The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is the administrative body for association football in Europe and parts of Asia. It is one of the six confederations of FIFA, the global governing body for football. UEFA was founded in June 1954 in Switzerland and initially consisted of 25 associations. Membership doubled by the early 1990s and today it consists of 55 national association members. As of 2016, UEFA had 946 employees, although this number is elevated because it was a year when the European Championships took place. In the 2015/16 season, the organization’s total revenue was just under 4.58 billion euros.
The top-ranked UEFA club competition is the UEFA Champions League, which has run annually since the 1992/93 season and is contested between the top 1-4 teams of each country’s domestic league. It is a successor to the European Cup held from 1955 to 1992, which only took place between the top team of each country. The Champions League is the most lucrative annual competition for UEFA as it generated revenue of 2.03 billion euros in 2015/16, accounting for over 40 percent of the organization’s overall revenue in that season. Real Madrid are the most successful team in the history of the competition, having lifted the trophy a total of 11 times. The club has also made the most appearances in the competition, taking part 47 times since its inaugural season in 1955.
UEFA’s second, lower-ranked annual club competition is the UEFA Europa League. The competition, founded in 1971 and given its current format in 2009, takes place between domestic cup winners and high-placed domestic league teams. The competition made total revenue of over 351 million euros in the 2015/16 season, with 312 million euros alone generated through television broadcasting rights. To date, three teams have won the title a total of 3 times, whilst Sevilla FC lead the pack with five titles. Sporting Lisbon are the club with the most appearances in the competition.
UEFA’s main competition for men’s national teams is the UEFA European Football Championship, with the first finals being held in 1960. The competition is held every four years, with similar competitions run at women’s and youth levels. The tournament was originally called the UEFA European Nations Cup but changed to the current name in 1968. The European Championships are very lucrative for UEFA and the most recent tournament in France in 2016 generated total revenue of around 1.92 billion euros. The 15 European Championships so far have been won by 10 different national teams, with Portugal being first-time winners in 2016. Germany and Spain each have won three titles, whilst France has claimed two championships. The competition has grown significantly since the first five tournaments in which only four teams took part. In EURO 2016 in France, a total of 24 teams took part, with over 50 games played in a month-long tournament across 10 host cities. The format will be changed further for EURO 2020 as the competition will be held in multiple cities all over Europe to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the tournament. It was announced on September 19, 2014 that the final and semi-finals would be held at Wembley Stadium in London.
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