Founded: 16th of April, 1987
Confederation: USEAC (Usean Football Confederation)
Number of Teams: 20
Relegation to: TFL 1st Division
Domestic cup(s): TFA Challenger's Shield
International cup(s): USEAC Challenger's League
USEAC Super Cup
Current champions: Estralas Royals (2nd Title)
Most championships: Fuolopis Glazers (13 titles)
Most appearances: Kieran Robin (700)
Top goalscorer: Max Callahan (311)
The Premier Division, often referred to outside Tertania as the Tertanian Premier Division, or sometimes the TPD, is the top level of the Tertanian football league system. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the Tertanian Football League (TFL). Seasons run from August to May with each team playing 38 matches (playing all 19 other teams both home and away). Most games are played on the weekend, with some exceptions.
The competition was founded as the TFA Premier Division on 16 April 1987 following the decision of clubs in the TFL 1st Division to break away from the Tertanian Football League and take advantage of a television rights deal. The deal was worth about 1.3 billion Tertans a year domestically as of 2013-14. The league is a corporation in which the member clubs act as shareholders, and generates 2.5 billion Tertans per year in domestic and international television rights.
The Premier Division is one of the most-watched sports leagues in the world, broadcast to nearly every territory in the Confederation (who allow it). For the 2018-19 season average Premier Division match attendance was at 43,406. Most stadium occupancies are near capacity.
Fifty-three clubs have competed since the start of the Premier Division in 1987, all of them being Tertanian. Nine of them have won the title: Fuolopis Glazers (13), Estralas Royals (7), Isonphis United (7), Delcroft Travellers (3), Isonphis City (2), Merekians (1) and the Ansvale Anchors (1).
1.2 Emergence of the "High Five" (2010s)
2 Competition Format
2.2 Promotion and Relegation
3 International Competitions
3.1 Performance in international competition
5.2 Transfer regulations and Foreign Players
5.3 Top Scorers
5.5 Player transfer fees
At the close of the 1985-86 season, a proposal was tabled for the establishment of a new league that would bring more money into the game overall. The Founding Clubs Contract, signed on 3 August 1986 by the game's top clubs, established the basic principles for setting up the TFA Premier Division. The newly formed top division was to have commercial independence from the Tertanian Football League, giving the Premier Division licence to negotiate its own broadcast agreements. The argument given at the time was that the extra income would allow Tertanian clubs to compete with teams across Usea. The company Cloud Broadcasting won the bidding for broadcast rights with a bid of 373 million Tertans winning over 4 years, with The Empire being awarded the highlights package broadcast on Fixture's Pictures.
The TFL 1st Division clubs broke away and resigned en masse from the Tertanian Football League in 1987, and on 1st July that year the Premier Division was formed as a limited company. The 20 inaugural members of the new Premier Division were:
Raven Rovers - - Manitea
Morekians - - Blacksmiths
Serherper United - - Rulers
Isonphis United - - Rangers
Isonphis City - - Monks
Fuolopis Glazers - - Erypus Castelliers
Ansvale Anchors - - Lintott
Monroe Minters - - Wroet
Delcroft Travellers - - Estralas Royals
Windrip Snowmen - - Fenway
(OOC: Names on the right side of the list are names of other teams. I couldn't figure out how to put more bullet points alongside them without the list being 20 points long.)
Emergence of the "High Five" (2010s)
The years following 2005 marked a shift in the structure of the league. With more outside investment coming in, several teams started continually finishing within the top five positions in the league. Fans of smaller clubs started coining this as the "High Fives", which eventually became an official term to mark the top 5. The criticism of the gap between the elite "super clubs" in the "High Fives" and the majority of the Premier Division continued due to their increasing ability to spend more than the other Premier Division clubs. The Merekians won the title in the 2013-14 season, becoming the first club outside the "High Five" to win a title since the Ansvale Anchors in the 1989-90 season. With only four USEAC Challenger's League qualifying places available and only one USEAC Super Cup position available as well, greater competition for qualification now exists.
Off the pitch, the "High Five" wield significant financial power and influence. The 2018-19 league financial report showed that that the "High Five" all had revenues greater than 400 million Tertans, with the Delcroft Travellers being closest in terms of revenue, recording a figure of 297.3 million Tertans that year.
From the 2018-19 season onward, video assistant referres were used in the league. In the opinion of Max Callahan, the league's top goalscorer who is now a pundit, "VAR fails to correct human error and only adds to the controversies because human judgement is still necessary. In terms of its offside rulings, VAR revoked several game-changing goals which would have made the outcome of seasons or cups vastly different. It should be up to the linesmen to make those decisions."
Following the outbreak of the Tertanian-Kyratean war, the league was suspended for safety reasons. While this did have a large hit on club revenue, the league eventually returned to usual, with fans being allowed back in stadiums and the league resuming.
There are 20 clubs in the Tertanian Premier Division. During the course of a season each club plays the other twice, once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponent's, for 38 games. Teams receive 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw and none for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, then goal difference, and then goals scored.
Promotion and Relegation
A system of promotion and relegation exists between the Tertanian Premier Division and the TFL 1st Division. The three lowest teams in the Tertanian Premier Division are relegated to the TFL 1st Division, and the top two teams from the Championship promoted to the Tertanian Premier Division, with an additional team promoted after a series of play-offs involving the third, fourth, fifth and sixth placed clubs.
Performance in international competitions
Between the 1987-88 and the 2019-20 seasons, Tertanian Premier Division clubs had won the USEAC Challenger's League seven times with 11 runners-up. They had also won the USEAC Super Cup a total of five times, being runners-up six times. While clubs from the Tertanian Premier Division have been successful in international competitions, they have been criticised for "not being good enough for the amount of money pumped in". The Monroe Minters, despite having spent over 600 million Tertans on players since the 2008-9 season, have yet to win a USEAC Challenger's League.
As of the 2019-20 season, Tertanian Premier Division has been played in 49 stadiums since the formation of the division. Following the Harwood Report and the 1983 King's Arena disaster, where 132 people died in a fatal human-crush with 807 having non-fatal injuries, stadiums have been required to be only-seaters and for standing terraces to be abolished. Since the formation of the Tertanian Premier Division, football stadiums in Tertania have seen constant improvements to capacity and facilities, with some teams building entirely new stadiums. Two stadiums that have seen Tertanian Premier Division have been demolished. As of the 2018-19 season, nearly every stadium in the Tertanian Premier Division has a capacity of over 50,000, with only three exceptions: Chapel Road, with a capacity of 47,887, Seaview Arena with a capacity of 39,163 and Fenway Park, with a capacity of just 13,801.
Stadium attendances are a significant source of regular income for Tertanian Premier Division clubs. In the All Can See Act proposed by the Tertanian Government, ticket prices would be capped at a varied amount. The act was not deemed "sustainable" by the president, as it would hurt clubs financially.
Transfer Regulations and Foreign Players
Player Transfer Fees