EuroHockey Club Champions Cup
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The EuroHockey Club Champions Cup, previously known as the European Club Championship, is the leading woman's field hockey competition for clubs in Europe. It is held annually. Prior to the creation of the Euro Hockey League in 2007, the woman's competition also had a men's counterpart of the same name. Both the men's and women's competitions began in 1974, although the men's competition was first held unofficially in 1969 (and then in 1970, in 1971, in 1972 and in 1973).
Eight teams, all champions of their respective national competitions, compete in the Cup, which is held in the summer at a single venue. The participating countries are those whose champions finished in the top six of the previous year's competition, together with the two countries whose clubs reached the final of the EuroHockey Club Champions Trophy. The bottom two countries in the previous season's Cup play in the Trophy. Similar promotion and relegation takes place between the Trophy and the Challenge I competition, and between Challenge I and Challenge II.
The format of the EuroHockey Club Champions Cup was changed for the 2010 competition. Prior to 2010 the tournament featured 8 clubs, but in 2010 the number of clubs was increased to 12 and the rules of competition were changed. Entry into the tournament depends on EHF member countries' ranking.
Each year the 12 available league places are allocated between eight EHF member countries' National Association's, depending on those National Association's EHF Club Ranking. National Associations ranked 1-4 in the EHL Ranking Table may enter two teams each into the Club Champions Cup, while National Associations ranked 5-8 may enter one teams each.
National Associations rankings are derived from each country's results in the EuroHockey Club Champions Cup and EuroHockey Club Champions Trophy over the previous 3 years, with the points in the earlier years discounted by 50% (year 2) and 75% (year 1). This ranking of National Associations is based on the performance of all their clubs in the EuroHockey Club Champions Cup and EuroHockey Club Champions Trophy. The total number of points won by clubs from each country is divided by the number of clubs to which the National Association was entitled in that year's competitions.
Each qualifying National Association is required to enter their national champion club, but is otherwise free to decide the system of qualification for their own clubs for any remaining places to which they are entitled that year.
The EuroHockey Club Champions Cup consists of four rounds.
Round 1 of the EuroHockey Club Champions Cup starts the tournament with a round-robin group stage. The league's 24 clubs are drawn into four pools (A - D) of three clubs, and each club in a pool plays the other 2 clubs in their pool once. The top 2 clubs in each pool go forward into Round 2. Round 1 is usually played Friday to Sunday inclusive at Easter.
Round 2 sees the tournament switch to a straight knock out format. Four crossover matches A1 v B2, B1 v A2, C1 v D2 and D1 v C2 are played, where A1 is the winner of pool A, and B2 is the team that came second in pool B, etc. The winners of each match qualify for the semi-finals. Rounds 2 is played on Easter Monday.
Clubs finishing in third place in each pool also play on Easter Monday in matches A3 v B3 and C3 v D3.
Round 3 (semi-final) and Round 4 (final, and 3 place playoff) are played at Whitsun at a single venue.