HISTORY OF THE CUP WINNERS
The UEFA Cup Winners' Cup is an inter-club football competition contested by the winners of Europe's domestic cups. This competition was first held by the organizing committee of the Mitropa Cup in the 1960 - 1961 season but was only recognized by UEFA two years later, the Cup Winners' Cup had to end in the 1998 - 1999 season when UEFA decided to combine this competition with the UEFA Cup.
Prior to its abolition, the Cup Winners' Cup was considered the most prestigious competition after the Champions Cup and above the UEFA Cup, although many football commentators consider that the Cup Winners' Cup is relatively easier to win than the other two major UEFA competitions but in reality no single club has been able to defend the Cup title. Their winners included big European clubs such as FC Barcelona, Arsenal, AC Milan and Manchester United.
Since 1972 the Cup Winners' Cup and Champions Cup Winners have competed for the European Super Cup title, now the right to compete in the European Super Cup is given to the Europa League winners (formerly known as the UEFA Cup).
History of the Cup Winners' Cup
The success achieved by the European Champions Cup and Fairs Cup prompted the thought of a new tournament with a format based on the Champions Cup format but with national cup winners participating.
The holding of the inaugural Winners Cup in the 1960-1961 season was not greeted enthusiastically by Europe's top clubs for two reasons; firstly because at that time not all European countries had domestic cup competitions, secondly because basically domestic cups were less prestigious than leagues.
Many were skeptical about the continuation of the competition as many big clubs who qualified, refused to take part including Copa del Rey winners Atlético Madrid and Coupe de France winners AS Monaco.
Fiorentina Wins First Edition Winners Cup
In the end, only 10 clubs participated in the inaugural tournament, but every match was generally watched and responded to by both the public and the media. So in the second season UEFA took over the management of all aspects of the competition and as a result all the qualifying clubs agreed to participate in the Cup Winners' Cup.
Since 1968, all UEFA member countries have had their own domestic cup competition, this further solidifying the Cup Winners' Cup position as the second most prestigious club competition in Europe.
The breakup of the European Cup Winners' Cup
After the formation of the Champions League (formerly called the Champion's Cup) in the early 1990s, the prestige of the Cup Winners' Cup began to decline.
Moreover, since 1997 UEFA has provided more quota for strong countries to appear in the Champions League.
Along with the addition of the Champions League participants, UEFA also added the Winners Cup participants from 32 to 64 but this was not able to boost the prestige of the Winners Cup. Many big teams that according to the old regulations should have competed in the Cup Winners' Cup since the enactment of the new regulation have the right to appear in the Champions League.
So that in every season the Cup Winners' Cup is only followed by one or two big teams, this makes the public's response less and less and forces UEFA to reform their competition by combining the Cup Winners' Cup and the UEFA Cup.
Winners Cup Data & Facts:
Established | 1960
Deleted | 1999
Continent | Europe (UEFA)
Participant | 32 (first round)
Champion of the first edition | Fiorentina - Italy
Last edition champion | Lazio - Italy
FC's most successful club | Barcelona (4 titles)