|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 Conference League
|Current champions|| Legia Warsaw (15th title) |
|Most championships|| Legia Warsaw |
|Most appearances||Łukasz Surma (559)|
|Top goalscorer||Ernest Pohl (186)|
|TV partners||List of broadcasters|
|Current: 2020–21 Ekstraklasa|
The Ekstraklasa (Polish pronunciation: [ˌɛkstraˈklasa] ), named PKO Ekstraklasa since the 2019–20 season due to its sponsorship by PKO Bank Polski, is the top Polish professional league for men's association football teams. UEFA currently (2016-2021) ranks the league 30th.
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 30 games each. 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).
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 82 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 Legia Warsaw, who won their 15th title in 2020–21 season.
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.
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.
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, Mieczysław 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.
In 1929 yet another team (after Cracovia, Pogon Lwów and Wisła) was added to the list of champions of Poland. This time it was Warta Poznań, which finished one point ahead of Garbarnia Kraków.
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.
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:
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.
|Górnik Zabrze||Zabrze||Stadion im. Ernesta Pohla||24,563 1|
|Jagiellonia Białystok||Białystok||Stadion Miejski||22,432|
|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|
|Piast Gliwice||Gliwice||Stadion Miejski||10,037|
|Podbeskidzie Bielsko-Biała||Bielsko-Biała||Stadion Miejski||15,076|
|Pogoń Szczecin||Szczecin||Stadion im. Floriana Krygiera||4,200 3|
|Raków Częstochowa||Bełchatów||Stadion GKS 2||5,264|
|Stal Mielec||Mielec||Stadion Stali||6,864|
|Śląsk Wrocław||Wrocław||Stadion Miejski||45,105|
|Warta Poznań||Poznań||Stadion Dyskobolii 4||5,383|
|Wisła Kraków||Kraków||Stadion im. Henryka Reymana||33,326|
|Wisła Płock||Płock||Stadion im. Kazimierza Górskiego||12,800|
|Zagłębie Lubin||Lubin||Stadion Zagłębia||16,068|
°Abandoned due to the outbreak of World War II. On 31 August 1939 Ruch Chorzów was the leader.
°°In 1951, the Polish Football Association decided to give the Champion of Poland title to the winner of the Polish Cup, in order to increase the importance of the re-activated cup competition. Ruch Chorzów was 6th in the league, but won the cup, beating 2-0 Wisła Kraków in the final game. Wisła Kraków was announced the league champion.
Note: This list is not synonymous with a list of Polish football champions.
Bold indicates clubs playing in the top division in the 2020–21 season.
|Legia Warsaw||1955, 1956, 1969, 1970, 1994, 1995, 2002, 2006, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020, 2021|
|Górnik Zabrze||1957, 1959, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988|
|Wisła Kraków||1927, 1928, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1978, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2011|
|Ruch Chorzów||1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1938, 1952, 1953, 1960, 1968, 1974, 1975, 1979, 1989|
|Lech Poznań||1983, 1984, 1990, 1992, 1993, 2010, 2015|
|Cracovia||1930, 1932, 1937, 1948|
|Widzew Łódź||1981, 1982, 1996, 1997|
|Polonia Bytom||1954, 1962|
|ŁKS Łódź||1958, 1998|
|Stal Mielec||1973, 1976|
|Śląsk Wrocław||1977, 2012|
|Zagłębie Lubin||1991, 2007|
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 (15), 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)|
The following table lists the league champions by city.
|Kraków||Wisła Kraków (14), Cracovia (4), Garbarnia Kraków (1)|
|Warsaw||Legia Warsaw (15), Polonia Warsaw (1)|
|Zabrze||Górnik Zabrze (14)|
|Chorzów||Ruch Chorzów (13)|
|Poznań||Lech Poznań (7), Warta Poznań (1)|
|Łódź||Widzew Łódź (4), ŁKS Łódź (2)|
|Bytom||Polonia Bytom (2), Szombierki Bytom (1)|
|Lubin||Zagłębie Lubin (2)|
|Wrocław||Śląsk Wrocław (2)|
|Mielec||Stal Mielec (2)|
|Gliwice||Piast Gliwice (1)|
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 2021) officially sanctioned Championship stars are:
The all-time league table consists of all the teams that once participated in the Ekstraklasa. Data from the 1927 – 2018–19 seasons.
Source: Tabela wszech czasów Ekstraklasy (1927–2019) 90minut.pl
From 1927 to 2019 a total of 81 teams contested in the Ekstraklasa.
Bold- indicates teams currently playing in the Ekstraklasa 2020–21 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:
With the following mergers and acquisitions teams:
All-time Top 10 goalscorers
All-time most appearances
|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:
The following data indicates Polish coefficient rankings between European football leagues.
All matches from the 2011–12 are telecast live nationally by Canal+ Poland. From 2019–20 Telewizja Polska has the rights to air live 1 game per week on a non-scrambled channel.
The Polish Cup in football is an elimination tournament for Polish football clubs, held continuously from 1950, and is the second most important national title in Polish football after the Ekstraklasa title. Due to mass participation of teams, the tournament is often called The Cup of the Thousand Teams.
The 2007–08 Ekstraklasa started in July 2007 and ended in mid-May 2008. It was run by the Ekstraklasa SA.
Football Junior Championships of Poland Under-19 is a competition with a long, 71-year history, which started in the summer of 1936.
The 2008–09 Ekstraklasa was the seventy-fifth season of top-tier football in Poland. It began on 8 August 2008 and ended on 30 May 2009. The season was originally scheduled to start on 25 July 2008. However, the first two rounds of games were postponed because of legal uncertainties about the number of teams in the competition following an association-wide corruption scandal.
Statistics of Ekstraklasa for the 1962 season.
The 2013-14 season was the 74th season of Wisła Kraków in Ekstraklasa.
Zawisza Bydgoszcz are a Polish Football club which are based in Bydgoszcz. During the 2013/14 campaign they will compete in the Ekstraklasa and Polish Cup.
The 2014-15 season was the 75th season of Wisła Kraków in the Ekstraklasa.
The Central Junior League is the highest level in Polish Under-19 football. Created in mid-2013, it replaced Mloda Ekstraklasa. The winner of the CLJ advances to the UEFA Youth League.
KS Cracovia is a Polish sports club based in Kraków.During the 2015-16 campaign they will compete in the following competitions:Ekstraklasa, Polish Cup.
The 1956 season was Wisła Kraków's 48th year as a club.
The 2013–14 Ekstraklasa season was Lechia's 70th since their creation, and was their 6th continuous season in the top league of Polish football.
The 1982–83 Polish Cup was the 29th edition of the annual Polish football knockout tournament. It started on the 23 July 1982 and finished on 22 June 1983. The finalists were 2nd division Piast Gliwice and 3rd division Lechia Gdańsk, with Lechia Gdańsk winning the Polish Cup for the first time after winning the final 2–1.
The 2020–21 Polish Cup was the sixty-seventh season of the annual Polish football knockout tournament. It began on 8 August 2020 with the first matches of the preliminary round and ended with the final on 2 May 2021 at Arena Lublin. The 2020–21 edition of the Polish Cup was sponsored by Fortuna, making the official name Fortuna Puchar Polski. Winners of the competition qualified for the second qualifying round of the 2021–22 UEFA Europa Conference League.
The League Cup was a short lived cup competition in Poland spanning two editions in 1977 and 1978.