UEFA Champions League
The thrills and skills Champions League deliver like no other competition has been nothing short of phenomenal. Borussia Dortmund’s “Yellow Wall”, Manchester United’s Stretford End and Barcelona’s ~ 100,000-seater Camp Nou; iconic stadia and raucous atmospheres are what makes Champions League matches so special.
UEFA Champions League is an annual football competition commonly known as UCL and is one of the most popular and prestigious football leagues in the world while competing with most competitive rivals around the world.
UEFA Champions League history goes back to 1930, the Swiss club Servette tried for the first time to create a Coupe des Nations trophy to compete with clubs that had each won in their own country.
The tournament was held in Geneva which featured ten champions from across the continent, with the Hungarian winning the competition.
In 1949 that European countries came together to form the Latin Cup. Soon after the cup, Gabriel Hannot, L'Équipe's editor, received reports of the highly successful tournament in 1948.
Finally, Hannot succeeded in convincing UEFA to implement such a tournament, and finally, in 1955 the European Champions Club Cup was launched in Paris.
The very first edition of the European Cup was played in 1995-56 season. European Cup was started with 16 teams taking part in the competition. All the champions of Europe’s leagues were given the invitation to compete against each other in the round-robin format and also allowed multiple entrants from certain countries, the final winner was regarded as the European Champions.
Later with the emerging popularity of the European Cup and the round-robin format was changed accordingly to the group format and the league got rebranded as UEFA Champions league in 1992.
UEFA Champions League is an Annual club Football event organized by UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) The league structure has changed and adapted according to the dynamic changes in the Football game.
UEFA champions league qualification is mainly based upon how a team finishes its domestic league the previous season. Each League has a certain number of qualifying spots based on how big their league is, as determined by the UEFA Coefficient. The UEFA Champions League coefficients compile how well the teams in each league have performed in continental competitions in the last five years and rank the leagues accordingly.
At Present, Spain ranks 1st, followed by England is in 2nd spot in the coefficients Ranking charts by UEFA Champions League. The First four rankings of national associations get four places in the Champions League season and eight spots are being shared by the clubs from the next six ranks from the national associations and the remaining six spots to be decided by the champions route and league route finals.
Four of the remaining six qualifying places are given to the winners of a six-round qualifying tournament between the remaining 43 or 44 national champions, within which those champions from associations with greater coefficients receive byes to later rounds. The other two spots are given 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.
The tournament precisely begins with a group stage where 32 teams are divided into 8 groups of 4 teams each, the teams from the same leagues are not drawn into the same group. Teams play six group stage matches, playing its home and away match in a round-robin format. The top 2 groups in every group move directly to the round of sixteen, at the same time as the third-placed team in every group drops into the UEFA Europa League.
In the Round of 16 stages, the winning team from each group plays against the runners-up team from another group and team from the same leagues do not play against each other.
From Quarter-final onwards the fixture is picked at random. Quarter-finals, semi-finals are played in 2 legs, home and away, and uses the Away Goal Rule.
The UEFA Champion League has also regulations for the ground selection, the competition is played in a stadium that meets the structural criteria and only elite stadiums are selected for the Champions League final. No stadium with a capacity of less than 60,000 is selected for the UEFA competitions.
The Final UEFA Champions League match to be played in a stadium is decided by the UEFA association almost two years in advance.
Records in the Champions League
Spanish league teams have dominated the champions league. Real Madrid has won the most champions league titles with 13 in total since 1992 and is regarded as the most successful club in Champion’s League history. AC Milan comes 2nd in the race with seven champion league titles while Liverpool is in 3rd with six champion league titles.
Ever since the champion league started, a UEFA international referee cannot exceed the age of 45 years. A referee must step down at the end of his season as soon as he turns 45. This age limit is set to ensure a top-level of fitness in the competition.
Every team is entitled to the replica of the trophy if the team wins the Champions League three years in a row or five times. However, UEFA retains the original all the time. However, Real Madrid is the only team to win the hattrick champion league Titles in the world
Roy Makaay of Bayern Munich has scored the fastest Goal of Champions league History in 10.2 seconds after kick-off against Real Madrid in 2007.
Real Madrid is the only team to win the hattrick champion league Titles in the world
Neymar is the only player to net in both legs of the quarter-final, both legs of the semi-final, and in the final of a UCL season.
Cristiano Ronaldo is on the top of the goal scorer chart in the Champions League with 135 goals. While Lionel Messi is in 2nd place with 120 Goals to his tally.
Facts about the UEFA Champions League
England is the only nation to have provided four quarter-finalists in a season, 2018-19 being the third occasion after 2007-08 and 2008-09.
Cristiano Ronaldo has a record in the UEFA Champions League group stage with 11 goals in the 2015-16 season.
Manchester United is the only team to have the Champions League title having won the fewest matches and were unbeaten during their 1998-19 season campaign.
Atletico Madrid has reached the 3 Champions League finals without having won.
Nottingham Forest has won the UCL 2 times wherein they have won their domestic league only once.
Juventus have lost more finals than any other team in Champions League History.
Champions League has its Anthem and it’s played before every match of the tournament which is written by Tony Britten, is played to honor the fact that football is bringing together so many different people. The Chorus of the anthem even has three official languages i.e., English, German and French, integrated within it.
UEFA Badge Of Honor is given only to the clubs that have the competition after their fifth win or three in a row for the first time.
What’s new in Champions league
UEFA Champions League has made certain in order to give more opportunities to see Europe’s top teams playing each other earlier in the competition.
From the 2024-25 season onwards, there will be a single league, all 36 competing clubs will play against each. This will give four more sides the opportunity to compete against the best clubs in Europe.
Under the new format, teams will play four matches more than is currently the case. In the new format, teams will no longer play three opponents twice but will instead face fixtures against 10 different teams, half of them at home and half of them away.
These additional three spots will be divided according to UEFA National ranking associations and the remaining one spot will be given to the domestic champion by extending from four to five the number of clubs qualifying via Champions Path.
It’ll be interesting to see how the UEFA Champions League flourishes with the new format coming into action in coming years. Hope to see the UEFA Champions League getting bigger, better for many more to come.