Villarreal CF's Gonzalo Rodríguez (right) and Sonny Anderson celebrate a goal en route to winning the 2004 Intertoto CupVillarreal CF's Gonzalo Rodríguez (right) and Sonny Anderson celebrate a goal en route to winning the 2004 Intertoto Cup (©Getty Images)

Competition format

Wednesday, 13 July 2005

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The UEFA Intertoto Cup was originally conceived in 1961 as a means of generating money for football pools companies in the summer closed season. It came under UEFA's jurisdiction in 1995 and has evolved into an alternative qualifying route into the UEFA Cup, as well as allowing clubs who had not qualified for the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Cup to experience European club football.

European success
The UEFA Intertoto Cup, which traditionally begins in June, is open to clubs who finished directly behind the qualifiers for UEFA's two major club competitions in their respective domestic championships. It has provided a springboard to success for several sides since its inception. UEFA Intertoto Cup winners in 1995, FC Girondins de Bordeaux went on to reach the UEFA Cup final the following May, while Bologna FC, AJ Auxerre and Villarreal CF (twice) have since reached the latter stages of the UEFA Cup having qualified through the Intertoto route.

Format change
The format of the UEFA Intertoto Cup changed for the 2006/07 season with three rounds now played instead of the previous five. The eleven victorious sides from the UEFA Intertoto Cup third round advance to the second qualifying round of the UEFA Cup, which replaces the old system where the winners of three finals all progressed into the UEFA Cup first round.

Knock-out competition
For all ties in the competition, clubs play two matches against each other on a home and away basis, with the club scoring the greater aggregate of goals qualifying for the next round. The main access list of competing teams is dependent on the number of associations that wish to participate. Forty-nine associations have one place each in principle, but if an association declines to enter a side, its berth can be allocated by UEFA to another nation.

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