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UEFA Champions League: A Brief History and List of All-Time Participants (Since 1992)

Updated on October 31, 2013

A Brief History of the UEFA Champions League

UEFA Champions League Logo
UEFA Champions League Logo

Starting under the name of the European Champion Clubs' Cup (also known as the European Cup) back in 1956, the competition was renamed as the UEFA Champions League in 1992 and has since developed into the most prestigious club competition on the planet. In its inaugural run during the 1955-56 season when the competition was known as the European Cup, 16 teams participated in the competition. The first ever match of the competition was played between Portuguese club Sporting CP and the then Yugoslavian club FK Partizan Belgrade which ended in a 3-3 draw. The first final was contested between French side Stade de Reims and Real Madrid of Spain and was played at the Parc des Princes in Paris. Real Madrid were the first ever winners of the competition, winning by a scoreline of 4-3 in the final.

Since then, the competition has been re-named and re-formatted to include more teams and make the competition more exciting and popular then it was before. The trophy was also re-designed in 1967 and the same trophy is being used till date which is given to the winners of the competition. The anthem of the UEFA Champions League titled 'Champions League' is sung by Tony Britten and contains all 3 official languages of the competition (English, French and German). The anthem is played before each match of the competition as well as before and after tv commercials when the match is being broadcasted. The competition takes place every season and starts during mid September with the final held in May of the following year. A total of 128 teams from over 30 countries have participated in the Champions League till date since 1992.

Current Format and Rules of the UEFA Champions League

Seedings for the 2013-14 UEFA Champions League draw
Seedings for the 2013-14 UEFA Champions League draw

The UEFA Champions League is contested by 32 teams from different countries across Europe. 22 teams qualify directly for the competition which is determined by their league position achieved during the last campaign. The other teams are selected through a play off competition between 76 clubs from all UEFA member countries' leagues teams who occupy the respective league positions to be eligible to play in the qualifiers for the competition. After all the 32 teams are confirmed, the clubs are put into 4 pots according to their past performances in the competition as well as how consistently they have qualified for the competition since the beginning of the competition. The teams are placed into 4 pots in this manner, with each pot containing 8 teams each. The teams are then placed one by one into 8 groups (A-H) with each group containing 4 teams each (1 team from each pot in 1 group).

Each team then plays 6 matches in total in the group stages of the competition, 2 matches against each team. Of the 2 matches played between each team, 1 match is played the home ground of 1 team while the other match is played at the home ground of the other team. After all the 6 matches are played by every team in all the groups, the top 2 teams in each group with the most points collected from their 6 matches advance to the Round of 16 of the competition. The 3rd placed teams from each group drop into the UEFA Europa League with the 4th placed teams from all the groups getting eliminated from the competition altogether.

The teams to have qualified for the Round of 16 are then drawn against each other in a similar manner which was implemented when making the groups. The teams then play a 2 legged tie with 1 match held at the home ground of 1 team while the other leg held at the home ground of the other team. The winner is decided by which team scores the most goals over the 2 legged tie with the winner advancing to the quarterfinals of the competition. The same method is employed for drawing the teams in the quarterfinals and semifinals and the same rules are applied to determine the winners of the semifinals which then advance to the final of the competition.

The final is played at the stadium which wins the right to host the final. This is decided before the competition begins through a selection process. The final is a 1 legged tie unlike the previous rounds of the competition with winner crowned the European Champions. The winners then qualify for the UEFA Super Cup (played between the UEFA Champions League Champions and the UEFA Europa League Champions) and the FIFA Club World Cup (played between the champions from every continent and the host nations' champion club).


  • In the group stages of the competition, no 2 or more clubs from the same country may be drawn in the same group as the other.
  • In the group stages, each team is awarded 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for a loss. The maximum points which can be collected by a team are 18 and the minimum points collected can be 0.
  • In the case of the Round of 16, quarterfinals and semifinals, if the 2 teams have the same aggregate score after the 2 ties have been played, the winner is the team which scored more away goals (goals scored at the home ground of the rival team). If the tie still cannot be undecided, then the match goes into extra time which contains 2 halves of 15 minutes each. The team who scores more goals than the other team during the extra time advances to the next stage of the competition. If still no goals were scored, then the match goes in a penalty shootout with the team which scores more penalties than the other team winning.
  • A player who has represented a team during the competition cannot play in the Champions League for another team if he transfers between 2 clubs competing in the same competition. If one team makes it to the knockout stages of the competition while the other fails to make the cut, then the player would be eligible to play for his new team.
    Also if a player transferred after playing no matches for his former employers, then the player can play for his new club.
  • The prize money for teams which enter the various stages of the competition are as follows;
  1. Play off Round €2,100,000
  2. Group Stage €8,600,000
  3. Group Match Victory €1,000,000
  4. Group Match Draw €500,000
  5. Round of 16 €3,500,000
  6. Quarterfinal €3,900,000
  7. Semifinal €4,900,000
  8. Losing Finalist €6,500,000
  9. Winning Finalist €10,500,000

Clubs To Have Qualified For The UEFA Champions League Since 1992

FC Barcelona (18)
Ream Madrid CF (18)
Valencia CF (9)
Deportivo La Coruña (5)
Atlético Madrid (4)
Villareal CF (3)
Spain (13 clubs)
Real Sociedad (2)
Sevilla FC (2)
Athletic Bilbao (1)
RCD Mallorca (1)
Celta Vigo (1)
Real Betis (1)
Málaga CF (1)
FC Bayern Munich (17)
Borussia Dortmund (9)
Bayer 04 Leverkusen (8)
SV Werder Bremen (7)
Germany (10 clubs)
FC Schalke 04 (6)
VFB Stuttgart (3)
Hamburger SV (2)
FC Kaiserslautern (1)
Hertha BSC (1)
VfL Wofsburg (1)
Olympique Lyonnais (12)
Olympique Marseille (9)
Paris Saint-Germain FC (6)
AS Monaco (5)
France (10 clubs)
Lille OSC (5)
FC Girondins Bordeaux (4)
AJ Auxerre (3)
FC Nantes (2)
RC Lens (2)
Montpellier HSC (1)
Manchester United FC (19)
Arsenal FC (16)
Chelsea FC (12)
Liverpool FC (8)
England (9 clubs)
Manchester City FC (3)
Newcastle United FC (2)
Blackburn Rovers FC (1)
Leeds United AFC (1)
Tottenham Hotspur FC (1)
AC Milan (17)
Juventus FC (14)
Inter Milan (11)
AS Roma (7)
Italy (9 clubs)
SS Lazio (5)
ACF Fiorentina (3)
SSC Napoli (2)
Parma FC (1)
Udinese Calcio (1)
PSV Eindhoven (13)
AFC Ajax (12)
Feyenoord (4)
Netherlands (7 clubs)
Willem II FC (1)
SC Heerenveen (1)
AZ Alkamaar (1)
FC Twente (1)
FC Porto (18)
SL Benfica (9)
Portugal (5 clubs)
Sporting CP (5)
Boavista FC (2)
SC Braga (2)
Spartak Moscow (11)
CSKA Moscow (7)
Russia (5 clubs)
Zenit Saint Petersburg (4)
Lokomotiv Moscow (3)
Rubin Kazan (2)
Galatasaray SK (12)
Fenerbahçe SK (6)
Turkey (5 clubs)
Beşiktaş JK (5)
Bursaspor (1)
Trabzonspor (1)
RSC Anderlecht (10)
Club Brugge KV (4)
Belgium (5 clubs)
KRC Genk (2)
Lierse SK (1)
Standard Lèige (1)
FC Steaua Bucarești (7)
Romania (4 clubs)
CFR Cluj (3)
FC Unirea Urziceni (1)
FC Oțelul Galați (1)
FC Basel (5)
Switzerland (4 clubs)
Grasshopper Club Zürich (2)
FC Thun (1)
FC Zürich (1)
SK Sturm Graz (3)
Austria (4 clubs)
SK Rapid Wien (2)
FC Red Bull Salzburg (1)
FK Austria Wien (1)
FC Copenhagen (3)
Denmark (4 clubs)
Aalborg BK (2)
Brøndby IF (1)
FC Nordsjælland (1)
Olympiakos FC (15)
Greece (3 clubs)
Panathinaikos FC (9)
AEK Athens FC (4)
AC Sparta Prague (7)
Czech Republic (3 clubs)
FC Viktoria Plzeň (2)
Sk Slavia Prague (1)
IFK Göteburg (4)
Sweden (3 clubs)
AIK Fotboll (1)
Helsingborgs IF (1)
Maccabi Haifa FC (2)
Israel (3 clubs)
Maccabi Tel Aviv FC (1)
Hapoel Tel Aviv FC (1)
MFK Košice (1)
Slovakia (3 clubs)
FC Petržalka 1898 (1)
MŠK Žilina (1)
Ukraine (2 clubs)
FC Dynamo Kyiv (14)
FC Shakhtar Donetsk (9)
Scotland (2 clubs)
Rangers FC (10)
Celtic FC (8)
Norway (2 clubs)
Rosenborg BK (11)
Molde FK (1)
Croatia (2 clubs)
GNK Dinamo Zagreb (4)
HNK Hajduk Split (1)
Cyprus (2 clubs)
Anorthosis Famagusta FC (1)
Poland (2 clubs)
Legia Warsaw (1)
Widzew Łódź (1)
Hungary (2 clubs)
Ferencvárosi TC (1)
Debreceni VSC (1)
Belarus (1 club)
FC Bate Borisov (3)
Serbia (1 club)
FK Partizan Belgrade (2)
Finland (1 club)
Helsingin Jalkapalloklubi (1)
Slovenia (1 club)
NK Maribor (1)
Bulgaria (1 club)
PFC Levski Sofia (1)

Which club do you think will win the UEFA Champions League this season?

See results

© 2013 Muzzammil Maniar


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    Post Comment
    • muzzster profile imageAUTHOR

      Muzzammil Maniar 

      5 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      As you wish :-)

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 

      5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      I agree with Positron- you really should have Bayern in the poll as they have bee one of the most influential teams in the competition previously.

    • muzzster profile imageAUTHOR

      Muzzammil Maniar 

      5 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan


      The reason i didn't include Bayern was because no team has was back to back champions league titles, they might be able to do it. What an achievement that would be!

    • PositronWildhawk profile image


      5 years ago from London

      Very interesting hub, voted up - but you should include Bayern Munich in the poll, that is why I voted other.


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