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EU Champion

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UEFA

The Union of European Football Associations, almost always referred to by the acronym UEFA (pronounced [juː'eɪfə] (you-AY-fuh) or [uː'eɪfə] (oo-Ay-fuh) or ['wɛfə]), is the administrative and controlling body for European football. It represents the national football associations of Europe, runs Europe-wide national and club competitions, and controls the prize money, regulations and media rights to those competitions. Several national football associations which are geographically in Asia belong to UEFA rather than the Asian Football Confederation, including Israel, Cyprus, Armenia and Kazakhstan (Israel and Kazakhstan are former AFC members). Cyprus chose to be classed as a European football nation - they had the choice of Europe, Asia and Africa.

UEFA is one of the biggest of six continental confederations of FIFA. Of all the confederations, it is by far the strongest in terms of wealth and influence over the global game. Virtually all of the world's top players play in European leagues in part due to the salaries available from the world's wealthiest football clubs, particularly in England, France, Italy, Spain and Germany. Many of the world's strongest national sides are in UEFA. Of the 32 available spots in the 2006 World Cup, 14 were allocated to UEFA national teams.

UEFA was founded on June 15, 1954 in Basel, Switzerland following discussions between the French, Italian and Belgian FAs. The headquarters was in Paris until 1959 when the organisation moved to Bern. Henri Delaunay was the first General Secretary and Ebbe Schwartz the president. Its administrative centre since 1995 is in Nyon, Switzerland. It was initially made up of 25 national associations. Currently there are 53 associations.

UEFA, as a representative of the national associations, has had a number of bruising clashes with the European Commission. In the 1990s the issues of television rights and especially international transfers (the Bosman ruling) have had to undergo some major changes to remain in line with European law.

Competitions

International

The main competition for men's national teams is the European Football Championship, started in 1958, with the first finals in 1960, and known as the European Nations Cup until 1964. UEFA also runs national competitions at Under-21, Under-19 and Under-17 levels. For women's national teams, UEFA operates the UEFA Women's Championship for senior national sides and the UEFA Women's Under-19 Championship at under-19 level.

UEFA also organises the UEFA/CAF Meridian Cup with CAF for youth teams.

In futsal there is the UEFA Futsal Championship.

Club

UEFA also runs the two main club competitions in Europe: the UEFA Champions League was first held in 1955, and was known as the European Champion Clubs Cup (or just European Cup) until 1991; and the UEFA Cup, for national knockout cup winners and high-placed league teams, was launched by UEFA in 1971 as a successor to the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (also begun in 1955). A third competition, the Cup Winners' Cup, started in 1960 and was absorbed into the UEFA Cup in 1999. Only four teams have won each of the three competitions, a feat that is no longer possible for any team that did not win the Cup Winners' Cup. There are currently ten teams throughout Europe that have won two of the three trophies; all have won the Cup Winners Cup and six require a win in the Champions League and four require a UEFA Cup win.

The UEFA Super Cup, which pits the winners of the Champions League against the winners of the UEFA Cup (previously the winners of the Cup Winners' Cup), came into being in 1973.

The UEFA Intertoto Cup is a summer competition, previously operated by several Central European football associations, which was relaunched by UEFA in 1995 as a qualifying competition for the UEFA Cup. Recently, UEFA launched the UEFA Regions Cup, for semi-professional teams. UEFA also conducts the UEFA Women's Cup for women's club teams.

In futsal there is the UEFA Futsal Cup.

The European/South American Cup was jointly organised with CONMEBOL between the Champions League and the Copa Libertadores winners.

UEFA World Cup Qualifiers

Women's Qualifiers

The following UEFA members have competed in the following FIFA World Cups. Names marked in bold represent occasions when a UEFA member won the tournament:

  • 1930 - Belgium, France, Romania, Yugoslavia
  • 1934 - Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
  • 1938 - Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland
  • 1950 - England, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Yugoslavia
  • 1954 - Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, England, France, Hungary, Italy, Scotland, Switzerland, Turkey, West Germany, Yugoslavia
  • 1958 - Austria, Czechoslovakia, England, France, Hungary, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, USSR, Wales, West Germany, Yugoslavia
  • 1962 - Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, England, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, USSR, West Germany, Yugoslavia
  • 1966 - Bulgaria, England, France, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, USSR, West Germany
  • 1970 - Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, England, Italy, Romania, Sweden, USSR, West Germany (plus Israel, who qualified as member of AFC)
  • 1974 - Bulgaria, East Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Scotland, Sweden, West Germany, Yugoslavia
  • 1978 - Austria, France, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, West Germany
  • 1982 - Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, England, France, Hungary, Italy, Northern Ireland, Poland, Scotland, Spain, USSR, West Germany, Yugoslavia
  • 1986 - Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, England, France, Hungary, Italy, Northern Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Scotland, Spain, USSR, West Germany
  • 1990 - Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, England, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, USSR, West Germany, Yugoslavia
  • 1994 - Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
  • 1998 - Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Scotland, Spain, Yugoslavia FR
  • 2002 - Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey
  • 2006 - Croatia, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Serbia and Montenegro, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Ukraine
 

The most famous bicycle race in the world

Le Tour de France (Tour of France), often referred to as La Grande Boucle, Le Tour or The Tour, is the most famous and prestigious road bicycle race in the world. With the exception of interruptions for World War I and World War II, it has been held annually since 1903.

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