The UEFA Champions League, known simply as the Champions League, is an annual continental club football competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and contested by top-division European clubs.
Let’s see some awesome facts and trivia about it!
1.Introduced in 1992, the competition replaced the European Champion Clubs’ Cup, or simply European Cup, which had run since 1955, adding a group stage to the competition and allowing multiple entrants from certain countries.
2. The pre-1992 competition was initially a straight knockout tournament open only to the champion club of each country.
3. While most of Europe’s national leagues can still only enter their national league champion, Europe’s strongest national leagues now provide up to four teams for the competition and will provide up to five teams from the 2015–16 season onwards.
4. The UEFA Champions League anthem, officially titled simply as “Champions League”, was written by Tony Britten, and is an adaptation of George Frideric Handel’s Zadok the Priest (one of his Coronation Anthems).
5. UEFA commissioned Britten in 1992 to arrange an anthem, and the piece was performed by London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and sung by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.
6. The chorus contains the three official languages used by UEFA: English, German, and French. The anthem’s chorus is played before each UEFA Champions League game, as well as at the beginning and end of television broadcasts of the matches. The complete anthem is about three minutes long, and has two short verses and the chorus.
7. The anthem has never been released commercially in its original version.
8. The UEFA Refereeing Unit is broken down into five experience-based categories. A referee is initially placed into Category 4 with the exception of referees from France, Germany, England, Italy, or Spain. Referees from these five countries are typically comfortable with top professional matches and are therefore directly placed into Category 3. Each referee’s performance is observed and evaluated after every match; his category may be revised twice per season, but a referee cannot be promoted directly from Category 3 to the Elite Category.
9. Since 1990, a UEFA international referee cannot exceed the age of 45 years. After turning 45, a referee must step down at the end of his season. The age limit was established to ensure an elite level of fitness. Today, UEFA Champions League referees are required to pass a fitness test to even be considered at the international level.
10. Any team that wins the Champions League three years in a row or five times overall wins the right to retain a full-sized replica of the trophy (UEFA retains the original at all times).
11. Six clubs have earned this honour so far: Real Madrid, Ajax, Bayern Munich, Milan, Liverpool, and Barcelona.
12. A rule introduced in 1968/69 stipulates that the cup becomes the property of any club who win the competition five times or three years in a row. The club then start a new cycle from zero. Real Madrid, Ajax, Bayern München, Milan, Liverpool and Barcelona all have an original in their trophy rooms.
13. Real Madrid is the most successful club in the competition’s history, having won the tournament ten times, including its first five seasons.
14. Real Madrid have the record number of consecutive participations in the European Cup, taking part in the first 15 tournaments from 1955–56 to 1969–70. They won the first five editions of the competition, and they are the most successful team in the competition’s history with 9 wins.
15. Spanish clubs have accumulated the highest number of victories (15 wins), followed by England and Italy (12 wins apiece).
16. However, Real Madrid and Barcelona are the only teams to have won it. Whereas, England has produced 5 winners- Liverpool, Manchester United, Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa and Chelsea.
17. The team to have won the Champions League with the fewest games won is Manchester United (1998–99), five wins. However, they went through the competition unbeaten.
18. English teams were banned from the UEFA Champions League between 1986 and 1991 following a series of stadium disasters and hooliganism problems. The absence of English teams gave three teams the opportunity to win the tournament for the first time following a decade of English dominance – PSV Eindhoven, Red Star Belgrade and Steaua Bucarest all won the title before England returned to the UEFA Champions League fold in 1991.
19. In 2006 Arsenal produced the best defensive effort in the history of the UEFA Champions League, going 10 games without conceding a goal.
20. Nottingham Forest are the only club to have won the European Cup more times (twice) than they have won their domestic league (once).
21. Celtic are the only club to have the distinction of completing a ‘quadruple’ winning both domestic cups, the domestic league and the UEFA Champions League in the 1966/1967 season.
22. Only 3 clubs have won the UEFA Champions League fielding local players – Celtic (1967), Real Madrid (1966) and FC Steaua Bucarest (1986).
23. The fastest UEFA Champions League goal was scored 10.2 seconds after kick-off by Bayern Munich’s Roy Makaay against Real Madrid in 2007.
24. Athens is the only city to have been represented by three teams (Olympiacos, Panathinaikos and AEK Athens) in one season’s competition.
25. The record for consecutive semifinals is six, held by Barcelona (2007–08 to 2012–13).
26. An exception to the usual European qualification system happened in 2005, after Liverpool won the Champions League the year before, but did not finish in a Champions League qualification place in the Premier League that season. UEFA gave special dispensation for Liverpool to enter the Champions League, giving England five qualifiers.
27. Since the tournament changed name and structure in 1992, no club has managed consecutive wins; Milan were the last holders to successfully defend their title, in the 1989–90 season.
28. The final of the 2012–13 tournament was the most watched UEFA Champions League final to date, as well as the most watched annual sporting event worldwide in 2013, drawing 360 million television viewers. (Borussia Dortumund vs Bayern Munich).