For European football fans, the UEFA is an intrinsic part of the sport. The Union des Associations Europeennes de Football is one of six continental confederations of the world's governing football body, the Federation Internationale de Football Association or FIFA. Learn more about the history of UEFA, what it does, and its contributions to football.
UEFA was first founded on June 15, 1954, in Basle, Switzerland. The organization was created to work with national football associations to promote the game and strengthen its popularity around the world. In 1960, UEFA employed just three people. As the game has grown, so has the size of the organization, and today, UEFA employs over 300 people in a variety of different roles. While UEFA initially comprised 25 national associations, the number of members has also increased over the years, with 53 associations belonging to UEFA in 2012.
Role and responsibilities
Initially, UEFA developed relationships and a sense of solidarity among the different members of the European football community. Over time, these roles have shifted towards becoming a guardian for the sport, supporting the sport at a competitive, international level as well as developing future talent and encouraging more people to enjoy football as a hobby.
UEFA facilitates a number of competitions each year. Some of the main ones are:
UEFA operates two club competitions in Europe each year.
The top competition is the UEFA Champion's League that comprises the top 4 teams in each country's league. The top prize for winning the Champion's League is 9 million Euros. The Spanish club Real Madrid has won the competition more times than any other team with nine victories up to 2012. Milan follows with seven victories and then the British club Liverpool with five.
The UEFA Europa League features national knock-out cup winners and high-placed league teams. The prize money for the Europa League stands at 3 million Euros. The Italian teams Juventus and Internazionale have each won the contest three times as has the British club Liverpool.
The organization behind UEFA must manage the reputation and community standing of football associations. The challenges of the 1980s was to deal with hooliganism and crowd safety. By 2012, one of UEFA's greatest challenges is to tackle racism in the sport. A number of high profile club players have been disciplined by UEFA for misconduct, and the governing body is under increasing pressure to do more to address the issue. In a slow economic climate, UEFA is also being pressured to manage the exorbitant salaries of professional players.