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UEFA Europa League 2013/2014

uefa-europa-legue

The UEFA Europa League evolved from the UEFA Cup, which itself was conceived by Switzerland's Ernst Thommen who, along with Italy's Ottorino Barrasi and England's Sir Stanley Rous, later FIFA President, created a tournament for representative sides from European cities that regularly held trade fairs.

This forerunner to the UEFA Cup, the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, was founded on 18 April 1955, two weeks after the founding of the European Champion Clubs' Cup. The first Fairs Cup involved teams from Barcelona, Basle, Birmingham, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Lausanne, Leipzig, London, Milan and Zagreb. The original tournament lasted three years, with matches timed to coincide with trade fairs. Barcelona, using players purely from FC Barcelona, beat a London representative side 8-2 on aggregate in the final.

For the second tournament the organisers reverted to club participation but the teams still had to come from cities staging trade fairs. Sixteen clubs took part in the 1958-60 tournament, after which it was staged on an annual basis. By 1962 the number of entrants had risen to 32; there are now over 100. In its early years, teams from southern Europe dominated, notably Barcelona, who won it three times, and Valencia CF who won it twice. In 1968 Leeds United AFC became the first northern European club to win the trophy, heralding a run of six successive wins by English sides.

UEFA Cup
The fifth of these was in 1971/72, won by Tottenham Hotspur FC, and the first to be known as the UEFA Cup. The change of name was recognition of the fact the competition was now run by UEFA and no longer associated with the trade fairs. During the 1970s German, Dutch, Belgian and Swedish sides began to successfully compete with the English and between 1968 and 1984 only one team from the south – Juventus in 1977 – managed to disrupt the dominance of the northern Europeans.

But following back-to-back victories by Real Madrid CF in the mid-1980s, Italian clubs took control in the 1990s. Starting with SSC Napoli's victory in 1989, Italian sides won the UEFA Cup eight times in eleven seasons, with FC Internazionale Milano winning it three times, before Galatasaray AS claimed it as Turkey's first European club prize in 2000. With the exception of 1964 and 1965, the final had, like the previous rounds, always been a two-legged, affair. The format changed permanently to a one-tie final in 1998 when Inter beat S.S. Lazio 3-0 at the Parc des Princes in Paris. Inter, Juventus and Liverpool share the record of three UEFA Cup final successes apiece.

From 1999/00, domestic cup winners also qualified for the UEFA Cup after the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup was disbanded. In addition, clubs eliminated from the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League and the eight third-placed finishers at the end of the group stage of the same competition entered the competition. A group stage was introduced for the first time in 2004/05 involving 40 teams playing four games.

UEFA Europa League
Since 2009/10 the competition has been known as the UEFA Europa League, with the group stage expanded to 48 clubs playing six matches on a home-and-away format similar to the UEFA Champions League. Club Atlético de Madrid took two of the first three titles, either side of a FC Porto triumph.

ROAD TO THE FINAL: The UEFA Europa League comprises three qualifying rounds, a play-off round, a group stage and five knockout rounds.

Qualifying
In matches in the three qualifying rounds and the play-offs, clubs play two matches against each other on a home-and-away basis. The club which scores the greater aggregate of goals qualifies for the next round, with away goals and then penalties used to determine the winner in the event of a draw.

Group stage
The play-off round winners join the ten losers from the UEFA Champions League play-offs and automatic entrants. The clubs are split into 12 groups of four teams, playing home and away against each of their pool opponents between September and December. Two sides from each section advance, proceeding into the round of 32 alongside eight third-placed teams from the UEFA Champions League group stage.

Knockout phase
From the last 32 until the semi-finals, clubs play two games against each other on a home-and-away basis with the same rules as the qualifying and play-off rounds applied. In the last 32, group winners and the four third-placed sides from the UEFA Champions League with the best records are seeded, guaranteeing they will play the second leg at home. Teams from the same group or the same association cannot be drawn together. From the round of 16 onwards the draw is free.

Final
The final is decided by a single match, which this season will be played at the Amsterdam ArenA on Wednesday 15 May.
Further details, including the criteria for separating teams that finish level on points in a group, can be found in the official competition regulations.

The 2013 UEFA Europa League final, awarded to the Amsterdam ArenA by the UEFA Executive Committee on 16 June 2011, will be the second major continental showpiece at the modern home of four-time European champions AFC Ajax.

  • Opened on 14 August 1996 with a spectacular ceremony and match between Ajax and AC Milan, the 51,800-seater Amsterdam ArenA came of age when it staged the 1998 UEFA Champions League final, Real Madrid CF beating Juventus. It was also a venue for UEFA EURO 2000, playing host to a semi-final among five games.
  • It was not the first Amsterdam venue to stage major UEFA matches. The Olympisch Stadion, where Ajax played big games prior to the construction of the modern ArenA, hosted the 1962 European Champion Clubs' Cup final where SL Benfica beat Madrid 5-3.
  • The 1977 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final also took place at the Olympisch Stadion, bringing a 2-0 victory for Hamburger SV against RSC Anderlecht, as did the second leg of the 1992 UEFA Cup decider, Ajax holding Torino FC 0-0 to win on away goals.
  • The most recent final in the Netherlands was the 2006 UEFA Cup decider, a 4-0 triumph for Sevilla FC against Middlesbrough FC in Eindhoven.

The 2012/13 UEFA Europa League final will be held at the Amsterdam ArenA.

UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE - PREVIOUS WINNERS

atletico-madrid

2011/12 Atlético

fc-porto

2010/11 Porto

atletico-madrid

2009/10 Atlético

shakhtar-donetsk

2008/09 Shakhtar Donetsk

zenit-st-petersburg

2007/08 Zenit

fc-sevilla

2006/07 Sevilla

fc-sevilla

2005/06 Sevilla

cska-moscova

2004/05 CSKA Moskva

valencia

2003/04 Valencia

fc-porto

2002/03 Porto

feyenoord-rotterdam

2001/02 Feyenoord

liverpool

2000/01 Liverpool

galatasaray

1999/00 Galatasaray

fc-parma

1998/99 Parma

internazionale-milano

1997/98 Internazionale

fc-schalke-04

1996/97 Schalke

fc-bayern-munchen

1995/96 Bayern

fc-parma

1994/95 Parma

internazionale-milano

1993/94 Internazionale

juventus-torino

1992/93 Juventus

ajax-amsterdam

1991/92 Ajax

internazionale-milano

1990/91 Internazionale

juventus-torino

1989/90 Juventus

ssc-napoli

1988/89 Napoli

bayer-leverkusen

1987/88 Leverkusen

ifk-goteborg

1986/87 Göteborg

real-madrid

1985/86 Real Madrid

real-madrid

1984/85 Real Madrid

tottenham-hotspur

1983/84 Tottenham

rsc-anderlecht

1982/83 Anderlecht

ifk-goteborg

1981/82 Göteborg

ipswich-town

1980/81 Ipswich

eintracht-frankfurt

1979/80 Eintracht

borussia-monchengladbach

1978/79 Mönchengladbach

psv-eindhoven

1977/78 PSV

juventus-torino

1976/77 Juventus

liverpool

1975/76 Liverpool

borussia-monchengladbach

1974/75 Mönchengladbach

feyenoord-rotterdam

1973/74 Feyenoord

liverpool

1972/73 Liverpool

tottenham-hotspur

1971/72 Tottenham

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