1999-2000 Europe Club Competitions
There are two major European club competitions sanctioned by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). The newly devised Champions League is a 72-team tournament made up from UEFA member countries. The teams are ranked 1-72 depending on how they finish in their own domestic leagues. UEFA ranks the quality of the 50 European national football associations (from number one Italy to number 50 Bosnia-Herzegovina) and assigns each association a number weighted by their respective ranking (UEFA calls this number a coefficient). Each team's domestic league finish is then multiplied by the coefficient and the teams are finally ranked (countries can enter a maximum of four teams).
The defending champions Manchester United (from the UEFA Champions' Cup) and the other 15 highest-ranked teams form Group 1 and are given a direct entry into the League but the remaining 16 teams are determined by dividing teams 17-72 into three groupsâGroup 2 (teams 17-34), Group 3 (35-52) and Group 4 (53-72). The 22 teams in the lowest Group (Group 4) play two-leg, total goal elimination series. The 11 survivors advance to the Second Qualifying Phase and join the 17 teams from Group 3 to play 14 two-leg, total goal elimination series. The 14 clubs that survive this phase join the 18 teams from Group 2 to play in the Third Qualifying Phase. The winning clubs from the 16 two-leg, total goal elimination series advance to the Champions League for the right to play against the top-ranked 16 teams in Europe.
The 32 teams are separated into eight groups of four and play a round-robin series of home-and-home matches. The eight group winners and eight group runners-up advance to the next round where they are split up into four groups of four. The four group winners and runners-up then advance to the quarterfinals where home-and-home series are played through the semi-finals until ultimately a single championship match for the European club championship is held. Winner Real Madrid plays Libertadores Cup champion Boca Juniors of Argentina in the 2000 Toyota Cup this December in Tokyo.
The updated UEFA Cup, which is basically a combination of the what was known as the Cup Winners' Cup (played between national cup champions) and the old UEFA Cup (sort of a âbest of the restâ tournament), is single-elimination throughout and features 121 additional teams plus 24 teams that have been already eliminated from the Champions League.