HistoryWednesday 13 July 2005
The UEFA Cup Winners' Cup - initially known as the European Cup Winners' Cup - began in 1960/61 and was regarded as UEFA's third most important club competition until it was abolished after the 1998/99 season.
The competition was launched in 1960, with the UEFA Executive Committee taking responsibility for its organisation the following season, when it was decided that the competition would be run parallel to the European Champion Clubs' Cup.
The participants were generally the winners of their domestic cup competition as well as the previous season's holders. However, if the cup winners also won the national championship they would compete in the European Champions Clubs' Cup (or UEFA Champions League), so the cup runners-up replaced them in the Cup Winners’ Cup.
Ten clubs entered the inaugural competition, with a preliminary round used to reduce the field to eight quarter-finalists. Italian side AFC Fiorentina emerged victorious, defeating Rangers FC, from Scotland, over two legs to become the first Italian side to win a European trophy.
From 1962 the final was played as a single match, but it still took Club Atlético de Madrid two games to overcome Fiorentina, who had again reached the final in the competition's second year. The two sides played out a 1-1 draw at Hampden Park, forcing a replay four months later in Stuttgart that the Spanish side won 3-0.
FC Barcelona were the most successful side to compete in the Cup Winners’ Cup, winning the competition on four occasions in 1979, 1982, 1989 and 1997. AC Milan, RSC Anderlecht, Chelsea FC and FC Dynamo Kyiv were each victorious twice.
Amid far-reaching overhauls to UEFA's club competition structure, it was decided that the last Cup Winners' Cup competition would take place in 1998/99. Italian club S.S. Lazio were the last winners, defeating Spain's RCD Mallorca in the final at Villa Park in Birmingham. After the competition was abolished, the prize for senior domestic cup-winners became a place in the UEFA Cup.
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