The Union of European Football Associations, better known as UEFA, is the body which is responsible for association football in Europe. It is 1 of 6 such bodies in the world who are then led by FIFA. 55 national associations are currently enrolled in UEFA. One of its main roles is to organise football competitions throughout the year. Most of these competitions are based in Europe, however, it might surprise some to learn that UEFA also organises some competitions in Asia.
The UEFA Champions League is the tournament which most people automatically associate with the organisation. It was first organised in 1992 and has since been organised every year. It brings together the top European football clubs of each participating country. The teams are the winners and some runner-ups or their respective national tournaments.
The winners of the last edition of the tournament were Real Madrid. They continue to hold the record for most wins, currently a total of 12. Milan won the competition 7 times whilst Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Liverpool each won it 5 times. Christiano Ronaldo holds the record for most goals scored, 120, which he managed whilst playing with Manchester United and Real Madrid.
European Football Championship
This tournament is better known as the EURO cup and has been organised every 4 years since 1960. The game sees 24 national teams battling it out for the Henri Delaunay Trophy, after going through a qualifying stage. Portugal won the last competition which was hosted by France. Spain, however, continues to hold the record of being the only team who has ever won it in two consecutive editions.
The winners of the EURO cup automatically qualify for FIFA’s Confederations Cup, which is sometimes known to be called the mini World Cup. In a break of tradition, the EURO cup in 2020 will be held across 13 different cities in 12 countries as a celebration of the 60th years of this tournament.
This event, formerly known as the UEFA Cup, is considered the competition for runner-ups. A total of 190 teams participate took part in the 2017 edition. Very often the clubs which take part do so because they had insufficient rankings to take part in the Champions League. This sometimes motivates the teams to put in a better effort so as to take home the cup. The event is held annually and the last event saw yet another Spanish team win, this time Sevilla.
Sevilla, in fact, is the most successful team in this tournament, having won it a total of 5 times. Juventus, Inter Milan, Liverpool and Atlético Madrid each won it 3 times. The winners of this competition go on to qualify for the Champions League and Super Cup.
The winners of the Champions League and the Europa League challenge each other every year at the Super Cup. It is organised to coincide with the start of the domestic season, around August. The cup itself remains the property of UEFA, with the winner of the match getting a replica. Italy’s Milan and Spain’s Barcelona have won the competition a total of 5 times each.
Other UEFA Competitions
All the competitions mentioned so far related to men’s over 21 teams. However, UEFA is also entrusted with the organisation of many other smaller events. There are competitions in the categories of under 21, under 19 and under 17. Women’s football team, which have been gaining popularity also have their own UEFA Women’s Championship and under 19 and under 17 competitions. In 2001 UEFA also started being responsible for the organisation of the Futsal Cup.