Poland is a country in Central Europe, bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine and Belarus to the east; and the Baltic Sea, Kaliningrad and Lithuania to the north. Poland has a population of 38.5 million people and the capital is Warsaw.
The history of football in Poland started in the late 19th century with the rising popularity of the new sport. The first decades of Polish football were connected with the history of Football in Austria with the Polish Football Union (PFU), the forerunner of the Polish Football Association being part of the Austrian Football Union.
The Polish Football Association (Polski Związek Piłki Nożnej) is the governing body of football in Poland and is based in Warsaw. The PZPN oversees all aspects of football in the country including the Ekstraklasa and the Polish national football team. The organisation was founded in 1919 and became affiliated FIFA in 1923 and to UEFA in 1954.
The Ekstraklasa (commonly known as T-Mobile Ekstraklasa after the league's sponsor) is the highest football league in Poland. The competition was established in 1927 as the Liga Piłki Nożnej with 14 clubs, Wisła Kraków winning the title some 4 points ahead of 1. FC Kattowitz. The most successful clubs in Polish football in terms of league championship wins is held jointly by Górnik Zabrze and Wisła Kraków, followed by Ruch Chorzów. At the present time 16 clubs compete in the top division.
Below the top tier, the national league structure comprises the I liga (1 section of 18 clubs), II Liga (2 sections serving 36 clubs) and III Liga (8 sections serving 128 clubs). The IV Liga has 20 divisions and is run on a regional basis. Below this level covering tiers 6 to 9 there are Regional Leagues with many divisions which are administered by the various regional football associations. There is a system of promotion and relegation between the tiers.
The Polish Football Cup (Puchar Polski) is the national knockout cup competition in Polish football. It was first held in 1925 and has been held continuously from 1950. The most successful club in the competition has been Legia Warsaw, followed by Górnik Zabrze and then Lech Poznań. Participation is open to any club registered with the Polish FA, regardless of whether it competes in any league in the national pyramid.
Lower league clubs have to enter regional qualification rounds and the winners of these join the teams from the first and second division in the competition proper. Some 83 clubs normally compete in the final stages of the competition including the regional cup winners.
Main league tables & results
See Current League Tables - for more coverage
Season by season matrix
Appreciation: Full recognition and acknowledgement is made to the work of Historia Polskiej Ligi Piłkarskiej, 90 Minut, Pawel Mogielnicki and Claudio Nicoletti who have catalogued the above tables and at the same time the contributors to the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation.
See Historic League Tables - for more coverage