UEFA Champions League

Last updated

UEFA Champions League
UEFA Champions League logo 2.svg
Founded1955;64 years ago (1955)
(rebranded in 1992)
RegionEurope (UEFA)
Number of teams32 (group stage)
79, 80 or 81 (total)
Qualifier for UEFA Super Cup
FIFA Club World Cup
Related competitions UEFA Europa League (2nd tier)
UEFA Europa League 2 (planned 3rd tier)
Current champions Flag of Spain.svg Real Madrid (13th title)
Most successful club(s) Flag of Spain.svg Real Madrid (13 titles)
Television broadcasters List of broadcasters
Website uefa.com
Soccerball current event.svg 2018–19 UEFA Champions League

The UEFA Champions League (abbreviated as UCL) is an annual club football competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and contested by top-division European clubs. It is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world and the most prestigious club competition in European football, played by the national league champions (and, for some nations, one or more runners-up) of the strongest UEFA national associations.

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

UEFA international sport governing body

The Union of European Football Associations is the administrative body for association football, futsal and beach soccer in Europe, although several member states are primarily or entirely located in Asia. It is one of six continental confederations of world football's governing body FIFA. UEFA consists of 55 national association members.

Contents

Introduced in 1955 as the European Champion Clubs' Cup, more commonly known as the European Cup, it was initially a straight knockout tournament open only to the champion club of each national championship. The competition took on its current name in 1992, adding a round-robin group stage and allowing multiple entrants from certain countries. [1] It has since been expanded, and while most of Europe's national leagues can still only enter their champion, the strongest leagues now provide up to five teams. [2] [3] Clubs that finish next-in-line in their national league, having not qualified for the Champions League, are eligible for the second-tier UEFA Europa League competition.

UEFA Europa League annual association football club competition organized by UEFA since 1971

The UEFA Europa League is an annual football club competition organised by UEFA since 1971 for eligible European football clubs. Clubs qualify for the competition based on their performance in their national leagues and cup competitions. It is the second-tier competition of European club football, ranking below the UEFA Champions League.

In its present format, the Champions League begins in late June with four knockout qualifying rounds and a play-off round. The 6 surviving teams enter the group stage, joining 26 teams qualified in advance. The 32 teams are drawn into eight groups of four teams and play each other in a double round-robin system. The eight group winners and eight runners-up proceed to the knockout phase that culminates with the final match in late May or early June. [4] The winner of the Champions League qualifies for the following year's Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. [5] [6]

UEFA Super Cup European association football tournament for clubs

The UEFA Super Cup is an annual super cup football match organised by UEFA and contested by the reigning champions of the two main European club competitions, the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League. It takes place at the start of the domestic season.

The FIFA Club World Cup is an international men's association football competition organised by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The tournament officially assigns the world title. The competition was first contested in 2000 as the FIFA Club World Championship. It was not held between 2001 and 2004 due to a combination of factors, most importantly the collapse of FIFA's marketing partner International Sport and Leisure. Since 2005, the competition has been held every year, and has been hosted by Brazil, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco. The FIFA Club World Cup's prestige is perceived quite differently in different parts of the football world; it struggles to attract interest in most of Europe, and it is the object of heated debate in Brazil and Argentina.

The competition has been won by 22 clubs, 12 of which have won it more than once. [7] Real Madrid is the most successful club in the tournament's history, having won it 13 times, including its first five seasons. Real Madrid are also the reigning champions; they defeated Liverpool 3–1 in the 2018 final and became the first team in the Champions League era to win the title for three years in a row. Spanish clubs have the highest number of victories (18 wins), followed by England (13 wins) and Italy (12 wins). England has the largest number of winning teams, with five clubs having won the title.

Real Madrid CF association football club in Madrid

Real Madrid Club de Fútbol, commonly referred to as Real Madrid, is a Spanish professional football club based in Madrid.

Liverpool F.C. Association football club in England

Liverpool Football Club is a professional football club in Liverpool, England, that competes in the Premier League, the top tier of English football. The club has won 5 European Cups, more than any other English club, 3 UEFA Cups, 3 UEFA Super Cups, 18 League titles, 7 FA Cups, a record 8 League Cups, and 15 FA Community Shields.

2018 UEFA Champions League Final The finals of the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League season.

The 2018 UEFA Champions League Final was the final match of the 2017–18 UEFA Champions League, the 63rd season of Europe's premier club football tournament organised by UEFA, and the 26th season since it was renamed from the European Cup to the UEFA Champions League. It was played at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine on 26 May 2018, between Spanish side and defending champions Real Madrid, who had won the competition in each of the last two seasons, and English side Liverpool.

History

The first pan-European tournament was the Challenge Cup, a competition between clubs in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. [8] The Mitropa Cup, a competition modelled after the Challenge Cup, was created in 1927, an idea of Austrian Hugo Meisl, and played between Central European clubs. [9] In 1930, the Coupe des Nations (French: Nations Cup), the first attempt to create a cup for national champion clubs of Europe, was played and organised by Swiss club Servette. [10] Held in Geneva, it brought together ten champions from across the continent. The tournament was won by Újpest of Hungary. [10] Latin European nations came together to form the Latin Cup in 1949. [11] After receiving reports from his journalists over the highly successful Campeonato Sudamericano de Campeones of 1948, Gabriel Hanot, editor of L'Équipe , began proposing the creation of a continent-wide tournament. [12] After Stan Cullis declared Wolverhampton Wanderers "Champions of the World" following a successful run of friendlies in the 1950s, in particular a 3–2 friendly victory against Budapest Honvéd, Hanot finally managed to convince UEFA to put into practice such a tournament. [1] It was conceived in Paris in 1955 as the European Champion Clubs' Cup. [1]

The Challenge Cup was an international competition for football clubs of the Austro-Hungarian Empire that run from 1897 to 1911.

Austria-Hungary Constitutional monarchic union between 1867 and 1918

Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monarchy, was a constitutional monarchy in Central and Eastern Europe between 1867 and 1918. It was formed when the Austrian Empire adopted a new constitution; as a result Austria (Cisleithania) and Hungary (Transleithania) were placed on equal footing. It dissolved into several new states at the end of the First World War.

Mitropa Cup

The Mitropa Cup, officially called the La Coupe de l'Europe Centrale or Central European Cup, was one of the first international major European football cups for club sides. After World War II in 1951 a replacement tournament named Zentropa Cup was held, but just for one season, the Mitropa Cup name was revived, and again in 1958 the name of the tournament changed to Danube Cup but only for one season. The tournament was discontinued after 1992.

1955–66: Beginnings

Alfredo Di Stefano in 1959. He led Real Madrid to win five consecutive European Cups between 1956 and 1960 Di stefano real madrid cf (cropped).png
Alfredo Di Stéfano in 1959. He led Real Madrid to win five consecutive European Cups between 1956 and 1960

The first edition of the European Cup took place during the 1955–56 season. [13] [14] Sixteen teams participated: Milan (Italy), AGF Aarhus (Denmark), Anderlecht (Belgium), Djurgården (Sweden), Gwardia Warszawa (Poland), Hibernian (Scotland), Partizan (Yugoslavia), PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands), Rapid Wien (Austria), Real Madrid (Spain), Rot-Weiss Essen (West Germany), Saarbrücken (Saar), Servette (Switzerland), Sporting CP (Portugal), Stade de Reims (France), and Vörös Lobogó (Hungary). [13] [14] The first European Cup match took place on 4 September 1955, and ended in a 3–3 draw between Sporting CP and Partizan. [13] [14] The first goal in European Cup history was scored by João Baptista Martins of Sporting CP. [13] [14] The inaugural final took place at the Parc des Princes between Stade de Reims and Real Madrid. [13] [14] [15] The Spanish squad came back from behind to win 4–3 thanks to goals from Alfredo Di Stéfano and Marquitos, as well as two goals from Héctor Rial. [13] [14] [15]

1955–56 European Cup football tournament

The 1955–56 European Cup was the first season of the European Cup, UEFA's premier club football tournament. The tournament was won by Real Madrid, who defeated Reims 4–3 in the final at Parc des Princes, Paris, on 13 June 1956.

A.C. Milan italian association football club based in the city of Milan founded in 1899

Associazione Calcio Milan, commonly referred to as A.C. Milan or simply Milan, is a professional football club in Milan, Italy, founded in 1899. The club has spent its entire history, with the exception of the 1980–81 and 1982–83 seasons, in the top flight of Italian football, known as Serie A since 1929–30.

Aarhus Gymnastikforening association football club in Denmark

Aarhus Gymnastikforening is one of the oldest sport clubs in Denmark. The club was founded in 1880, mainly with gymnastics but also fencing as the main sports. However AGF is best known for its football team, which was introduced in 1902.

Eusebio celebrating Benfica's 1962 European Cup victory Beufica tegen Real Madrid 5-3 (blijdschap van de speler, Bestanddeelnr 913-8511.jpg
Eusébio celebrating Benfica's 1962 European Cup victory

Real Madrid successfully defended the trophy next season in their home stadium, the Santiago Bernabéu, against Fiorentina. [16] [17] After a scoreless first half, Real Madrid scored twice in six minutes to defeat the Italians. [15] [16] [17] In 1958, Milan failed to capitalise after going ahead on the scoreline twice, only for Real Madrid to equalise. [18] [19] The final held in Heysel Stadium went to extra time where Francisco Gento scored the game-winning goal to allow Real Madrid to retain the title for the third consecutive season. [15] [18] [19] In a rematch of the first final, Real Madrid faced Stade Reims at the Neckarstadion for the 1958–59 season final, easily winning 2–0. [15] [20] [21] West German side Eintracht Frankfurt became the first non-Latin team to reach the European Cup final. [22] [23] The 1959–60 season finale still holds the record for the most goals scored, with Real Madrid beating Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 in Hampden Park, courtesy of four goals by Ferenc Puskás and a hat-trick by Alfredo Di Stéfano. [15] [22] [23] This was Real Madrid's fifth consecutive title, a record that still stands today. [7]

Johan Cruyff holding the European Cup during celebrations in Amsterdam following Ajax's 1972 triumph Ajax-speler Barry Hulshoff met de cup, Bestanddeelnr 925-6412.jpg
Johan Cruyff holding the European Cup during celebrations in Amsterdam following Ajax's 1972 triumph

Real Madrid's reign ended in the 1960–61 season when bitter rivals Barcelona dethroned them in the first round. [24] [25] Barcelona themselves, however, would be defeated in the final by Portuguese side Benfica 3–2 at Wankdorf Stadium. [24] [25] [26] Reinforced by Eusébio, Benfica defeated Real Madrid 5–3 at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam and kept the title for a second consecutive season. [26] [27] [28] Benfica wanted to repeat Real Madrid's successful run of the 1950s after reaching the showpiece event of the 1962–63 European Cup, but a brace from Brazilian-Italian José Altafini at the Wembley Stadium gave the spoils to Milan, making the trophy leave the Iberian Peninsula for the first time ever. [29] [30] [31] Internazionale beat an ageing-Real Madrid 3–1 in the Ernst-Happel-Stadion to win the 1963–64 season and replicate their local-rival's success. [32] [33] [34] The title stayed in the city of Milan for the third year in a row after Inter beat Benfica 1–0 at their home ground, the San Siro. [35] [36] [37]

Anthem

"Magic...it’s magic above all else. When you hear the anthem it captivates you straight away."

Zinedine Zidane. [38]

The UEFA Champions League anthem, officially titled simply as "Champions League", was written by Tony Britten, and is an adaptation of George Frideric Handel's Zadok the Priest (one of his Coronation Anthems). [39] [40] UEFA commissioned Britten in 1992 to arrange an anthem, and the piece was performed by London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and sung by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. [39] UEFA's official website states, “the anthem is now almost as iconic as the trophy.” [39]

The Champions League anthem is played before the start of each match as the two teams are lined up while the Champions League logo is displayed in the centre circle. Beginning Arsenal Sevilla.jpg
The Champions League anthem is played before the start of each match as the two teams are lined up while the Champions League logo is displayed in the centre circle.

The chorus contains the three official languages used by UEFA: English, German, and French. [41] The climactic moment is set to the exclamations ‘Die Meister! Die Besten! Les Grandes Équipes! The Champions!’. [42] The anthem's chorus is played before each UEFA Champions League game as the two teams are lined up, as well as at the beginning and end of television broadcasts of the matches. In addition to the anthem, there is also entrance music, which contains parts of the anthem itself, which is played as teams enter the field. [43] The complete anthem is about three minutes long, and has two short verses and the chorus. [41]

Special vocal versions have been performed live at the Champions League Final with lyrics in other languages, changing over to the host nation's language for the chorus. These versions were performed by Andrea Bocelli (Italian) (Rome 2009, Milan 2016 and Cardiff 2017), Juan Diego Flores (Spanish) (Madrid 2010), All Angels (Wembley 2011), Jonas Kaufmann and David Garrett (Munich 2012), and Mariza (Lisbon 2014). In the 2013 final at Wembley Stadium, the chorus was played twice. In Kiev 2018, the instrumental version of the chorus was played by 2Cellos. [44] The anthem has been released commercially in its original version on iTunes and Spotify with the title of Champions League Theme. In 2018, composer Hans Zimmer remixed the anthem with rapper Vince Staples for EA Sports’ FIFA video game FIFA 19 , with it also featuring in the game's reveal trailer. [45]

Branding

In 1991, UEFA asked its commercial partner, Television Event and Media Marketing (TEAM), to help "brand" the Champions League. This resulted in the anthem, "house colours" of black and white or silver and a logo, and the "starball". The starball was created by Design Bridge, a London-based firm selected by TEAM after a competition. [46] TEAM gives particular attention to detail in how the colours and starball are depicted at matches. According to TEAM, "Irrespective of whether you are a spectator in Moscow or Milan, you will always see the same stadium dressing materials, the same opening ceremony featuring the 'starball' centre circle ceremony, and hear the same UEFA Champions League Anthem". Based on research it conducted, TEAM concluded that by 1999, "the starball logo had achieved a recognition rate of 94 percent among fans". [47]

Format

Qualification

Map of UEFA countries whose teams reached the group stage of the UEFA Champions League
UEFA member state that has been represented in the group stage
UEFA member state that has not been represented in the group stage UEFA members Champs League group stage.png
Map of UEFA countries whose teams reached the group stage of the UEFA Champions League
  UEFA member state that has been represented in the group stage
  UEFA member state that has not been represented in the group stage

Since the 2009–10 season, the UEFA Champions League begins with a double round-robin group stage of 32 teams, which is preceded by two qualification 'streams' for teams that do not receive direct entry to the tournament proper. The two streams are divided between teams qualified by virtue of being league champions, and those qualified by virtue of finishing 2nd–4th in their national championship.

The number of teams that each association enters into the UEFA Champions League is based upon the UEFA coefficients of the member associations. These coefficients are generated by the results of clubs representing each association during the previous five Champions League and UEFA Europa League/UEFA Cup seasons. The higher an association's coefficient, the more teams represent the association in the Champions League, and the fewer qualification rounds the association's teams must compete in.

Four of the remaining six qualifying places are granted to the winners of a six-round qualifying tournament between the remaining 43 or 44 national champions, within which those champions from associations with higher coefficients receive byes to later rounds. The other two are granted to the winners of a three-round qualifying tournament between the 11 clubs from the associations ranked 5 through 15, which have qualified based upon finishing second, or third in their respective national league.

In addition to sporting criteria, any club must be licensed by its national association to participate in the Champions League. To obtain a license, the club must meet certain stadium, infrastructure, and finance requirements.

In 2005–06 season, Liverpool and Artmedia Bratislava became the first teams to reach the Champions League group stage after playing in all three qualifying rounds. In 2008–09 season, both BATE Borisov and Anorthosis Famagusta achieved the same feat. Real Madrid holds the record for the most consecutive appearances in the group stage, having qualified 22 times in a row (1997–present). They are followed by Arsenal on 19 (1998–2016) [48] and Manchester United on 18 (1996–2013). [49]

Between 2003 and 2008, no differentiation was made between champions and non-champions in qualification. The 16 top ranked teams spread across the biggest domestic leagues qualified directly for the tournament group stage. Prior to this, three preliminary knockout qualifying rounds whittled down the remaining teams, with teams starting in different rounds.

An exception to the usual European qualification system happened in 2005, after Liverpool won the Champions League the year before, but did not finish in a Champions League qualification place in the Premier League that season. UEFA gave special dispensation for Liverpool to enter the Champions League, giving England five qualifiers. [50] UEFA subsequently ruled that the defending champions qualify for the competition the following year regardless of their domestic league placing. However, for those leagues with four entrants in the Champions League, this meant that, if the Champions League winner fell outside of its domestic league's top four, it would qualify at the expense of the fourth-placed team in the league. Until 2015–16, no association could have more than four entrants in the Champions League. [51] In May 2012, Tottenham Hotspur finished fourth in the 2011–12 Premier League, two places ahead of Chelsea, but failed to qualify for the 2012–13 Champions League, after Chelsea won the 2012 final. [52] Tottenham were demoted to the 2012–13 UEFA Europa League. [52]

In May 2013, [53] it was decided that, starting from the 2015–16 season (and continuing at least for the three-year cycle until the 2017–18 season), the winners of the previous season's UEFA Europa League would qualify for the UEFA Champions League, entering at least the play-off round, and entering the group stage if the berth reserved for the Champions League title holders was not used. The previous limit of a maximum of four teams per association was increased to five, meaning that a fourth-placed team from one of the top three ranked associations would only have to be moved to the Europa League if both the Champions League and Europa League winners came from that association and both finished outside the top four of their domestic league. [54]

In 2007, Michel Platini, the UEFA president, had proposed taking one place from the three leagues with four entrants and allocating it to that nation's cup winners. This proposal was rejected in a vote at a UEFA Strategy Council meeting. [55] In the same meeting, however, it was agreed that the third-placed team in the top three leagues would receive automatic qualification for the group stage, rather than entry into the third qualifying round, while the fourth-placed team would enter the play-off round for non-champions, guaranteeing an opponent from one of the top 15 leagues in Europe. This was part of Platini's plan to increase the number of teams qualifying directly into the group stage, while simultaneously increasing the number of teams from lower-ranked nations in the group stage. [56]

In 2012, Arsène Wenger referred to qualifying for the Champion's League by finishing in the top four places in the English Premier League as the "4th Place Trophy". The phrase was coined after a pre-match conference when he was questioned about Arsenal's lack of a trophy after exiting the FA Cup. He said "The first trophy is to finish in the top four". [57] At Arsenal's 2012 AGM, Wenger was also quoted as saying: "For me there are five trophies every season: Premier League, Champions League, the third is to qualify for the Champions League..." [58]

Group stage and knockout phase

The tournament proper begins with a group stage of 32 teams, divided into eight groups. Seeding is used whilst making the draw for this stage, whilst teams from the same nation may not be drawn into groups together. Each team meets the others in its group home and away in a round-robin format. The winning team and the runners-up from each group then progress to the next round. The third-placed team enters the UEFA Europa League.

For this stage, the winning team from one group plays against the runners-up from another group, and teams from the same association may not be drawn against each other. From the quarter-finals onwards, the draw is entirely random, without association protection. The tournament uses the away goals rule: if the aggregate score of the two games is tied, then the team who scored more goals at their opponent's stadium advances. [59]

The group stage is played from September to December, whilst the knock-out stage starts in February. The knock-out ties are played in a two-legged format, with the exception of the final. The final is typically held in the last two weeks of May or in the early days of June, which has happened in three consecutive odd-numbered years since 2015.

Distribution

The following is the default access list. [60]

Access list for 2018–19 to 2020–21 UEFA Champions League
Teams entering in this roundTeams advancing from previous round
Preliminary round
(4 teams)
  • 4 champions from associations 52–55
First qualifying round
(34 teams)
  • 33 champions from associations 18–51 (except Liechtenstein)
  • 1 winner from the preliminary round
Second qualifying roundChampions Path
(20 teams)
  • 3 champions from associations 15–17
  • 17 winners from the first qualifying round
League Path
(6 teams)
  • 6 runners-up from associations 10–15
Third qualifying roundChampions Path
(12 teams)
  • 2 champions from associations 13–14
  • 10 winners from the second qualifying round (Champions Path)
League Path
(8 teams)
  • 3 runners-up from associations 7–9
  • 2 third-placed team from association 5–6
  • 3 winners from the second qualifying round (League Path)
Play-off roundChampions Path
(8 teams)
  • 2 champions from associations 11–12
  • 6 winners from the third qualifying round (Champions Path)
League Path
(4 teams)
  • 4 winners from the third qualifying round (League Path)
Group stage
(32 teams)
  • UEFA Champions League title holder
  • UEFA Europa League title holder
  • 10 champions from associations 1–10
  • 6 runners-up from associations 1–6
  • 4 third-placed teams from associations 1–4
  • 4 fourth-placed teams from associations 1–4
  • 4 winners from the play-off round (Champions Path)
  • 2 winners from the play-off round (League Path)
Knockout phase
(16 teams)
  • 8 group winners from the group stage
  • 8 group runners-up from the group stage

Changes will be made to the access list above, if the Champions League and/or Europa League title holders qualify for the tournament via their domestic leagues.

Referees

Ranking

The UEFA Refereeing Unit is broken down into five experience-based categories. A referee is initially placed into Category 4 with the exception of referees from France, Germany, England, Italy, or Spain. Referees from these five countries are typically comfortable with top professional matches and are therefore directly placed into Category 3. Each referee's performance is observed and evaluated after every match; his category may be revised twice per season, but a referee cannot be promoted directly from Category 3 to the Elite Category. [61]

Appointment

In co-operation with the UEFA Refereeing Unit, the UEFA Referee Committee is responsible for appointing referees to matches. Referees are appointed based on previous matches, marks, performances, and fitness levels. To discourage bias, the Champions League takes nationality into account. No referee may be of the same origins as any club in his or her respecting groups. Referee appointments, suggested by the UEFA Refereeing Unit, are sent to the UEFA Referee Committee to be discussed or revised. After a consensus is made, the name of the appointed referee remains confidential up to two days before the match for the purpose of minimising public influence. [61]

Limitations

Since 1990, a UEFA international referee cannot exceed the age of 45 years. After turning 45, a referee must step down at the end of his season. The age limit was established to ensure an elite level of fitness. Today, UEFA Champions League referees are required to pass a fitness test even to be considered at the international level. [61]

Prizes

Trophy and medals

Official trophy Trofeo UEFA Champions League.jpg
Official trophy

Each year, the winning team is presented with the European Champion Clubs' Cup, the current version of which has been awarded since 1967. Any team that wins the Champions League three years in a row or five times overall wins the right to retain a full-sized replica of the trophy (UEFA retains the original at all times). Six clubs have earned this honour: Real Madrid, Ajax, Bayern Munich, Milan, Liverpool and Barcelona. [62] Since then instead the club which wins three years in a row or five overall receives a commemorative badge to wear permanently on their uniform.

The current trophy is 74 cm (29 in) tall and made of silver, weighing 11 kg (24 lb). It was designed by Jörg Stadelmann, a jeweller from Bern, Switzerland, after the original was given to Real Madrid in 1966 in recognition of their six titles to date, and cost 10,000 Swiss francs.

As of the 2012–13 season, 40 gold medals are presented to the Champions League winners, and 40 silver medals to the runners-up. [63]

Prize money

As of 2018–19, the fixed amount of prize money paid to the clubs is as follows: [64]

This means that at best, a club can earn €82,450,000 of prize money under this structure, not counting shares of the qualifying rounds, play-off round or the market pool.

A large part of the distributed revenue from the UEFA Champions League is linked to the "market pool", the distribution of which is determined by the value of the television market in each nation. For the 2014–15 season, Juventus, who were the runners-up, earned nearly €89.1 million in total, of which €30.9 million was prize money, compared with the €61.0 million earned by Barcelona, who won the tournament and were awarded €36.4 million in prize money. [65]

Sponsorship

A can of Heineken with a logo of the 2011 UEFA Champions League Final Heineken can 2011 UEFA Champions League Final.jpg
A can of Heineken with a logo of the 2011 UEFA Champions League Final
Betting advertisements are banned in Turkey. On 9 April 2013, Real Madrid (whose shirt sponsors were bwin at the time) were required to wear sponsor-free jerseys while playing against Galatasaray in Istanbul. Eboue Ronaldo.JPG
Betting advertisements are banned in Turkey. On 9 April 2013, Real Madrid (whose shirt sponsors were bwin at the time) were required to wear sponsor-free jerseys while playing against Galatasaray in Istanbul.

Like the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Champions League is sponsored by a group of multinational corporations, in contrast to the single main sponsor typically found in national top-flight leagues. When the Champions League was created in 1992, it was decided that a maximum of eight companies should be allowed to sponsor the event, with each corporation being allocated four advertising boards around the perimeter of the pitch, as well as logo placement at pre- and post-match interviews and a certain number of tickets to each match. This, combined with a deal to ensure tournament sponsors were given priority on television advertisements during matches, ensured that each of the tournament's main sponsors was given maximum exposure. [66]

From the 2012–13 knockout phase, UEFA used LED advertising hoardings installed in knock-out participant stadiums, including the final stage. From the 2015–16 season onwards, UEFA has used such hoardings from the play-off round until the final. [67]

The tournament's current main sponsors are: [68]

Adidas is a secondary sponsor and supplies the official match ball, the Adidas Finale, and referee uniform. [77] Hublot is also a secondary sponsor as the official fourth official board of the competition. [78]

Individual clubs may wear jerseys with advertising. However, only one sponsorship is permitted per jersey in addition to that of the kit manufacturer. Exceptions are made for non-profit organisations, which can feature on the front of the shirt, incorporated with the main sponsor or in place of it; or on the back, either below the squad number or on the collar area. [79]

If clubs play a match in a nation where the relevant sponsorship category is restricted (such as France's alcohol advertising restriction), then they must remove that logo from their jerseys. For example, when Rangers played French sides Auxerre and Strasbourg in the 1996–97 Champions League and the UEFA Cup, respectively, Rangers players wore the logo of Center Parcs instead of McEwan's Lager (both companies at the time were subsidiaries of Scottish & Newcastle). [80]

Media coverage

The competition attracts an extensive television audience, not just in Europe, but throughout the world. The final of the tournament has been, in recent years, the most-watched annual sporting event in the world. [81] The final of the 2012–13 tournament had the competition's highest TV ratings to date, drawing approximately 360 million television viewers. [82]

Records and statistics

Performances by club

Performances in the European Cup and UEFA Champions League by club
Club
TitlesRunners-upSeasons wonSeasons runner-up
Flag of Spain.svg Real Madrid 133 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 1962, 1964, 1981
Flag of Italy.svg Milan 74 1963, 1969, 1989, 1990, 1994, 2003, 2007 1958, 1993, 1995, 2005
Flag of Germany.svg Bayern Munich 55 1974, 1975, 1976, 2001, 2013 1982, 1987, 1999, 2010, 2012
Flag of England.svg Liverpool 53 1977, 1978, 1981, 1984, 2005 1985, 2007, 2018
Flag of Spain.svg Barcelona 53 1992, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2015 1961, 1986, 1994
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Ajax 42 1971, 1972, 1973, 1995 1969, 1996
Flag of Italy.svg Internazionale 32 1964, 1965, 2010 1967, 1972
Flag of England.svg Manchester United 32 1968, 1999, 2008 2009, 2011
Flag of Italy.svg Juventus 27 1985, 1996 1973, 1983, 1997, 1998, 2003, 2015, 2017
Flag of Portugal.svg Benfica 25 1961, 1962 1963, 1965, 1968, 1988, 1990
Flag of England.svg Nottingham Forest 20 1979, 1980
Flag of Portugal.svg Porto 20 1987, 2004
Flag of Scotland.svg Celtic 11 1967 1970
Flag of Germany.svg Hamburg 11 1983 1980
Flag of Romania.svg Steaua București 11 1986 1989
Flag of France.svg Marseille 11 1993 1991
Flag of Germany.svg Borussia Dortmund 11 1997 2013
Flag of England.svg Chelsea 11 2012 2008
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Feyenoord 10 1970
Flag of England.svg Aston Villa 10 1982
Flag of the Netherlands.svg PSV Eindhoven 10 1988
Flag of Serbia.svg Red Star Belgrade 10 1991
Flag of Spain.svg Atlético Madrid 03 1974, 2014, 2016
Flag of France.svg Reims 02 1956, 1959
Flag of Spain.svg Valencia 02 2000, 2001
Flag of Italy.svg Fiorentina 01 1957
Flag of Germany.svg Eintracht Frankfurt 01 1960
Flag of Serbia.svg Partizan 01 1966
Flag of Greece.svg Panathinaikos 01 1971
Flag of England.svg Leeds United 01 1975
Flag of France.svg Saint-Étienne 01 1976
Flag of Germany.svg Borussia Mönchengladbach 01 1977
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Club Brugge 01 1978
Flag of Sweden.svg Malmö FF 01 1979
Flag of Italy.svg Roma 01 1984
Flag of Italy.svg Sampdoria 01 1992
Flag of Germany.svg Bayer Leverkusen 01 2002
Flag of France.svg Monaco 01 2004
Flag of England.svg Arsenal 01 2006

Performances by nation

Performances in finals by nation
NationTitlesRunners-upTotal
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 181129
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 121628
Flag of England.svg  England 12820
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany [A] 71017
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 628
Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 459
Flag of France.svg  France 156
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania 112
Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 112
Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia 112
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium 011
Flag of Greece.svg  Greece 011
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 011
Totals6363126
Notes

    All-time top scorers

    As of 7 May 2019 [83]

    The table below does not include goals scored in the qualification stage.

    PlayerCountryGoalsAppsRatioYearsClub(s)
    1 Cristiano Ronaldo Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 1261620.782003– Manchester United (15), Real Madrid (105), Juventus (6)
    2 Lionel Messi Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 1121350.832005– Barcelona
    3 Raúl Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 711420.51995–2011 Real Madrid (66), Schalke 04 (5)
    4 Karim Benzema Flag of France.svg  France 601120.542006– Lyon (12), Real Madrid (48)
    5 Ruud van Nistelrooy Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 56730.771998–2009 PSV Eindhoven (8), Manchester United (35), Real Madrid (13)
    6 Robert Lewandowski Flag of Poland.svg  Poland 53800.662011– Borussia Dortmund (17), Bayern Munich (36)
    7 Thierry Henry Flag of France.svg  France 501120.451997–2010 Monaco (7), Arsenal (35), Barcelona (8)
    8 Alfredo Di Stéfano Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 49580.841955–1964 Real Madrid
    9 Andriy Shevchenko Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine 481000.481994–2012 Dynamo Kyiv (29), Milan (15), Chelsea (4)
    Zlatan Ibrahimović Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 1200.42001–2017 Ajax (6), Juventus (3), Internazionale (6), Barcelona (4), Milan (9), Paris Saint-Germain (20)

    Most appearances

    As of 7 May 2019 [84]

    The table below does not include appearances made in the qualification stage.

    PlayerNationAppsYearsClub(s)
    1 Iker Casillas Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 1771999– Real Madrid (150), Porto (27)
    2 Cristiano Ronaldo Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 1622003– Manchester United (52), Real Madrid (101), Juventus (9)
    3 Xavi Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 1511998–2015 Barcelona
    4 Ryan Giggs Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 145 [lower-alpha 1] 1993–2014 Manchester United
    5 Raúl Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 1421995–2011 Real Madrid (130), Schalke 04 (12)
    6 Paolo Maldini Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 135 [lower-alpha 2] 1988–2008 Milan
    Lionel Messi Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 1352005– Barcelona
    8 Andrés Iniesta Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 1302002–2018 Barcelona
    9 Clarence Seedorf Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 1251994–2012 Ajax (11), Real Madrid (25), Milan (89)
    10 Paul Scholes Flag of England.svg  England 1241994–2013 Manchester United
    Notes
    1. Giggs had 4 European Cup + 141 Champions League matches.
    2. Maldini had 26 European Cup + 109 Champions League matches.

    See also

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