UEFA Women's Champions League

The UEFA Women's Champions League, previously called the UEFA Women's Cup (2001–2009), is a European women's association football competition. It involves the top club teams from countries affiliated with the European governing body UEFA.

UEFA Women's Champions League
Organising bodyUEFA
Founded2001; 22 years ago (2001)
Number of teams16 (group stage)
72 (total)
Current championsSpain Barcelona (2nd title)
Most successful club(s)France Lyon (8 titles)
Television broadcastersDAZN
beIN Sports (MENA only)
2023–24 UEFA Women's Champions League
Season UEFA Women's Cup
2001–02 Germany Frankfurt
2002–03 Sweden Umeå
2003–04 Sweden Umeå (2)
2004–05 Germany Turbine Potsdam
2005–06 Germany Frankfurt (2)
2006–07 England Arsenal
2007–08 Germany Frankfurt (3)
2008–09 Germany FCR Duisburg
Season UEFA Women's Champions League
2009–10 Germany Turbine Potsdam (2)
2010–11 France Lyon
2011–12 France Lyon (2)
2012–13 Germany VfL Wolfsburg
2013–14 Germany VfL Wolfsburg (2)
2014–15 Germany Frankfurt (4)
2015–16 France Lyon (3)
2016–17 France Lyon (4)
2017–18 France Lyon (5)
2018–19 France Lyon (6)
2019–20 France Lyon (7)
2020–21 Spain Barcelona
2021–22 France Lyon (8)
2022–23 Spain Barcelona (2)

The competition was first played in 2001–02 under the name UEFA Women's Cup, and renamed the Champions League for the 2009–10 edition. The most significant changes in 2009 were the inclusion of runners-up from the top eight ranked nations, a one-off final as opposed to the two-legged finals in previous years, and – until 2018 – playing the final in the same city as the men's UEFA Champions League final. In the 2021–22 season, the competition proper included a group stage for the first time in the Women's Champions League era.

Lyon is the most successful club in the competition's history, winning the title eight times, including five consecutive titles from 2016 to 2020. Barcelona are the current champions, having beaten VfL Wolfsburg in the 2023 final.

The idea of creating two new women's European Cups is regularly raised to offer more matches.[1]

Format Edit

UEFA Women's Cup (2001–2009) Edit

A preliminary round was played to reduce teams to 32, in the first season only two teams played a two-legged match, the following seasons were played as four team mini-tournaments which had the winner advance to the group stage. Teams were then divided into eight groups of four. The groups were played again as mini-tournaments at a single location over the course of five days. The group winners then advanced to the quarter-finals. The knock-out rounds were played as two-legged. That included the final which was only played as a single leg in 2002.

For the 2004–05 season the group stage was played in four groups with the top two teams advancing to the quarter-finals. That resulted in more qualifying groups.

Champions League (2009–2021) Edit

On 11 December 2008, UEFA announced that the competition would be reformatted and renamed to the UEFA Women's Champions League.[2] As in the men's game, the new tournament aims to include runners-up of the top women's football leagues in Europe,[3] and the title holder has the right to enter if they do not qualify through their domestic competition. Also similar to the men, the final is to be played in a single match.

The competition is open to the champions of all 55 UEFA associations. However, not all associations have or had a qualifying women's league, and not all nations opt to participate each year. Due to the varying participation, the number of teams playing the qualifying round and teams entering in the round of 32 change from year to year. The principles are inferred from the access list:[4] Numbers are based on three principles:

  • Groups of 4 teams shall contest the qualifying rounds.
  • The group winners shall qualify for the main round.
  • The smallest possible number of qualifying group runners-up shall qualify for the main round.

For example, in a 53-team tournament, 25 teams directly enter the R32, with seven qualifying groups providing seven group winners and no runners-up; if the tournament were 60 teams instead, 20 teams would directly enter the R32, with ten qualifying groups providing ten group winners and two runners-up.

Minor adjustments Edit

When the new format was initially announced, the eight top countries according to the UEFA league coefficient between 2003 and 2004 and 2007–08 would be awarded two places in the new Women's Champions League.[3] The runners-up from each country participated in the qualifying rounds for the first two years under the Champions League format.

For the 2011–12 tournament, the runners-up from the top eight nations instead qualified directly to the R32. For the five years under this format, seven nations remained in the top eight: Germany, Sweden, England (both iterations), France, Denmark, Russia, and Italy. A different nation provided the eighth runner-up in each of the five years: Iceland, Norway, Austria, Czech Republic,[5] and Spain[6] in that order.

The tournament was expanded again for the 2016–17 season, with the runners-up from nations 9–12 in the UEFA league coefficient also qualifying. Whether they begin participation in the qualifying round or the R32 depends on how many total teams participate in the tournament. For the first three years under this format, the four nations in these slots were Czech Republic, Austria, Scotland, and Norway, though Czech Republic rose into the top 8 at the expense of Russia; for the 2019–20 season, Switzerland replaced Norway, and for the final season under this format, Norway, Kazakhstan, and The Netherlands replaced Russia, Scotland, and Austria in the top 12.

Champions League (2021–) Edit

On 4 December 2019, the UEFA Executive Committee approved a new format for the 2021–22 season.[7] The top six associations will enter three teams, the associations ranked 7–16 will enter two, and the remaining associations will enter one. The competition is restructured to appear much more similar to the men's CL format than before, with a double-round-robin group stage in the competition proper, the first time in the Women's Champions League era, and two paths (a champions path and a non-champions path) for all teams that do not automatically qualify for the group stage. UEFA will also centralize the media rights from the group stage onward, having previously only done so for the final.[8]

Under this new format, the group stage – four groups of four – qualifies eight teams to the home-and-away quarterfinals, at which point the competition remains the same as before. Four teams qualify directly to the group stage: the defending UWCL champions and the league champions from the nations ranked 1–3 by UEFA coefficient. Seven teams qualify from the champions path – guaranteeing that at least ten nations will be represented in the group stage – and five from the league path. Qualification along both paths takes place in two rounds: a first round consisting of four-team, predetermined-venue miniature tournaments (one-off semifinals, third place, and final matches) and a second round of paired home-and-away ties. In this format, the first round is similar to the previous qualifying round except that teams play a two-game knockout tournament instead of a three-game round-robin, and the second round is similar to the previous round of 32 except that the range of possible opponents is more stratified.

Example tournament structure
Teams entering in this round Teams advancing from the previous round
First round
Champions Path
(44 teams)
  • 44 champions from associations 7–50
League Path
(16 teams)
  • 10 runners-up from associations 7–16
  • 6 third-place teams from associations 1–6
Second round
Champions Path
(14 teams)
  • 3 champions from associations 4–6
  • 11 final winners from the first round (Champions Path)
League Path
(10 teams)
  • 6 runners-up from associations 1–6
  • 4 final winners from the first round (League Path)
Group stage
(16 teams)
  • UEFA Women's Champions League title holder
  • 3 champions from associations 1–3
  • 7 winners from the second round (Champions Path)
  • 5 winners from the second round (League Path)
Knockout phase
(8 teams)
  • 4 group winners from the group stage
  • 4 group runners-up from the group stage

Prize money Edit

Prize-money was awarded for a first time in 2010 when both finalists received money. In 2011 the payments were extended to losing semi- and quarter-finalists.[9] The current prize-money structure is

  • €250,000 winning team
  • €200,000 losing finalist
  • €50,000 losing semi-finalists
  • €25,000 losing quarter-finalists

In the Champions League teams also receive 20,000 Euro for playing each round or the qualifying. There have been several complaints about the sum, which doesn't cover costs for some longer trips which include flights.[10]

The 2021–22 Women's Champions League introduced a 16-team group stage to the competition, for which each participant will receive €400,000 (about five times as much as Round of 16 participants received in previous editions). The winner of the 2021–22 tournament could earn up to €1.4 million depending on its results in the group stage (wins in the group stage are worth more than draws).[11]

Sponsorship Edit

Until the 2015–18 cycle, UEFA Women's Champions League used to have the same sponsors as the UEFA Champions League. However, starting from the 2018–21 cycle, women's football competitions – including the Champions League – have their separate sponsors.[12] From the start of group stage in 2021/22, the tournament will have a rights' centralisation in stages before the final: in group stage, only some assets and the official ball are centralised, while in knock-out rounds – at least until 2022–23 – UEFA will allow only few club sponsors, alongside the ones who are official.[13]

Official sponsors

Records and statistics Edit

Winners Edit

Performances in the UEFA Women's Cup and UEFA Women's Champions League by club
Club Titles Runners-up Seasons won Seasons runner-up
  Lyon 8 2 2011, 2012, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2022 2010, 2013
  1. FFC Frankfurt 4 2 2002, 2006, 2008, 2015 2004, 2012
  VfL Wolfsburg 2 4 2013, 2014 2016, 2018, 2020, 2023
  Umeå 2 3 2003, 2004 2002, 2007, 2008
  Turbine Potsdam 2 2 2005, 2010 2006, 2011
  Barcelona 2 2 2021, 2023 2019, 2022
  Arsenal 1 0 2007
  FCR Duisburg 1 0 2009
  Paris Saint-Germain 0 2 2015, 2017
  Fortuna Hjørring 0 1 2003
  Djurgården 0 1 2005
  Zvezda Perm 0 1 2009
  Tyresö 0 1 2014
  Chelsea 0 1 2021

By nation Edit

Nation Winners Runners-up Semi-finalists Winner Runners-up Semi-finalists
  Germany 9 8 10
  France 8 4 9
  Sweden 2 5 4
  Spain 2 2 2
  England 1 1 12
  Denmark 0 1 3
  Russia 0 1 0
  Norway 0 0 2
  Finland 0 0 1
  Italy 0 0 1

Since the format change in 2009, no team from a nation outside the top two has won the title, except for Barcelona in 2021. The only teams from nations outside the top two to have finished runner-up in that time were Tyresö in 2014, Barcelona in 2019 and Chelsea in 2021.

Also, no team from a nation outside the top four made the semi-finals until Brøndby in 2015. Barcelona has since made the semi-finals in 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021 (and they went on to win the title in 2021).

Top scorers by tournament Edit

The top-scorer award is given to the player who scores the most goals in the competition. Up until the introduction of the Champions League Group Stage it included the qualifying rounds. Since 2021–22 only goals from the group stage onwards count towards the award. Iceland's Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir has won the award three times. Ada Hegerberg holds the record for most goals in a season.

Season Top scorer(s) (Club) Goals
2022–23 Ewa Pajor (VfL Wolfsburg) 9
2021–22 Alexia Putellas (Barcelona) 11
2020–21 Jenni Hermoso (Barcelona)
Fran Kirby (Chelsea)
2019–20 Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal)
Emueje Ogbiagbevha (Minsk)
Berglind Björg Þorvaldsdóttir (Breiðablik)
2018–19 Pernille Harder (VfL Wolfsburg) 8
2017–18 Ada Hegerberg (Olympique Lyonnais) 15
2016–17 Zsanett Jakabfi (VfL Wolfsburg)
Vivianne Miedema (FC Bayern Munich)
2015–16 Ada Hegerberg (Olympique Lyonnais) 13
2014–15 Célia Šašić (Frankfurt) 14
2013–14 Milena Nikolić (ŽFK Spartak) 11
2012–13 Laura Rus (Apollon Limassol) 11
2011–12 Camille Abily (Olympique Lyonnais)
Eugénie Le Sommer (Olympique Lyonnais)
2010–11 Inka Grings (FCR 2001 Duisburg) 13
2009–10 Vanessa Bürki (FC Bayern München) 11
2008–09 Margrét Lára Viðarsdóttir (Valur Reykjavík) 14
2007–08 Vira Dyatel (Zhilstroy-1 Karkhiv)
Patrizia Panico (ASD CF Bardolino Verona)
Margrét Lára Viðarsdóttir (Valur Reykjavík)
2006–07 Julie Fleeting (Arsenal LFC) 9
2005–06 Margrét Lára Viðarsdóttir (Valur Reykjavík) 11
2004–05 Conny Pohlers (1. FFC Turbine Potsdam) 14
2003–04 Maria Gstöttner (SV Neulengbach) 11
2002–03 Hanna Ljungberg (Umeå IK) 10
2001–02 Gabriela Enache (FC Codru Anenii Noi) 12

All-time top scorers Edit

As of 21 May 2022[22] Bold players still active.
Rank Topscorer Goals Clubs
1   Ada Hegerberg 59 Stabæk, 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam, Olympique Lyon
2   Anja Mittag 51 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam, FC Rosengård, Paris Saint-Germain, Wolfsburg, FC Rosengård
3   Conny Pohlers 48 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam, 1. FFC Frankfurt, Wolfsburg
4   Eugénie Le Sommer 47 Olympique Lyon
5   Marta 46 Umeå IK, Tyresö FF, FC Rosengård
6   Camille Abily 43 Montpellier, Olympique Lyon
7   Lotta Schelin 42 Olympique Lyon, FC Rosengård
7   Kim Little 42 Hibernian, Arsenal
8   Nina Burger 40 SV Neulengbach
10   Hanna Ljungberg 39 Umeå IK

International broadcasters Edit

Global Edit

DAZN have the global rights of the competition from 2021–22 until 2024–25, 61 matches in both 2021–22 and 2022–23 seasons will be live streamed for free on the DAZN UEFA Women's Champions League YouTube channel.[23]


All matches from group stage until final will be aired live on beIN Sports until 2023–24 season.

United States Edit

ATA Football agreed a new partnership with DAZN which saw the subscribers get access of 31 live matches from the tournament throughout the 2021–22 season. Those games were also available to rewatch on the platform, as well as live on DAZN and its YouTube channel.[24]

Gallery Edit

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ "Europa League-style competition for women's football among proposals from European Club Association". skysports.com. Retrieved 19 March 2023.
  2. ^ "Women's Champions League launches in 2009". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 11 December 2008. Archived from the original on 17 July 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Women's Champions League details confirmed" (PDF). UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2009.
  4. ^ "Access list for the 2014/15 season" (PDF). UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived (PDF) from the original on 6 July 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  5. ^ "UEFA Women's Champions League association coefficient rankings: places for the 2013/14 season" (PDF). UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 November 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  6. ^ "Access List for the UEFA Women's Champions League 2015/16" (PDF). UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 September 2015. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  7. ^ "Game changer: group stage for UEFA Women's Champions League". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 4 December 2019. Archived from the original on 5 December 2019. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  8. ^ "New Women's Champions League format with group stage: how it will work". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 4 December 2019. Archived from the original on 21 September 2020. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  9. ^ "UEFA Women's Champions League factsheet" (PDF). UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived (PDF) from the original on 8 January 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  10. ^ "British teams competing in Women's Champions League receive 'farcical' funding from Uefa". The Daily Telegraph. 6 October 2013. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  11. ^ Schuller, Rudi (13 May 2021). "HOW MUCH PRIZE MONEY DO THE UEFA WOMEN'S CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WINNERS GET?". DAZN. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  12. ^ "UEFA unbundles sponsorship rights for women's competitions". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 15 November 2017. Archived from the original on 27 December 2017. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  13. ^ "UEFA Documents". documents.uefa.com. Archived from the original on 2 May 2021. Retrieved 25 October 2021.
  14. ^ "Visa signs ground-breaking seven-year women's football deal with UEFA". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 6 December 2018. Archived from the original on 6 December 2018. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  15. ^ "adidas Kick Off Partnership with WUCL Ahead of the 2021/22 Champions League Group Stages". VERSUS. 13 September 2021. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  16. ^ UEFA.com (23 February 2020). "Hublot becomes official partner of UEFA Women's EURO 2021 | Inside UEFA". UEFA.com. Archived from the original on 26 May 2020. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  17. ^ UEFA.com (26 August 2020). "PepsiCo signs 5-year deal to sponsor UEFA Women's football | Inside UEFA". UEFA.com. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  18. ^ UEFA.com (22 March 2021). "Just Eat Takeaway.com to sponsor UEFA Champions League & UEFA Women's EURO in wide-ranging partnership | Inside UEFA". UEFA.com. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  19. ^ UEFA.com (20 May 2021). "Euronics Group becomes official sponsor of UEFA Women's Football | Inside UEFA". UEFA.com. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  20. ^ UEFA.com (14 July 2021). "Grifols becomes official partner of UEFA Women's Football | Inside UEFA". UEFA.com. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  21. ^ UEFA.com (26 August 2021). "Heineken becomes official partner of UEFA Women's Football | Inside UEFA". UEFA.com. Retrieved 29 August 2021.
  22. ^ "Hegerberg reigns as all-time top scorer". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 16 March 2021. Archived from the original on 11 October 2017. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  23. ^ "DAZN and YouTube to stream Women's Champions League". UEFA. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  24. ^ "Women's Champions League distribution bolstered by DAZN's Ata Football deal". SportsPro. 6 October 2021. Retrieved 7 October 2021.

External links Edit