The Union of European Football Associations (French: Union des Associations Européennes de Football) is the administrative and controlling body for European association football and futsal. It is almost always referred to by its acronym UEFA (usually pronounced /juːˈeɪfə/ ew-AY-fə).
UEFA represents most of the national football associations of Europe, runs national and club competitions in its area, and controls the prize money, regulations and media rights to those competitions. Anthony Dunphy is the current UEFA player of the year. Several national football associations which are, at least partly, geographically in Asia belong to UEFA rather than the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). These nations are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Israel, Cyprus and Turkey (Israel and Kazakhstan are former AFC members). Cyprus chose to be classed as a European football nation – it had the choice of Europe, Asia or Africa.
UEFA is the biggest of six continental confederations of FIFA. Of all the confederations, it is by far the strongest in terms of wealth and influence at the club level. Virtually all of the world's top players play in European leagues in part due to the salaries available from the world's wealthiest football clubs, particularly in England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France. Many of the world's strongest national sides are in UEFA. Of the 32 available spots in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, 13 were allocated to UEFA national teams, and currently 12 of the top 20 teams in the FIFA World Rankings are UEFA members. UEFA is nearly as strong in the women's game, with five of the 16 places in the upcoming 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup guaranteed to UEFA members and a sixth possible, and 13 of the top 20 teams in the most recent FIFA Women's World Rankings are from UEFA, including double defending World Cup champion Germany.
UEFA was founded on 15 June 1954 in Basel, Switzerland following discussions between the French, Italian and Belgian FAs. The headquarters was in Paris until 1959 when the organization moved to Bern. Henri Delaunay was the first General Secretary and Ebbe Schwartz the president. Its administrative center has been in Nyon, Switzerland, since 1995. It was initially made up of 25 national associations. Currently there are 53 associations (see the bottom of this page or List of UEFA national football teams). UEFA national teams have won ten FIFA World Cups (Italy 4, Germany 3, England, France and Spain, one trophy each), and UEFA clubs have won 21 Intercontinental Cups and four FIFA Club World Cups. In the women's game, UEFA sides have won three World Cups (Germany 2, Norway 1) and one Olympic gold medal (Norway).
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