Featured image by Comfreak from Pixabay
Every four years, fans of European football rivet their attention on the UEFA Champions League. That is when the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) hosts the European Cup, one of the most prestigious sports events in the world.
What Is the UEFA?
According to the UEFA website, they are “the governing body for all of European football and the umbrella organisation for 55 national associations.”
The UEFA first began hosting championship playoffs for top-division European clubs in 1955 at the urging of Gabriel Hanot, editor of L’Equipe. Sixteen clubs participated in the championship games during that first season (1955-56), and the Spanish team Real Madrid took home the trophy.
Real Madrid Has Ruled the UEFA Champions League Since 1956
The UEFA championship tournament is wildly popular. Real Madrid has dominated since that first season, winning five consecutive tournaments beginning with the first one.
In fact, when it comes to championship European football teams, Spanish teams have historically overshadowed other teams in Europe, claiming more victories than any other European country. England’s teams come in second, followed next by teams from Italy.
Winners of the initial round robin stage qualify for games played in a double round knock-out format. The tournament culminates in a single playoff game between the year’s two strongest clubs held typically in late May or early June. The winning team gets to keep the European Cup for the next four years. Additionally, they automatically qualify for the following year’s Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
The UEFA Championship games that were supposed to have been played in 2020 had to be postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They took place instead in 2021. However, they kept the name Euro 2020. Italy got to take home the championship trophy from those games.
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The Championship Trophy Is a Thing of Beauty
The trophy, officially Coupe Henri Delaunay, bears the name of Henri Delaunay, the first General Secretary of the UEFA. In its current form, it is sterling silver, weighs 18 pounds, and stands 24 inches tall. It replaced the original trophy in 2008.
Iker Casillas was first captain to hold the current prize aloft that year, when Spain beat Germany 1-0.
Sports Bettors and Football Fans Alike Love the UEFA Champions League
Football fans enthusiastically look forward to the UEFA championship tournament every four years. But they ravenously devour European football every other year, too. Sports bettors also take ardent note. Moreover, while sports fans tend to bet for teams and players they’re loyal to or fond of, sports bettors take home more cash by adopting a more pragmatic approach.
Most likely you have been working hard in recent months. Many business owners have. If you are looking for a way to relax from running your business, give yourself a break and watch some European football.
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If you’re not already a soccer fan, it’s never too late to learn about the game and the players. The sport is fantastic, and the athletes are a thrill to watch.
Then by the time 2024 rolls around, you’ll be ready to place your bets on the UEFA Championship Tournament. You will have more fun than you might imagine from watching and betting on European football.
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Note: The terms “soccer” and “European football” are used interchangeably in this article.