From Glyndebourne to Glastonbury - A social calendar for the 21st century
The UEFA Europa League Final
09 May, 2012
National Arena, Bucharest, Romania
First known as the Inter City Fairs Cup when introduced in 1955, the UEFA Cup was a tournament that originally lasted three years and was designed more as a showpiece to promote trade rather than as a genuinely competitive footballing tournament. That has changed considerably though and, in Europe, it is viewed as second only to the Champions League as the continent's most prestigious club competition.
Originally a knockout tournament played across two legs, home and away, it has evolved into a league and knockout competition, but will change again next year when the competition is rebranded as the UEFA Europa League. However it is known, though, it is a competition that pits teams against each other from far and wide across Europe - leading to games in which Mediterranean flair can meet Scandinavian grit, or English passion faces Russian pragmatism.
Won three times apiece by Juventus, Internazionale and Liverpool, it is nevertheless a tournament that often allows teams considered as European underdogs the chance to win a major trophy.