History Of UEFA European Football Championship

First played in 1960 under the name of UEFA European Nations Cup, the idea of this popular European football league was first suggested by Henri Delaunay in 1927 who was a member of French Football Federation. Finally in 1960, his dream turned into reality and the tournament was held in France. In his honor, the tournament trophy was named as Henri Deluanay Trophy. 17 teams participated out of which three teams did not played- West Germany, England and Italy. Among the 14 remaining teams, USSR made its way into the final and won the first tournament trophy by outsmarting Yugoslavia by 2-1.

After that, the name of this tournament was changed to European Football Championship in 1968 and then since 1992, this tournament became popular as Euro. Held once in every four years; statistical reports show that this is the third most popular sports tournament in the world after Olympic Games and World Cup. So far, 13 tournaments had been played and this Euro 2012 is the 14th session. Germany is the most successful team in this tournament who had been in the final six times and won championship title three times.

In 1964, Spain was the host of the tournament with 29 teams participating in the tournament. The host succeeded in bagging the championship title by defeating the last time champion USSR by 2-1.

In 1968, the tournament name was reframed but the format remained same with two new teams. Held in Italy, the championship title also went to the host country when they defeated Yugoslavia in a replay match by 2-0. The most notable incident in that year was a coin toss to decide a semi-final match. This coin toss was the first and the only time incident in Euro history.

Belgium was the host in 1972 when West Germany (now Germany) won the final beating Soviet Union by 3-0.

1976 tournament was held in Yugoslavia and that was the final year to put an end for two things- host team had to be in the final and four teams qualifying in the final. That year is also notable for the newly introduced penalty shootout. Czechoslovakia won the final.

The next tournament in 1980 was organized in a new format in Italy. The concept of group came up and eight teams participated with winners of each group getting into the play-offs and then to the final. West Germany won once again and this was their second championship title.

In 1984, the concept of semi-final also emerged which gave totally a new format to this tournament. France won the tournament by smashing Spain in 2-0. Michel Platini was then the Captain of France who was an impressive player of the tournament. He scored 9 goals in 5 matches.

The two times champion, West Germany hosted the 1988 tournament where Netherlands defeated the host to win the championship title. This year is still considered as a glorious year in football history because Marco van Basten made a spectacular goal over the goalkeeper straight from the right wing.

Then in Sweden in 1992 when European Football Championship became Euro 1992 for the first time! Denmark won the league by defeating unified Germany by 2-0. Yugoslavia was not allowed to participate in the tournament that year as they were in a state of war.

16 teams participated in UEFA Euro 1996which was organized in England. Germany ousted newly-formed state Czech Republic by 2-1 and bagged another championship trophy for the third time. But for unified Germany, this was the first time.

Belgium and Netherlands were the host for Euro 2000 when France was the emperor of football. As expected by the entire world, France once more succeeded in retaining their position as champion when they defeated Italy by 2-1.

The championship trophy of UEFA Euro 2004, held in Portugal, was won by Greece who defeated the host team by 1-0 in the final.

Switzerland and Austria, again two countries hosted UEFA Euro 2008 where Spain defeated Germany by 1-0 in the final to become the champion.

Finally 2012! This year Ukraine and Poland will host the tournament where 16 teams are participating from four groups, each group having four teams. Czech Republic, Greece, Poland and Russia are from Group A, Denmark, Germany, Portugal and Holland are from Group B, Croatia, Spain, Italy and Ireland are from Group C and England, France, Sweden and Ukraine are from Group D. This exciting tournament will start on June 8, 2012 and will continue till July 1, 2012.

UEFA – Union of European Football Associations

Introduction: Background and History
Confederation name: Union of European Football Associations
Acronym: UEFA
Established date: 15 June 1954 A.D
Date of first congress: 2 March 1955
Headquarter: Nyon, Switzerland
First General Secretary: Henri Delaunay
First President: Ebbe Schwartz
Headquarter(s): Paris, France (1954 – 1959)
Bern, Switzerland (1959 – 1995)
Nyon, Switzerland (1995 onwards)
Headquarter of UEFA at Nyon, Switzerland

UEFA, the Union of European Football Associations is one of the six continental football federations. Among the six confederations that are part of FIFA, UEFA stands as the wealthiest one. It certainly has the strongest influence on football all over the world as World’s top players play for the European power houses. UEFA was established with the common task to oversee and organize league and national team competitions in European region. This continental football federation was formed as the result of the discussion of Italian, French and Belgian football associations hosted by Switzerland in Basel, Switzerland. Hence, UEFA started its top journey from June 15, 1954 with the governing body consisting Henri Delaunay to stand as the first General Secretary and Ebbe Schwartz as the first president. UEFA had it’s headquarter located in Paris until 1959 when it moved to Bern and then finally to Nyon, Switzerland in 1995. UEFA has been organizing various leagues and tournament for both men and women. It organizes both nation’s competitions as well nation wide and continent wide club competitions. It organizes various prestigious competitions like UEFA Champion’s League, Euro Cup, UEFA Cup etc. These leagues and tournament’s growing popularity is certainly making this confederation stronger and influencing than ever.

UEFA began with just 3 full time staffs which have increased to 340 people of more than 29 different nationalities. UEFA employs administrators, secretaries, IT specialist, coaches, journalists, translators at its administrative HQ. This shows that UEFA certainly is the top confederation. It has been able to tune itself into a dynamic organization to cope with the vast requirements of the modern-day football. UEFA had 23 member associations in the beginning; there are now 53 associations under UEFA.

UEFA Executive Committee:

An executive committee governs UEFA. The executive committee of UEFA comprises of UEFA president and 15 other members elected by UEFA congress. The Executive Committee does not include more than one member from the same member association. The committee does the work of making decisions on all matters which do not fall within the legal or statutory jurisdiction of the UEFA Congress or another organ. It manages UEFA. It has several duties like overall control of UEFA and the issuing of necessary instructions, definition of organizational structure etc.

The Executive Committee also appoints general secretary who keeps the responsibility of organization management and direction of the UEFA administration.

President: Michel Platini
Vice Presidents: Senes Erzik
Ángel María Villar Llona
Giancarlo Abete
Geoffrey Thompson
Marios N Lefkaritis
Members: Sergey Fursenko
Allah Hansen
Avraham Luzon
Mircea Sandu
Michael van Praag
Dr Theo Zwanziger
Grigoriy Surkis
Borislav Mihaylov
František Laurinec
Peter Gilliéron
General Secretary: Gianni Infantino

Member nations:

The confederation was established with the initial membership 25 national associations but the present number of members is 53. The number gradually increased after 1990, Soviet Union broke into various states and became USSR. The 53 member nations along with their IOC code have been listed below.

Albania (ALB)
Andorra (AND)
Armenia (ARM)
Austria (AUT)
Azerbaijan (AZE)
Belarus (BLR)
Belgium (BEL)
Bosnia Herzegovina (BIH)
Bulgaria (BUL)
Croatia (CRO)
Cyprus (CYP)
Czech Republic (CZE)
Denmark (DEN)
England (ENG)
Estonia (EST)
Faroe Island (FRO)
Finland (FIN)
france (FRA)
Fyr Macedonia (MKD)
GEORGIA (GEO)
GERMANY (GER)
GREECE (GRE)
HUNGARY (HUN)
ICELAND (ISL)
ISRAEL (ISR)
ITALY (ITA)
KAZAKHSTAN (KAZ)
LATVIA (LVA)
LIECHTENSTEIN (LIE)
LITHUANIA (LTU)
LUXEMBOURG (LUX)
MALTA (MLT)
MOLDOVA (MDA)
MONTENEGRO (MNE)
NETHERLAND (NED)
NORTHERN IRELAND (NIR)
NORWAY (NOR)
POLAND (POL)
PORTUGAL (POR)
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND (IRL)
ROMANIA (ROU)
RUSSIA (RUS)
SAN MARINO (SMR)
SCOTLAND (SCO)
SERBIA (SRB)
SLOVAKIA (SVK)
SLOVENIA (SVN)
SPAIN (ESP)
SWEDEN (SWE)
SWITZERLAND (SUI)
TURKEY (TUR)
UKRAINE (UKR)
WALES (WAL)

The Unseen Threat From Europe – the Premier League’s Dominance of European Football is in Danger

So, Manchester United look like they are going to win the Premier League title again. And with Chelsea dying a slow death in West London and Arsenal constantly shooting themselves in the foot, while Liverpool argue with their own manager, can anyone challenge them?

The Reds one-sided success (this year would make it 11 wins out of 17) in the English Premier League puts the league in danger of turning itself into an Eastern European backwater-type league where a single team is dominant for decades, as the rest of the country scratches around for scraps. The red herring this season is Aston Villa, who have broken into the top four, but is that because they have improved to meet the top four, or is it that the three below Man Utd are drifting down to meet them?

The fact that the top tier in the English league has an obvious second league of teams nowhere near good enough to challenge for anything other than mid-table obscurity, underline the crossroads English football appears to be at.

Of course, there’s the money. Last week it was announced that Sky accidentally blew Setanta out of the water and took five out of six Premier League TV packages by upping their bid to £1.4bn over three years. All good for clubs who can continue to throw money at players in a bid for the Holy Grail of football, a place in the top four .
But that money is only the base on which the big clubs are building their brands – and Man Utd’s success is such that they are in danger of getting too big for British football. A survey last year suggested that United had 333m fans worldwide compared with 75m in 2003. Clearly, success is paying off globally – one only has to look at the growing percentage of southeast Asian fans popping up at Old Trafford for visual evidence.
 
Man Utd’s dominance would not threaten “Brand Premier League” on its own: what the English leagues should be really worried about is that the rest of Europe appears to be getting its act together. As TV pays the bills, and global branding pays for the pretty dresses, any danger to Brand Premier on the world stage will be disastrous, particularly as the world lurches into a financial crisis.

The four big leagues (France, Italy, Spain and Germany) are in the midst of becoming more exciting by the week, with competition at the top and engaging action at the bottom, with a little quality, too. There finances appear to be improving rapidly, too. France’s Ligue 1 has seven teams vying for the title this year: perhaps because the team that has dominated for a decade, Lyon, has not had the global branding Man Utd has had. And the French leagues hit the jackpot in 2005 when a bidding war put the price of TV packages at £1.6bn – almost on a par with the Premier League.

Last year, the German Bundesliga took over the English Premiership’s mantle as the league making the most money out of shirt sponsorship: a small part of a club’s overall revenue but significant in that it suggests how bankable the league is in terms of marketability.
A year ago a rather doom-laden Spanish La Liga was looking at multiple bankruptcies as economists warned that clubs had radically overspent to keep up with Real Madrid and Barcelona. But the fact that Spain has two clubs bigger than Man Utd means that it will always be more competitive on a global market. It also has the advantage that there are more football-mad nations that speak Spanish than English-speaking nations.
 
The fate of Italian clubs, meanwhile, should serve as a warning for the money-bloated Premier League. For years they fed on bloated cheques from rich owners – often local companies done good or senior politicians or Italian oligarchs. Now it doesn’t look so good. Juventus has been dropped a league and since returned, while many other clubs suffered from wage bills hitting 85% of income. Now, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Clubs like Napoli, which suffered from the previous wage profligacy (Maradona and Paul Gascoigne the highest profile luxuries), are back in the black and highflying in Serie A.  Oh, and Italy still has four of the top 20 richest clubs in Europe.

Perhaps more importantly is the strong support in Italy for a salary cap which, if implemented, will drive Italian clubs back up to the top in Europe.
 
If the Premier League continues on its current path, three things could happen:

1) Of course, everything could work out fine, with the money levelling off as Brand Premier begins to help every club in the league. Competition becomes more intense, the world is hooked,

2) Man Utd continue to dominate and the fans slowly but surely switch off. United decides it doesn’t want to share the TV money so, as the only show in town, decides to break away from the TV package and sell itself. With little or no competition at home European action becomes more important. The spectre of a European super league raises its ugly head again.

3) Brand Premier goes the way of Italy: money breeds corruption, breeds alienation and eventually the English falls into a bitter sea of fear, court cases and recriminations. Millions worldwide switch back to a revitalized Serie A and La Liga and the old world order is duly re-established.
 
Sepp Blatter allows himself a quiet, triumphant smile.