this number was cut to 11 and in 1936 – to 10. Football officials did it on purpose – with fewer teams, the competition was supposed to be harder, which would attract fans to the stadiums. However, supporters' turnout was not impressive, with Ruch Chorzów as the most popular team, both at home and away.
In late 1935 (the league held its games in the spring-summer-fall system) fans were shocked to find that Cracovia, the legend of this sport, was relegated to the A-class. Kraków's side absence lasted for a year – it returned in 1937, to become the champion.
Ruch Chorzów was still the dominant team, winning the Championships in 1936 and 1938. In 1937 Ruch's streak of four consecutive champions was broken by Cracovia, and in 1939 the championships were not finished. By 31 August 1939, after some 12 games, Ruch was the leader of the 10-team League. Last games of this summer occurred on 20 August. Then, a break was planned, because the National Team was going to play a few international friendlies. Games were to be re-introduced on 10 September.
This is the list of the ten teams that participated in last, historic games for championships of interwar Poland. Teams are presented according to their position on the table, as of 31 August 1939:
- Ruch Chorzów
- Wisła Kraków
- Pogoń Lwów
- AKS Chorzów
- Warta Poznań.
- Polonia Warsaw
- Garbarnia Kraków
- Warszawianka Warsaw
- Union Touring Łódź
After World War IIEdit
As a result of the Second World War, the borders of Poland changed significantly. Lwów, one of the centers of Polish football (with such teams as Pogoń Lwów, Czarni Lwów and Lechia Lwów) was annexed by Soviet Union and all these teams ceased to exist. Lwów's football officials and players moved westwards, creating such clubs as Polonia Bytom, Odra Opole and Pogoń Szczecin (see: Recovered Territories). Another important center, Wilno (with the team Śmigły Wilno), was also annexed by the Soviets (see: Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union). In exchange, Poland gained a large swath of formerly German territory in particular in Silesia, with its capital Wrocław (home of double champion Śląsk Wrocław) and towns such as Zabrze (home of 14-times champion Górnik Zabrze, Bytom (home of champions Polonia Bytom and Szombierki Bytom) and Lubin (home of double champion Zagłębie Lubin). 18 teams played in the league between seasons of 1992 and 1998.
There are 16 clubs in the Ekstraklasa. During the course of the season each club plays the others twice, once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents, for a total of 30 games (240 games in the season). From the 2013–14 season onward after 30th round league will be split into 'champion' (top eight teams) and 'relegation' (bottom eight teams) groups. Each team plays seven more games (teams ranked 1–4 and 9–12 play four times at home). The 2016–17 season was last when teams started an extra round with half the points (rounded up) achieved during the first phase of 30 matches. The changes extend the season to total of 296 matches played.
- Note: Table lists in alphabetical order.
|Arka Gdynia||Gdynia||Stadion Miejski||15,139|
|Górnik Zabrze||Zabrze||Stadion im. Ernesta Pohla||24,4132|
|Jagiellonia Białystok||Białystok||Stadion Miejski||22,432|
|Korona Kielce||Kielce||Kolporter Arena||15,550|
|Lech Poznań||Poznań||Stadion Miejski||43,269|
|Lechia Gdańsk||Gdańsk||Stadion Energa Gdańsk||43,615|
|Legia Warsaw||Warsaw||Stadion im. Marszałka Józefa Piłsudskiego||31,800|
|Miedź Legnica||Legnica||Stadion im. Orła Białego||6,244|
|Piast Gliwice||Gliwice||Stadion Miejski||10,037|
|Pogoń Szczecin||Szczecin||Stadion im. Floriana Krygiera||18,027|
|Śląsk Wrocław||Wrocław||Stadion Miejski||42,771|
|Wisła Kraków||Kraków||Stadion im. Henryka Reymana||33,326|
|Wisła Płock||Płock||Stadion im. Kazimierza Górskiego||12,800|
|Zagłębie Lubin||Lubin||Stadion KGHM Zagłębia||16,068|
|Zagłębie Sosnowiec||Sosnowiec||Stadion Ludowy||7,500 (4,900 seats)|
- ^ Upgrading to 31,871.
List of league championsEdit
- 1927: Wisła Kraków
- 1928: Wisła Kraków
- 1929: Warta Poznań
- 1930: Cracovia
- 1931: Garbarnia Kraków
- 1932: Cracovia
- 1933: Ruch Chorzów
- 1934: Ruch Chorzów
- 1935: Ruch Chorzów
- 1936: Ruch Chorzów
- 1937: Cracovia
- 1938: Ruch Chorzów
- 1939: Abandoned*
- 1948: Cracovia
- 1949: Wisła Kraków
- 1950: Wisła Kraków
- 1951: Wisła Kraków
- 1952: Ruch Chorzów
- 1953: Ruch Chorzów
- 1954: Polonia Bytom
- 1955: Legia Warsaw
- 1956: Legia Warsaw
- 1957: Górnik Zabrze
- 1958: ŁKS Łódź
- 1959: Górnik Zabrze
- 1960: Ruch Chorzów
- 1961: Górnik Zabrze
- 1962: Polonia Bytom
- 1962–63: Górnik Zabrze
- 1963–64: Górnik Zabrze
- 1964–65: Górnik Zabrze
- 1965–66: Górnik Zabrze
- 1966–67: Górnik Zabrze
- 1967–68: Ruch Chorzów
- 1968–69: Legia Warsaw
- 1969–70: Legia Warsaw
- 1970–71: Górnik Zabrze
- 1971–72: Górnik Zabrze
- 1972–73: Stal Mielec
- 1973–74: Ruch Chorzów
- 1974–75: Ruch Chorzów
- 1975–76: Stal Mielec
- 1976–77: Śląsk Wrocław
- 1977–78: Wisła Kraków
- 1978–79: Ruch Chorzów
- 1979–80: Szombierki Bytom
- 1980–81: Widzew Łódź
- 1981–82: Widzew Łódź
- 1982–83: Lech Poznań
- 1983–84: Lech Poznań
- 1984–85: Górnik Zabrze
- 1985–86: Górnik Zabrze
- 1986–87: Górnik Zabrze
- 1987–88: Górnik Zabrze
- 1988–89: Ruch Chorzów
- 1989–90: Lech Poznań
- 1990–91: Zagłębie Lubin
- 1991–92: Lech Poznań
- 1992–93: Lech Poznań
- 1993–94: Legia Warsaw
- 1994–95: Legia Warsaw
- 1995–96: Widzew Łódź
- 1996–97: Widzew Łódź
- 1997–98: ŁKS Łódź
- 1998–99: Wisła Kraków
- 1999–00: Polonia Warsaw
- 2000–01: Wisła Kraków
- 2001–02: Legia Warsaw
- 2002–03: Wisła Kraków
- 2003–04: Wisła Kraków
- 2004–05: Wisła Kraków
- 2005–06: Legia Warsaw
- 2006–07: Zagłębie Lubin
- 2007–08: Wisła Kraków
- 2008–09: Wisła Kraków
- 2009–10: Lech Poznań
- 2010–11: Wisła Kraków
- 2011–12: Śląsk Wrocław
- 2012–13: Legia Warsaw
- 2013–14: Legia Warsaw
- 2014–15: Lech Poznań
- 2015–16: Legia Warsaw
- 2016–17: Legia Warsaw
- 2017–18: Legia Warsaw
- 2018–19: Piast Gliwice
Clubs by number of league championshipsEdit
Bold indicates clubs currently playing in the top division.
|Ruch Chorzów||1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1938, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1960, 1968, 1974, 1975, 1979, 1989|
|Górnik Zabrze||1957, 1959, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988|
|Wisła Kraków||1927, 1928, 1949, 1950, 1978, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2011|
|Legia Warsaw||1955, 1956, 1969, 1970, 1994, 1995, 2002, 2006, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018|
|Lech Poznań||1983, 1984, 1990, 1992, 1993, 2010, 2015|
|Cracovia||1930, 1932, 1937, 1948|
|Widzew Łódź||1981, 1982, 1996, 1997|
|Polonia Bytom||1954, 1962|
|Stal Mielec||1973, 1976|
|ŁKS Łódź||1958, 1998|
|Zagłębie Lubin||1991, 2007|
|Śląsk Wrocław||1977, 2012|
|Polonia Warsaw||1946, 2000|
The following table lists the league champions by the Polish voivodeship regions (current, valid since 1999).
|Silesia||Górnik Zabrze (14), Ruch Chorzów (13), Polonia Bytom (2), Szombierki Bytom (1), Piast Gliwice (1)|
|Lesser Poland||Wisła Kraków (14), Cracovia (4), Garbarnia Kraków (1)|
|Masovia||Legia Warsaw (13), Polonia Warsaw (1)|
|Greater Poland||Lech Poznań (7), Warta Poznań (1)|
|Łódź||Widzew Łódź (4), ŁKS Łódź (2)|
|Lower Silesia||Zagłębie Lubin (2), Śląsk Wrocław (2)|
|Subcarpathian||Stal Mielec (2)|
After 10 Polish Championship titles a representative golden star is placed above the team's badge to indicate 10 Polish Championship titles.
The current (as of May 2019) officially sanctioned Championship stars are:
- Golden star: 10 or more Polish Championship titles:
- Silver star: 5–9 Polish Championship titles:
- White star: 1–4 Polish Championship titles:
All-time league tableEdit
Source: Tabela wszech czasów Ekstraklasy (1927–2017) 90minut.pl
From 1927 to 2017 a total of 81 teams contested in the Ekstraklasa.
Bold- indicates teams currently playing in the Ekstraklasa 2017–18 season.
1. An equal number of points on the basis of their goal difference, then greater number of goals scored.
2. In seasons 1927 – 1994–95 for a win awarded 2 points and 1 point for a draw. In seasons 1986–87 – 1989–90 for win at least three goals difference additionally awarded 1 point, while a losses at least 3 goals difference subtracted one point. Since the season 1995–96 for win gives 3 points and 1 point for a draw.
3. Included additional qualification games between both teams and league championship and remain in the league (including 11 games in 1948, 1986–87, 1987–88, 1988–89) and was not included in the table play-off for the right to play in the league between teams of different class divisions.
4. Included matches with unfinished 1939 season.
Includes penalties imposed by the Football Association:
- In the season 1934 in the meeting Garbarnia Kraków – ŁKS Łódź held bilateral forfeit 0:3 (match did not take place due to the fault of both teams).
- Matches of the season 1986–87 (Lech Poznań – Polonia Bytom 1:1, Olimpia Poznań – Stal Mielec 1:3, Zagłębie Lubin – Ruch Chorzów 0:2) and the season 1992–93 (Wisła Kraków – Legia Warsaw 0:6, ŁKS Łódź – Olimpia Poznań 7:1 ) on suspicion settings results have been verified as completed, but the teams received points places and infield (and this is included in the table).
- In the season 1993–94 Legia Warsaw, Wisła Kraków and ŁKS Łódź started the game with a negative account (−3 points) as punishment for the events of the final round of the season 1992–93.
- In the season 2009–10 Jagiellonia Białystok was penalized 10 points deduction for participating in the corruption scandal.
- In the season 2012–13 Zagłębie Lubin was penalized 3 points for participating in the corruption scandal.
- In the season 2015–16 Wisła Kraków, Górnik Zabrze, Lechia Gdańsk and Ruch Chorzów were penalized 1 points for failing with licensing requirements.
- In the season 2016–17 Ruch Chorzów waw penalized 4 points for failing with licensing requirements.
Mergers and acquisitions teamsEdit
With the following mergers and acquisitions teams:
- The combination Union Łódź and Klub Turystów Łódź at Union-Touring Łódź (1932) – the balance Klub Turystów and Union-Touring counted together.
- The combination Rymer Niedobczyce and Błyskawica Radlin at Górnik Radlin (1949) – the balance Rymer and Górnik counted together.
- The combination Sokół Pniewy and GKS Tychy at Sokół Tychy (1995) – the balance of the Sokół Pniewy and Sokół Tychy is counted together.
- The combination Olimpia Poznań and Lechia Gdańsk at Lechia/Olimpia Gdańsk (1995) – the balance Lechia/Olimpia Gdańsk is included in the balance sheet Lechia Gdańsk.
- The combination Amica Wronki and Lech Poznań (2006) – Lech Poznań balance before and after the merger is counted together.
- The combination Dyskobolia Grodzisk Wielkopolski and Polonia Warsaw (2008) – Polonia Warsaw balance before and after the merger is counted together.
All-time Top 10 goalscorersEdit
All-time most appearancesEdit
|1.||Roman Górecki||1 March 1927||January 1929|
|2.||Ignacy Izdebski||January 1929||16 January 1933|
|3.||Zygmunt Żołędziowski||16 January 1933||17 January 1936|
|4.||Juliusz Geib||17 January 1936||30 August 1936|
|5.||Michał Jaroszyński||30 August 1936||Fall 1938|
|6.||Karol Stefan Rudolf||Fall 1938||17 September 1939|
|7.||Tadeusz Dręgiewicz||10 August 1946||18 August 1946|
|-||League Suspended||18 August 1946||22 February 1947|
|-||VP PZPN for League||22 February 1947||14 June 2005|
|8.||Michał Tomczak||14 June 2005||29 November 2005|
|9.||Andrzej Rusko||29 November 2005||14 March 2012|
|10.||Bogusław Biszof||1 September 2012||30 June 2015|
|11.||Dariusz Marzec||1 July 2015||9 October 2017|
|12.||Marcin Animucki||9 October 2017||present|
Several clubs have been involved in a corruption scandal and were/are in danger of relegation:
- Arka Gdynia – relegated from 1st to 2nd division, −5 points at the start of 2007/08 season
- Górnik Łęczna – relegated from 1st to 3rd division, −6 points at the start of 2007/08 season
- Górnik Polkowice – 70 000 zł penalty, relegated from 2nd to 4th division, −6 points at the start of 2007/08 season
- Jagiellonia Białystok – docked 10 points at the start of the 2009/10 season, fine of 300,000 zloty
- KSZO Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski – relegated from 2nd to 3rd division, – 6 points at the start of 2007/08 season
- Zagłębie Sosnowiec – at the end of 2007/08 they were relegated from the top division to the 3rd, as they finished the season in the relegation zone, plus one division lower due to corruption.
- Korona Kielce – at the end of 2007/08 they were relegated one level lower due to corruption.
- Zagłębie Lubin (Polish champion 2006–2007) – at the end of 2007/08 they were relegated one level lower due to corruption.
UEFA League Ranking as of 15 March 2019:
UEFA 5-year Club Ranking as of 15 March 2019:
All matches from the 2011–2012 season are telecast live nationally by Canal+ Poland. Telewizja Polska has the rights to air live 1 games per week on a non-scrambled channel. Since 2015–2016 season nc+ will broadcast 6 games a week and Eurosport 2 will broadcast one Friday game and Monday match. Both channels will get their own league magazine.
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