UEFA Champions League

UEFA Champions League

UEFA Champions LeagueMost people have heard of the Champions League. The UEFA Champions League is an annual football competition which is held in Europe. The top football clubs of Europe compete against each in one of the largest football tournaments in the football industry. Unlike the World Cup and European Cup where countries compete, in the Champions League it is football teams which compete against each other. Keep reading if you want to find out more!


The annual football competition is organized by UEFA. UEFA is the Union of European Football Associations. This organization organizes football competitions in Europe and is the umbrella organization for all football leagues in Europe. As mentioned, in the World Cup and the European Cup it is individual nations competing against each other. However, the Champions League is a competition where the top clubs of Europe compete against each other. The Champions League is considered to be the one of the most prestigious football tournaments in the world. The teams which compete in this football tournament are the champions of the national UEFA football competitions in Europe. It can also be that there are runners-up which get to compete in the Champions League. More information about the qualification procedure will be provided later in this article. The Champions League is also one of the most viewed football competitions in the world, together with the World Cup and the European Championship. Annually, the football tournament attracts millions of viewers from all over the world. The final  of the UEFA Champions League is the most watched sports event in the world. The final of the year 2012 and 2013 was the most viewed tournament in Champions League history. This match attracted more than 300 million viewers. The most successful club in the history of the Champions League is Read Madrid. The Spanish team has won the competition eleven times. In general, the Spanish teams are the ones who have collected most prizes and won most tournaments. In total, they have won a total of sixteen times. The Spanish clubs are then followed by England and Italy, which have each won twelve competitions. In total, there are more than twenty teams which have won the competition. Moreover, there are about 12 teams which have won the competition more than one time. The last team to win the Champions League was Real Madrid. In 2016 they won against Atletico Madrid in the tournament’s final.


In the past, the tournament was called European Cup instead of the Champions League. The first football tournament happened in the season of 1955-1956. During this time, only sixteen teams participated in the competition. Some of these teams included Real Madrid, PSV Eindhoven, Servette, Sporting CP, Rapid Wien, Anderlecht, Milan and Hibernian. The first match of the European Cup took place in September 1955. This match was between Sporting CP and Partizan. The game ended in a draw between the two teams. This first competition was won by Real Madrid, and ever since they have many more competitions. The subsequent four year, Real Madrid won as well and retained their title. No other team has won the competition five times in a row and thus Real Madrid still holds this record today. The team was dethroned in the year 1960-1961 by the rivals of Real Madrid, namely Barcelona. Barcelona beat Real Madrid in the first game. However, that year Barcelona did not win the competition. Benfica was the team that won that year. The next year, Benfica played against Real Madrid in the final. This game was played in the Olympic Stadium in the Netherlands. Thus, Benfica had won the title for the second time in a row. Benfica wanted to achieve a similar title as Real Madrid who won the tournament for multiple years in a row. However, unfortunately they did not manage to live up to this standard. After Benfica won two tournaments they had to play against Milan in the Wembley Stadium. That year was the first time that Milan won the competition. Milan had to play Real Madrid the year after in the Ernst-Happel Stadion where they won from the Spanish team. Also, the year after Milan won from Benfica. This has led to Milan winning the tournament three times in a row.


The Champions League had a particular qualification system but it was changed in 2009. Since this time the tournament has a double round-robin group stage. This group stage has a total of 32 teams. Before this actual qualification stage there  is a so-called qualification stream for those teams which do not enter into the competition automatically. The first stream is decided by those teams which have won their national championships. By ending up first within the national football leagues, the team automatically gets selected to compete in the Champions League. The second stream of teams is made up of those teams which have finished second, third or fourth in their own national championships. However, this is not automatically the case for all football associations. The number of teams of each national association is dependent on the UEFA coefficients. These coefficients are produced by the results of the teams of that particular association during their performance in the last five Champions Leagues. Thus, this implies that the higher the coefficient of that team, the better their start position is. This means that not only can more teams participate in the Champions League but they can also do not have to compete in as many rounds.

License by national association

Besides these particular criteria, it is also necessary for the particular team to be licensed by its national association. Only if they are licensed will they be able to participate in the tournament. A team has to fulfill certain requirements in order to be able to obtain a license. These criteria vary per national association. However, generally these criteria are related to the infrastructure of the team, the stadium and financial requirements. Artmedia Bratislava and Liverpool were the first team who entered the Champions League group stage in 2005 – 2006. Both these teams had played in all qualifying rounds and managed to win. A couple of years later in 2008 – 2009, the teams Anorthosis Famagusta and BATE Borisov achieved a similar result. The team which has made the most consecutive appearances in the group stage of the Champions League is Real Madrid. They have appeared in the group stage 19 times in a row.


The Champions League tournament starts with a total number of 32 teams. These 32 teams are then divided in groups of eight teams. The teams are decided by means of using seeding. One of the requirements, however, is that teams from the same country cannot play against each other. This implies that in the group stage they cannot be drawn in the same groups together. The teams meet each other twice during the group stage. They meet once in the stadium of the home team and once in the away stadium. The team that wins the group stage and its runner-up continue to the next phase of the Champions League. The teams which end in third place get to play in the UEFA Europa League. After the group stage, the team which ends first gets to play the runner-up of another group. Similarly to the group stage, it is not allowed for teams of the same association to be playing against each other. However, after the stage of the quarter-finals the draw is random. This means that from this moment onwards it is possible for groups from the same association to be playing against each other. The rule which is adopted during the tournament related to the away goals rule. This means that if the aggregate score of the two  played games is tied, the team which has scored the most goals at the stadium of the opponent wins. This team then continues to the next round. The group stage of the Champions League starts in September and lasts until December. After the winter break the knock-out phase starts. This phase generally starts in February. The knock-out phase runs until April. The final of the Champions League is held in the final two weeks of May.

Prize money

Since the year 2015 – 2016, UEFA has adopted a new approach regarding the allocation of prize money. Teams which win the play-off rounds receive two million euros. The teams which are eliminated in this round receive a total amount of three millions euros. If the team gets to the group stage, the team automatically receives an amount of 12 million euros. If a team wins in the group phase, it receives one and a half million euros, while a draw is worth half a million euros. UEFA continues to pay teams in the next round. When a team reaches the first knockout round, it receives 5,5 million euros. The teams which get to the quarter final each receive six million euros, and the teams which get to the semi-final each receive 7 million euros. The team which eventually becomes second gets a total amount of 10,5 million euros while the winner of the Champions League eventually received 15 million euros.


Similarly to the FIFA World Cup, the Champions League is sponsored by many corporations. The main sponsors of the tournament include some of the largest multinationals in the world. This is different to a national football association. National leagues usually have one main sponsor who they work with. In 1992, when the Champions League was actually created, the organization decided that a total of eight sponsors were allowed to sponsor the event. Moreover, it was also decided that each sponsor would get four advertising board on the pitch. The current main sponsors of the event are Heineken, MasterCard, Nissan, PepsiCo, Sony and Playstation. A brand which is a secondary sponsor to the event is Adidas. Adidas does not only supply the match ball which is used during every game, but it also provides uniforms for the referees. Each individual team can wear their own jerseys with their own advertising and sponsors. However, teams also need to be sensitive with regards to the restrictions in the country where they play. For example, a team is not allowed to have advertising on their kits if that particular country does not allow advertisements from that specific brand. For example, in France it is not allowed to have any advertising for alcohol. This has led to teams having to change their kit due to the rules set in each country.


Article written by: SarahAjaoud
Times read: 2106x
Added: 21-02-2017 00:40
Last modified: 28-05-2017 23:50

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