UEFA Champions League
|UEFA Champions League|
The UEFA Champions League, formerly known as the European Cup, is a seasonal club football competition organised by UEFA since 1955 for the most successful football clubs in Europe. The prize, the European Champion Clubs’ Cup, is considered the most prestigious club trophy in the sport. The UEFA Champions League is separate from the less prestigious UEFA Cup and the defunct Cup Winners’ Cup.
The tournament consists of several stages. In the present format it begins in mid-July with three preliminary knockout qualifying rounds. The 16 surviving teams join 16 seeded teams in a group stage. Eight group winners and eight runners-up enter the final knockout rounds, which end with the final match in May. Previously only the champions of their respective national league could participate in the competition, however this was changed in 1992 to allow the runners-up to compete as well.
The current holders of the UEFA Champions League trophy are AC Milan, who beat Liverpool FC 2-1 at the Olympic Stadium in Athens, Greece on 23 May 2007. Moscow will host its first European Cup final for the 2007-08 season.