The (Other) UEFA Champions League

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There was great hype in the football world surrounding the Champions League draw on August 30th. Twitter immediately exploded with not only groups, but personal commentary. Gossip and hash-tags about who was unfortunate enough to find themselves in the group of death, who escaped that misfortune and who may have the easiest route to the next round.

Roughly a week earlier another UEFA draw had taken place, one that caused much less banter. The most prestigious club competition in Europe also has a women’s counterpart. Established in 2001, the women’s tournament also begins with 32 teams throughout Europe and will be narrowed down to a championship match in mid May.

The 2012 women’s final featured Olympique Lyonnais defeating 1. FFC Frankfurt, 2-0 in front of over 50,000 in attendance. In the short history of the tournament, German and Swedish clubs have proven to be most dominant. Two clubs in particular—Frankfurt and the Umeå IK (former home to Brazilian phenom, Marta)—have appeared in the championship an astounding five times each. 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam is close behind with four appearances in the final match, followed by Olympique Lyonnais with three.

The women’s game continues to see tremendous growth. As countries around the world invest more money in women’s programs and leagues, it is certain that the Women’s Champions League will see the emergence of new powerhouse teams throughout Europe. Although the women’s competition does not share the same clout as the men’s, it is definitely on the rise and promises to display quality and exciting football.

5 Things You Should Know About The UEFA Women’s Champions League:

1. The UEFA Women’s Cup was started in the 2001-02 season, and was only officially renamed the UEFA Women’s Champions League in 2008. At that time, it was also reformatted to mirror the men’s tournament, which included runners-up in the tops leagues and a single match final, as opposed to the original home and away game setup.

2. Both Umeå IK and Olympique Lyonnais have been back-to-back repeat Champions League victors. Umeå accomplished this feat in 2003 and 2004. Lyon has won the last two competitions in 2011 and 2012. This has not been achieved on the men’s side in the modern format, with Nottingham Forest last winning back-to-back European Cups in 1979 and 1980.

3. Only three clubs have both women’s and men’s sides who have qualified for the group stage of the 2012-13 tournament: Olympique Lyonnais, FC Barcelona and Arsenal.

4. The men’s tournament awards €9million to the winner, along with substantial bonuses for qualifying teams. The women’s tournament included prize money for finalists for the first time in 2010. In 2011 financial rewards were extended as far as defeated quarter-finalists, with the winner receiving  €250,000.

5. The women’s Champion’s League final will be played in London on May 23, 2013. If Lyon is included in this match, they will have the opportunity to accomplish an unprecedented feat by either a men’s or women’s club: winning three Champions League titles in a row.

The UEFA Women’s Champions League is still in its infancy. It will be interesting to follow the trends in the women’s game and see if current dominant clubs become mainstays, or which new clubs take over in the world of European Women’s Football.

3 Comments on "The (Other) UEFA Champions League"

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  1. spiderd10@hotmail.com spiderd10@hotmail.co says:

    Very informative Yael! Must admit I know little about women's football and amazing the huge difference in economics. A lot of that obviously has to do with tv money and sponsorships. How do your friends and family get to watch your games in Sweden?

    • yfutbol@gmail.com yfutbol@gmail.com says:

      Glad you enjoyed it and learned a bit about the women's game! Right now there is no way for people at home to watch my games but hopefully eventually there will be a live stream through the team's website…I hope.

  2. dianegh09@gmail.com dianegh09@gmail.com says:

    Nice to see an American woman player writing about UWCL. UEFA has an excellent site to follow the competition:
    http://www.uefa.com/womenseuro/index.html
    I understand why so many follow the men's competition, but the women's side is just as exciting. We need more women to also follow the major women's competitions around the world. Thanks for raising awareness.

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