History of the UEFA Cup in details
The history of the UEFA Cup tournament is 60 years old. It began as the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. Later this competition was transformed into the UEFA Cup, and after that into the Europa League. Despite the fact that this competition is considered the second best after the Champions League, its games are watched by millions of people around the world. You can learn info about the games of the Europa League and other football matches tomorrow on sports statistics websites.
The history of the UEFA Cup began in 1954 thanks to Swiss activist Ernst Tommen. The then member of the FIFA Executive Committee came up with the idea that the representations of European cities that arrange international fairs should compete in a football tournament. His idea was well-supported. The Fair Cities Cup started almost exactly 60 years ago, with eleven teams taking part in it. Basel FC played against Arsenal in the first game of this tournament. The Londoners advanced to the final, where they clearly (2:2 and 0:6) lost to the team from the Catalan capital, which consisted of FC Barcelona players. The decisive match took place almost three years after the start of the tournament. The Barcelona team defended their title in the second season of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. At the same time, they took part in the European Champions Cup, playing in the semifinals against Real Madrid.
The Fairs Cup 1971 and increasing visibility
In 1971, UEFA took charge of the Fairs Cup. European Federation activists have realized that the games of this tournament have gained significant popularity and that their arrangement can generate a tidy income. The tournament for cities became the UEFA Cup and added two already organized competitions under the authority of this organization:
- European Champions Cup.
- Cup Winners’ Cup.
In 1975, Borussia Mönchengladbach won a record victory in an away game in the final, and Jupp Heynckes became the hero of this away meeting against Twente Enschede (5:1). He scored three goals against German goalkeeper of Twente Volkmar Gross. One can find the football match tomorrow in the official Europa League calendar on the football statistics and news website.
In 2004, a formula similar to the current formula in the Europa League, the successor to the UEFA Cup, was adopted. The teams were divided into eight groups of five teams. Each team played twice at home and twice away. Five years later, the name of the tournament was also changed. It was named the Europa League and expanded to 48 participants in a group stage similar to the Champions League. The current history of this tournament is marked by the dominance of the teams from the Iberian Peninsula. The teams from Spain have won six times in the 21st century, and the Portuguese teams – twice.