UEFA (Union of European Football Associations)
The Union of European Football Associations, almost always referred to by its acronym UEFA is the administrative and controlling body for European association football, futsal and beach soccer. UEFA represents most of the national football associations of Europe, runs national and club competitions in its area, and controls the prize money, regulations and media rights to those competitions. Due to the disputed boundary of Europe and Asia transcontinental nations such as Turkey, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, and Russia, are members of the UEFA rather than AFC, as are Israel and Cyprus which lie entirely in Asia (Israel and Kazakhstan are former AFC members). There are members that do not represent sovereign states, such as the Faroe Islands, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (Irish FA). However no unrecognized nations are members of UEFA, with Monaco being the only European UN member not a member of UEFA.
UEFA is the biggest of six continental confederations of FIFA. Of all the confederations, it is by far the strongest in terms of wealth and influence at the club level. Virtually all of the world's top players play in European leagues in part due to the salaries available from the world's wealthiest football clubs, particularly in England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France. Many of the world's strong national sides are in UEFA. Of the 32 available spots in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, 13 were allocated to UEFA national teams, and currently top 3 as well as other 9 of the top 20 teams in the FIFA World Rankings are UEFA members. UEFA is nearly as strong in the women's game; in the most recent FIFA Women's World Cup in 2011, five of the 16 places were guaranteed to UEFA members, and 5 of the top 10 teams in the most recent FIFA Women's World Rankings are from UEFA, including 2003 and 2007 World Cup champion Germany.
UEFA was founded on 15 June 1954 in Basel, Switzerland following discussions between the French, Italian and Belgian FAs. The headquarters was in Paris until 1959 when the organization moved to Bern.Henri Delaunay was the first General Secretary and Ebbe Schwartz the president. Its administrative center has been in Nyon, Switzerland, since 1995. It was initially made up of 25 national associations. Currently there are 53 associations (see the bottom of this page or List of UEFA national football teams). UEFA national teams have won ten FIFA World Cups (Italy 4, Germany 3, England, France and Spain one trophy each), and UEFA clubs have won 21 Intercontinental Cups and four FIFA Club World Cups. In the women's game, UEFA sides have won three World Cups (Germany 2, Norway 1) and oneOlympic gold medal (Norway).
UEFA, as a representative of the national associations, has had a number of bruising clashes with the European Commission. In the 1990s the issues of television rights and especially international transfers (the Bosman ruling) had to undergo some major changes to remain in line with European law. The current UEFA President is Michel Platini.
The main competition for men's national teams is the UEFA European Football Championship, started in 1958, with the first finals in 1960, and known as the European Nations Cup until 1964. UEFA also runs national competitions at Under-21, Under-19and Under-17 levels. For women's national teams, UEFA operates the UEFA Women's Championship for senior national sides as well as Women's Under-19 and Women's Under-17 Championships.
UEFA also runs the two main club competitions in Europe: the UEFA Champions League was first held in 1955, and was known as the European Champion Clubs Cup (or just European Cup) until 1992; and the UEFA Europa League (former UEFA Cup), for national knockout cup winners and high-placed league teams, was launched by UEFA in 1971 as a successor to the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (also begun in 1955). A third competition, the Cup Winners' Cup, started in 1960 and was absorbed into the UEFA Cup in 1999.
In women's football UEFA also conducts the UEFA Women's Champions League for club teams. The competition was first held in 2001, and known as the UEFA Women's Cup until 2009.
The UEFA Super Cup pits the winners of the Champions League against the winners of the UEFA Europa League (previously the winners of the Cup Winners' Cup), and came into being in 1973.
The UEFA Intertoto Cup was a summer competition, previously operated by several Central European football associations, which was relaunched and recognized as official UEFA club competition by UEFA in 1995. The last Intertoto Cup took place in 2008.
The Intercontinental Cup was jointly organised with CONMEBOL between the Champions League and the Copa Libertadores winners.
Only three teams (Juventus, Ajax and Bayern Munich) have won each of the three main competitions (European Cup/UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup Winner's Cup and UEFA Cup/Europa League), a feat that is no longer possible for any team that did not win the Cup Winners' Cup. There are currently nine teams throughout Europe that have won two of the three trophies; all but one have won the Cup Winners Cup, four require a win in the Champions League and five require a UEFA Europa League win.
Juventus is the only team in Europe to win all UEFA's official championships and cups and, as the first side in the history of the European football to have won the three major UEFA competitions, have receivedThe UEFA Plaque by the Union of European Football Associations on 12 July 1988.
UEFA's premier futsal competition is the UEFA Futsal Cup, a tournament started in 2001 which replaced the former Futsal European Clubs Championship. This event, despite enjoying a long and well-established tradition in the European futsal community, dating back to 1984, was never recognized as official by UEFA.
- UEFA Champions League
- UEFA Europa League
- UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1960–1999)
- UEFA Intertoto Cup (1995–2008)
- UEFA Super Cup
- UEFA Women's Champions League
- UEFA Futsal Cup
- UEFA club competition records
- List of UEFA club competition winners
- Intercontinental Cup (1960–2004)
- UEFA European Football Championship
- UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship
- UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship
- UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship
- UEFA Women's Championship
- UEFA Women's Under-19 Championship
- UEFA Women's Under-17 Championship
- UEFA Futsal Championship
- UEFA Futsal Under-21 Championship
- UEFA-CAF Meridian Cup
- UEFA Regions' Cup
- UEFA Amateur Cup (1967–1978)