The UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (abbreviated as CWC) was a football club competition contested annually by the most recent winners of all European domestic cup competitions. The cup was one of the many inter-European club competitions that have been organised by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). The first competition was held in the 1960–61 season — but not recognised by the governing body of European football until two years later. The final tournament was held in 1998–99, after which it was absorbed into the UEFA Cup.
From 1972 onwards, the winner of the tournament progressed to play the winner of the European Cup (later the UEFA Champions League) in the UEFA Super Cup. Since the abolition of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, the UEFA Super Cup place previously reserved for the Cup Winners' Cup winner has been taken by the winner of the UEFA Cup, now the UEFA Europa League. The competition's official name was originally the European Cup Winners' Cup; it was renamed the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup before the 1994–95 season.
|UEFA Cup Winners' Cup|
|Number of teams||32 (first round)|
|Last champions|| Lazio|
|Most successful club(s)|| Barcelona|
Throughout its 39-year history, the Cup Winners' Cup was always a straight knock-out tournament with two-legged home and away ties until the single match final staged at a neutral venue, the only exception to this being the two-legged final in the competition's first year. In common with other UEFA club tournaments, the away goal applied when aggregate scores was parity. The format was identical to the original European Champions' Cup with 32 teams contesting four knock-out rounds prior to the showpiece final, with the tournament usually running from September to May each year. Following the influx of new UEFA member nations during the 1990s, a regular August preliminary round was added to reduce the number of entrants to 32.
Entry was restricted to one club from each UEFA member association, the only exception being to allow the current Cup Winners' Cup holders to enter alongside their nation's new domestic cup winners in order to allow them a chance to defend their Cup Winners' Cup title (although no club ever managed to do this). However, if this team also qualified for the European Champions' Cup then they would default on their place in the Cup Winners' Cup and no other team would replace them.
On occasions when a club completed a domestic league and cup 'double' that club would enter the European Cup/UEFA Champions League and their place in the Cup Winners' Cup would be taken by the domestic cup runners-up. In 1998–99, the competition's final year, Heerenveen of the Netherlands entered the Cup Winners' Cup despite only reaching the semi-final of the previous season's Dutch Cup. This was due to both Dutch Cup finalists Ajax and PSV Eindhoven qualifying for the recently expanded Champions League.
Mirroring the circumstances behind the creation of the European Cup five years earlier, the idea for a pan-European cup competition contested by all of Europe's domestic cup winners came from prominent European sports journalists. The European Cup had proven to be a great success and the Fairs Cup had also proven popular – as a result, other ideas for new European football tournaments were being aired. One proposal was for a tournament based upon the format of the European Cup, but with national cup winners rather than league champions taking part, which could run alongside that competition.
The inaugural Cup Winners' Cup was held in the 1960–61 season and was basically a semi-official pilot tournament. However the initial reaction to the competition's creation was unenthusiastic on the part of many of Europe's top clubs – many European associations did not have domestic cup competitions at the time and in those countries that did, the cup competition was generally held in low esteem and often not taken seriously by the bigger clubs. It was essentially only in England, Scotland and to a lesser extent Germany and Spain that the domestic cup was considered especially prestigious. Many were sceptical about the viability of a European tournament for cup winners and many of the bigger clubs eligible to contest the first CWC turned down the chance to enter, such as Atlético Madrid of Spain and AS Monaco of France.
Ultimately the inaugural CWC was contested by just 10 clubs (with Fiorentina of Italy winning the two-legged final against the Scottish team Rangers) but the games were generally well attended and the response from the public and the media to the new tournament was positive and enthusiastic. For the tournament's second season in 1961–62, UEFA took over the running of all aspects of the competition and this time all the clubs eligible to enter accepted the opportunity.
By 1968, all UEFA member nations had set up domestic cup competitions due to the success of the Cup Winners' Cup. UEFA regarded it as the second most prestigious competition, behind the European Cup (later the UEFA Champions League) and ahead of the Fairs Cup (later the UEFA Cup). Therefore, a team qualified for both the European Cup and the Cup Winners' Cup would play in the European Cup, whereas a team qualified for both the UEFA Cup and the Cup Winners' Cup would play in the Cup Winners' Cup. Nevertheless, many commentators and fans regarded the Cup Winners' Cup as weaker than the UEFA Cup, which had more and better teams from the stronger European leagues.
In the 1985–86 season, English clubs were banned from European competition as a result of Heysel Stadium disaster. Consequently, Manchester United, Everton, Coventry City, Wimbledon and Liverpool were prevented from competing in the Cup Winners' Cup until the beginning of the 1990–91 season.
No club managed to retain the Cup Winners' Cup, although eight times a winning side followed up their victories with a losing appearance in the following season's final.
After the establishment of the UEFA Champions League (formerly called the European Champion Clubs' Cup) in the early 1990s, the standing and prestige of the Cup Winners' Cup began to decline. With the expansion of the Champions League in 1997 to allow more than one team from the highest-ranked member associations to enter, the Cup Winners' Cup began to look noticeably inferior. Many of the bigger teams who would previously have entered the Cup Winners' Cup were now gaining entry to the Champions League instead by finishing second in their domestic league – such as Cup Winners' Cup holders Barcelona in 1997–98 and Bayern Munich and PSV Eindhoven in 1998–99 — and this greatly weakened the Cup Winners' Cup.
At the time of the Champions League expansion, UEFA also considered expanding the Cup Winners' Cup from 32 teams to 64 by allowing a second team to enter from many countries, although by what qualification criteria the second entrants would be determined were never settled upon — ultimately UEFA did not make any of these changes to the Cup Winners' Cup.
By the late 1990s, the Cup Winners' Cup had come to be seen as a second-rate competition with only one or two big name teams available to enter each year and the interest in the tournament from both major clubs and the public dropped. Finally, with the further expansion of the UEFA Champions League to include as many as three or four teams from the top footballing nations, the decision was taken to abolish the competition after the end of the 1998–99 tournament and merge it into the UEFA Cup (now UEFA Europa League). Since then, domestic cup winners who do not otherwise qualify for the Champions League are given a place in the Europa League.
The Cup Winners' Cup trophy itself is a property of UEFA and it is not assigned to any club. There were various versions of the trophy awarded throughout its history. The first was only awarded in its maiden season to Fiorentina - it had no handles. The second one resembled the Copa del Rey trophy. The third trophy had rather a similar shape, but had a round wooden base. The wooden-based trophy awarded to Manchester United in 1991, Real Zaragoza in 1995, and Lazio in its final season. The wooden base apparently can be unattached by unscrewing the bolt underneath, as seen during Rangers's victory celebration in 1972 and Arsenal in 1994.
|Club||Winners||Runners-up||Years won||Years runner-up|
|Barcelona||4||2||1979, 1982, 1989, 1997||1969, 1991|
|Anderlecht||2||2||1976, 1978||1977, 1990|
|Dynamo Kyiv[B]||2||0||1975, 1986||—|
|Atlético Madrid||1||2||1962||1963, 1986|
|West Ham United||1||1||1965||1976|
|Real Madrid||0||2||—||1971, 1983|
|Rapid Wien||0||2||—||1985, 1996|
|Carl Zeiss Jena[A]||0||1||—||1981|
The Cup-Winners' Cup is traditionally the weakest of the three European competitions
Only three East German clubs ever reached a European final ... and they were all in the Cup-Winners Cup, the weakest of the three European competitions
The European Cup Winners' Cup had always been regarded as the weakest of the three continental competitions
Only three East German clubs ever reached a European final — all in the Cup-Winners' Cup, the weakest of the three European competitions
the Cup-winners' Cup ... is also the weakest and least regarded of the European competitions
Media related to UEFA Cup Winners' Cup at Wikimedia Commons1961–62 European Cup Winners' Cup
The 1961–62 season of the European Cup Winners' Cup club football tournament was won by Atlético Madrid of Spain in a replayed final against holders Fiorentina. It was the first season of the tournament to be directly organised by UEFA.1964–65 European Cup Winners' Cup
The 1964–65 season of the European Cup Winners' Cup club football tournament was won by West Ham United in a final at Wembley Stadium against 1860 Munich. West Ham's Bobby Moore captained a side that also included Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters just one season before all three went on to star in England's World-Cup-winning side of 1966. As a result of their CWC success, Bobby Moore became the only captain to climb the Wembley steps to be presented with three different trophies in three successive seasons (English FA Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup with West Ham in 1964 and 1965 respectively, then the World Cup with England in 1966).1966–67 European Cup Winners' Cup
The 1966–67 season of the European Cup Winners' Cup club football tournament was won by Bayern Munich in a final victory over Rangers, who had eliminated holders Borussia Dortmund. It was the fourth time in six years that the final required at least extra time to decide the winners.1967–68 European Cup Winners' Cup
The 1967–68 season of the European Cup Winners' Cup club football tournament was won by Milan following their final victory against Hamburg, the fourth West German finalist in four years.1968–69 European Cup Winners' Cup
The 1968–69 season of the European Cup Winners' Cup football club tournament was won by Slovan Bratislava in a final victory against Barcelona, the first time a side from the Eastern Bloc won the title. A number of withdrawals by Eastern European clubs from the first round as a result of the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia led to several walkovers and byes that lasted into the second round.1971–72 European Cup Winners' Cup
The 1971–72 season of the European Cup Winners' Cup football club tournament was won by Rangers, who defeated Dynamo Moscow in the final.1972–73 European Cup Winners' Cup
The 1972–73 European Cup Winners' Cup football club tournament was won by Milan after a 1–0 victory against Leeds United at the Kaftanzoglio Stadium, Thessaloniki, Greece.
Competition holders Rangers would have been eligible to compete in the Cup Winners' Cup, but were banned from European competition in the 1972–73 season due to the violent disturbances at the 1972 European Cup Winners' Cup Final.1974–75 European Cup Winners' Cup
The 1974–75 season of the European Cup Winners' Cup club football tournament was won by Dynamo Kyiv in a convincing final victory against Ferencváros. It was the first of two Cup Winners' Cup successes for the club.1975–76 European Cup Winners' Cup
The 1975–76 season of the European Cup Winners' Cup football club tournament was won by R.S.C. Anderlecht of Belgium in an entertaining final against West Ham United of England. Anderlecht went on to reach the next two finals as well, and won the second of them.1976–77 European Cup Winners' Cup
The 1976–77 season of the European Cup Winners' Cup was won by Hamburger SV in the final against defending champions Anderlecht.1977–78 European Cup Winners' Cup
The 1977–78 European Cup Winners' Cup was won by Anderlecht in the final against Austria Wien. It was Anderlecht's third consecutive final, the best record in the competition, of which they won two.1980–81 European Cup Winners' Cup
The 1980–81 season of the European Cup Winners' Cup was won by FC Dinamo Tbilisi in the final against FC Carl Zeiss Jena. Dinamo Tbilisi's spectacular side already had defeated West Ham United away before beating Carl Zeiss Jena in a final watched by 4,750 people in Düsseldorf. This win was the high point of the Georgian side and is still the club's greatest achievement.
The competition included the Real Madrid C.F. reserve team Castilla CF, who qualified as the 1979–80 Copa del Rey runners-up.1992–93 European Cup Winners' Cup
The 1992–93 season of the European Cup Winners' Cup was won by Parma in the final against Royal Antwerp. Both were first time finalists in the competition, and Antwerp were the last Belgian side to reach a European final up to the present day. The competition had more entrants than ever before due to the break-up of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, resulting in a large number of new countries eligible to enter the winners of their own cups into the competition. Israel, the Faroe Islands and Liechtenstein were also represented for the first time.1995–96 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
The 1995–96 season of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup was won by Paris Saint-Germain 1–0 in the final against Austrian entrants Rapid Wien in Brussels on 8 May 1996.
The 1995–96 season also saw the return of Yugoslav clubs on the international scene after a three-year ban due to a UN embargo. However, the finalist of Yugoslav national cup, FK Obilić, was eliminated in the qualifying round.1996–97 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
The 1996–97 season of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup was won by Barcelona after beating holders Paris Saint-Germain in the final. It was the last of four occasions that the Spanish club won the tournament.
All times are CET/CEST.1997 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final
The 1997 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final was a football match contested between Barcelona of Spain and the cup holders Paris Saint-Germain of France, to determine the winner of the 1996–97 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and the 37th overall Cup Winners' Cup final. It was held at Feijenoord Stadion in Rotterdam on 14 May 1997. Barcelona won the match 1–0 thanks to a Ronaldo penalty. The final saw the last instance of the Cup Winners' Cup "jinx" that no club had successfully retained the cup in successive seasons — with Paris Saint-Germain failing to defend the trophy that they won in 1996.1997–98 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
The 1997–98 season of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup football club tournament was won by Chelsea in the final against Stuttgart.1998–99 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
The 1998–99 season of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup club tournament was the last season of the competition before it was abolished. Lazio won the final against Mallorca to earn their only title in the competition. Chelsea were the defending champions, but were eliminated in the semi-finals by Mallorca.1999 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final
The 1999 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final was a football match played between Mallorca of Spain and Lazio of Italy, to determine the winner of the 1998–99 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. The final was held at Villa Park in Birmingham on 19 May 1999. This final was the 39th and last UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final.
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup winners
and the Caribbean
See also: International women's club football