The UEFA Super Cup is an annual football match organised by UEFA and contested by the reigning champions of the two main European club competitions, the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League. It takes place at the start of the domestic season, in mid-August, normally on a Tuesday.
From 1972 to 1999, the UEFA Super Cup was contested between the winners of the European Cup/UEFA Champions League and the winners of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. After the discontinuation of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, it has been contested by the winners of the UEFA Champions League and the winners of the UEFA Cup, which was renamed the UEFA Europa League in 2009.
The current holders are Spanish club Real Madrid, who won 2–1 against Manchester United in 2017. The most successful teams in the competition are Barcelona and Italian side Milan, who have won the trophy five times each.
The European Super Cup was created in 1971 by Anton Witkamp, a reporter and later sports editor of Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. The idea came to him in a time when Dutch total football was Europe's finest and Dutch football clubs were living their golden era (especially Ajax). Witkamp was looking for something new to definitely decide which was the best team in Europe and also to further test Ajax's legendary team, led by their star player Johan Cruyff. It was then proposed that the winner of the European Cup would face the winner of the European Cup Winners' Cup.
All was set for a new competition to be born. However, when Witkamp tried to get an official endorsement to his competition, the UEFA president turned it down.
The 1972 final between Ajax and Scotland's Rangers is considered unofficial by UEFA, as Rangers were banned from European competition due to the behaviour of their fans during the 1972 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final. As a result, UEFA refused to endorse the competition until the following season. It was played in two legs and was financially supported by De Telegraaf. Ajax defeated Rangers 6–3 on aggregate and won the first (albeit unofficial) European Super Cup.
Although the two-legged format was kept until 1997, the Super Cup was decided in one single match because of schedule issues or political problems in 1984, 1986, and 1991. In 1974, 1981 and 1985, the Super Cup was not played at all.
In the 1992–1993 season, the European Cup was renamed the UEFA Champions League and the winners of this competition would face the winners of the Cup Winners' Cup in the UEFA Super Cup. In the 1994–1995 season, the European Cup Winners' Cup was renamed the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.
After the 1998–1999 season, the Cup Winners' Cup was discontinued by UEFA. The 1999 Super Cup was the last one contested by the winners of the Cup Winners' Cup. Lazio, winners of the 1998–99 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, defeated Manchester United, winners of the 1998–99 UEFA Champions League, 1–0.
Since then, the UEFA Super Cup was contested between the winners of the UEFA Champions League and the winners of the UEFA Cup. The 2000 Super Cup was the first one contested by the winners of the UEFA Cup. Galatasaray, winners of the 1999–2000 UEFA Cup, defeated Real Madrid, winners of the 1999–2000 UEFA Champions League, 2–1.
In the 2009–10 season, the UEFA Cup was renamed the UEFA Europa League and the winners of this competition would continue to face the winners of the Champions League in the UEFA Super Cup.
Chelsea is the first club to contest the Super Cup as holders of all three UEFA club honours, having entered as holders of the Cup Winners' Cup (1998), the Champions League (2012) and Europa League (2013). Manchester United shared this honour in (2017) – courtesy of their UEFA Europa League win.
After 15 consecutive Super Cups being played at Stade Louis II in Monaco between 1998 and 2012, the Super Cup is now played at various stadiums (similar to the finals of the Champions League and the Europa League). It was started with the 2013 edition, which was played at Eden Stadium in Prague, Czech Republic.
Starting in 2014, the date of the UEFA Super Cup was moved from Friday in late August, to Tuesday in mid-August, following the removal of the August international friendly date in the new FIFA International Match Calendar.
The competition was originally played over two legs, one at each participating club's stadium, except in exceptional circumstances; for instance in 1991 when Red Star Belgrade were not permitted to play the leg in their native Yugoslavia due to the war which was taking place at the time, so instead Manchester United's home leg was only played. Since 1998, the Super Cup was played as a single match at a neutral venue. Between 1998 and 2012, the Super Cup was played at the Stade Louis II in Monaco. Since 2013 various stadiums have been used.
The UEFA Super Cup trophy is retained by UEFA at all times. A full-size replica trophy is awarded to the winning club. Forty gold medals are presented to the winning club and forty silver medals to the runners-up.
The Super Cup trophy has undergone several changes in its history. The first trophy that was presented to Ajax in 1973 and 1974 was extremely large; in fact, it was bigger than the European Cup. This was replaced by a plaque with a gold UEFA Emblem. The next trophy was the smallest and lightest of all the European club trophies, weighing 5 kg and measuring 42.5 cm in height (the UEFA Champions League trophy weighs 8 kg and the UEFA Europa League trophy 15 kg). The new model, introduced in 2006, weighs 12.2 kg and measures 58 cm in height.
Until 2008, a team which wins three times in a row or five in total, receives an original copy of the trophy and a special mark of recognition. Milan and Barcelona have achieved this honour, winning the trophy a total of five times each. Since then, the original trophy is kept exclusively by the European football governing body.
Currently, the rules of the UEFA Super Cup are the same as any other UEFA club competition. It is a single match final, contested in a neutral venue. The match consists of two periods of 45 minutes each, known as halves. If the scores are level at the end of 90 minutes, two additional 15-minute periods of extra time are played. If there is no winner at the end of the second period of extra time, a penalty shoot-out determines the winner. Each team names 18 players, 11 of which start the match. Of the 7 remaining players, a total of 3 may be substituted throughout the match. Each team may wear its first choice kit; if these clash, however, the previous year's Europa League winning team must wear an alternative colour. If a club refuses to play or is ineligible to play then they are replaced by the runner-up of the competition through which they qualified. If the field is unfit for play due to bad weather, the match must be played the next day.
UEFA Super Cup's sponsors are the same as the sponsors for the UEFA Champions League. The tournament's current main sponsors are:
Adidas is a secondary sponsor and supplies the official match ball and referee uniform, as they do for all other UEFA competitions. Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer is also a secondary sponsor as the official Super Cup video game.
Individual clubs may wear jerseys with advertising, even if such sponsors conflict with those of the Europa League; however, only one sponsorship is permitted per jersey (plus that of the manufacturer). Exceptions are made for non-profit organisations, which can feature on the front of the shirt, incorporated with the main sponsor, or on the back, either below the squad number or between the player name and the collar.
60% of the stadium capacity is reserved for the visiting clubs. The remaining seats are sold by UEFA through an online auction. There are an unlimited number of applications for tickets given out. The 5 euro administration fee is deducted from each applicant and there is no limit to the number of applications each individual can make.
|Club||Winners||Runners-up||Years won||Years runners-up|
|Barcelona||5||4||1992, 1997, 2009, 2011, 2015||1979, 1982, 1989, 2006|
|Milan||5||2||1989, 1990, 1994, 2003, 2007||1973, 1993|
|Real Madrid||4||2||2002, 2014, 2016, 2017||1998, 2000|
|Liverpool||3||2||1977, 2001, 2005||1978, 1984|
|Ajax [A]||2||1||1973, 1995||1987|
|Atlético Madrid||2||0||2010, 2012||–|
|Sevilla||1||4||2006||2007, 2014, 2015, 2016|
|Porto||1||3||1987||2003, 2004, 2011|
|Bayern Munich||1||3||2013||1975, 1976, 2001|
|Manchester United||1||3||1991||1999, 2008, 2017|
|Zenit Saint Petersburg||1||0||2008||–|
|Red Star Belgrade||0||1||–||1991|
|Soviet Union [C]||1||1|
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