Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The third European tournament was significant as well: 1971 was the last year the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup was played. It was to be replaced with the UEFA Cup for the next season. The competition was established in 1955 – a brainchild of the Swiss Ernst Thommen, Ottorino Barassi from Italy and the English FA general secretary, Stanley Rous, all of whom later became senior officials at FIFA. Originally, the tournament was to promote internationa trade fairs and was open only to clubs from cities hosting such fairs. In the beginning, only one team from a city was allowed to participate – a restirction not to the liking of the clubs, for often fair hosting city had more than one club. The tournament had peculiar place in European fottball universe – it was not sanctioned by UEFA, thus, not an official competition. Yet, it was reported on a par with the other two European club tournaments, unlike various regional club tournaments such as Mitropa Cup. UEFA does not recognize officially the winners of Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, but nevertheless lists them along with the winners of the UEFA Cup. Clubs list this trophy as well – equaling it with the UEFA Cup. There were other relations between this tournament and UEFA – innovations were introduced at first in it: the yellow and red card, I believe, and the rule of away goals certainly. In a sense, the competition was a testing ground for UEFA – what seemed to work was made an official rule. By 1970 the tournament increased the number of the participants and from 1968 clubs were allowed in it based on their league position, instead of strictly coming from trade fair hosting town. Transformation was obvious, the tournament seemingly was successful, and answering the need of a third European club competition – UEFA took over and renamed it the UEFA Cup, which survived the trials of the years, unlike the contest which was to be the second in presige and closer to the footballing tradition – the Cup Winners Cup.Good buy to the old Inter-Cities Fairs Cup – the trophy was contested for the last time. The new UEFA Cup had brand new design.