Inter-Cities Fairs Cup

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Inter-Cities Fairs Cup
Founded 1955
Abolished 1971
Region Europe
Number of teams 12 (First Round)
64 (Total)
Most successful club(s) Spain Barcelona
(3 time champions, 1 time runner-up)
Website History

The Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, sometimes referred to simply as the Fairs Cup, was a European football competition played between 1955 and 1971. The competition was the idea of Swiss pools supremo Ernst Thommen, Ottorino Barassi from Italy, and the English Football Association general secretary Stanley Rous, all of whom later became senior officials at the world governing body, FIFA. As the name suggests, the competition was set up to promote international trade fairs. Friendly games were regularly held between teams from cities holding trade fairs and it was from these games that the competition evolved. The competition was initially only open to teams from cities that hosted trade fairs and where these teams finished in their national league had no relevance. Early competitions also featured a one city, one team rule. After 1968, it was sometimes referred to as the Runners-Up Cup, with teams now qualifying based on league position. In 1971, it came under the auspices of UEFA and was replaced by the UEFA Cup.[1][2]

While the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup is recognised as the predecessor to the UEFA Cup, it was not organised by UEFA. Consequently, UEFA do not consider clubs' records in the Fairs Cup to be part of their European record.[1][3] However, FIFA do view the competition as a major honour.[4]

History[edit]

Spanish era[edit]

The first competition was to be held over two seasons to avoid clashes with national leagues fixtures. Because it was also intended to coincide with trade fairs, it ran over into a third year. It commenced in 1955 and finished in 1958. Cities that entered teams included Basle, Birmingham, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Vienna, Cologne, Lausanne, Leipzig, London, Milan, and Zagreb. The first competition included a group stage and also featured some city representative teams instead of clubs. The eventual finalists were the city of Barcelona and a London XI. While the latter side consisted of players from 11 different clubs, the former was effectively FC Barcelona with one player from RCD Espanyol. After a 2–2 draw at Stamford Bridge, Barcelona emerged triumphant after winning the return 6–0. A second tournament took place between 1958 and 1960. This time, the group stage format was abandoned in favour of a knockout tournament. Barcelona retained the cup, beating Birmingham City 4–1 in the final.

The third tournament was held over the course of the 1960–61 season and all subsequent tournaments were completed over one season. The season also saw the holders, Barcelona, compete in both the Fairs Cup and European Cup. During the early days of European competition, these tournaments were effectively rivals and there was little or no co-ordination between the administrators running them. The European Cup quickly established itself as the premier club competition, largely because it had the advantage of featuring national league champions and was completed in a single season from the very start. The efforts of Barcelona ended in failure in both competitions. In the Fairs Cup quarter-finals, they lost 7–6 on aggregate to Hibernian, while in the European Cup, they were beaten in the final by Benfica. Roma took three games to beat Hibernian in the semi-finals before they progressed to the final. Birmingham City reached their second final in two years but once again they were defeated. After a 2–2 draw at home, they lost 2–0 to Roma in the return.

The 1961–62 season saw the rules amended to allow three teams from each country to enter. The "one city, one team" rule was temporarily abandoned and the cities of Edinburgh, Milan, and Barcelona were represented by two teams each. The former entered both Hibernian and Heart of Midlothian, the second was represented by both Internazionale and A.C. Milan, while the latter entered both FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol. This increase in teams resulted in Spanish teams continuing to dominate the competition. FC Barcelona were now regularly joined by Valencia CF and Real Zaragoza. These three clubs won the competition six times between them from 1958 to 1966. The Fairs Cup saw three all-Spanish finals in 1962, 1964, and 1966. The 1962 final saw Valencia CF beat FC Barcelona 7–3 on aggregate and in 1963 they retained the title after beating Dinamo Zagreb with a 4–1 aggregate score. They reached their third final in 1964 but lost 2–1 to Real Zaragoza in a single game at the Camp Nou.

The 1965 tournament saw a record entry of 48 teams, testimony to the growing status of the Fairs Cup. It also produced only the second final not to feature a Spanish team. Ferencvárosi TC of Hungary beat Juventus in another single-game final. The 1966 competition attracted attention for all the wrong reasons. Chelsea were pelted with rubbish at Roma and Leeds United fought a bruising encounter with Valencia CF which ended with three dismissals. Leeds also had Johnny Giles sent off in the semi-final against Real Zaragoza. The final saw FC Barcelona beat Real Zaragoza 4–3 on aggregate.

English era[edit]

The 1967 tournament saw the emergence of English clubs with Leeds United reaching the final. Although they lost to Dinamo Zagreb, they returned the following season and defeated Ferencvárosi TC to become the first English club to win the competition. The subsequent victories of Newcastle United and Arsenal and a second win for Leeds United saw English clubs winning the last four Fairs Cup tournaments. The last final saw Leeds United declared winners on away goals after drawing with Juventus 3–3 on aggregate.

UEFA Cup[edit]

In the 1971–72 season the competition was taken over by UEFA and relaunched as the UEFA Cup. By replacing the trophy, renaming the competition, and revising the entry regulations, UEFA effectively ended the Fairs Cup. Among the changes was the abandonment of the "one city one team" rule, which had had a particularly bad effect on English entrants for 1969–70, when Liverpool (2nd), Arsenal (4th), Southampton (7th), and Newcastle United (9th) got the places, at the expense of Everton (3rd), Chelsea (5th), Tottenham Hotspur (6th), and West Ham United (8th). The rule was dropped in 1975, when Everton, having come 4th, would have been excluded thanks to Liverpool's 2nd-place finish. Their protest that the rule was an anachronism was upheld.

Finals[edit]

Season Home Team Score Away Team Venue
1955–58

Details

England London XI
(ENG)
2–2 Spain Barcelona XI (ESP)
(represented by F. C. Barcelona)[5]
Stamford Bridge,
London
Spain Barcelona XI (ESP)
(represented by F. C. Barcelona)[5]
6–0 England London XI
(ENG)
Camp Nou,
Barcelona
Barcelona XI[5] won 8–2 on aggregate
1958–60

Details

England Birmingham City
(ENG)
0–0 Spain Barcelona
(ESP)
St Andrew's,
Birmingham
Spain Barcelona
(ESP)
4–1 England Birmingham City
(ENG)
Camp Nou,
Barcelona
Barcelona won 4–1 on aggregate
1960–61

Details

England Birmingham City
(ENG)
2–2 Italy Roma
(ITA)
St Andrew's,
Birmingham
Italy Roma
(ITA)
2–0 England Birmingham City
(ENG)
Stadio Olimpico,
Rome
Roma won 4–2 on aggregate
1961–62

Details

Spain Valencia
(ESP)
6–2 Spain Barcelona
(ESP)
Luis Casanova Stadium,
Valencia
Spain Barcelona
(ESP)
1–1 Spain Valencia
(ESP)
Camp Nou,
Barcelona
Valencia won 7–3 on aggregate
1962–63

Details

Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Dinamo Zagreb
(YUG)
1–2 Spain Valencia
(ESP)
Maksimir,
Zagreb
SpainValencia
(ESP)
2–0 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Dinamo Zagreb
(YUG)
Luis Casanova Stadium,
Valencia
Valencia won 4–1 on aggregate
1963–64

Details

Spain Real Zaragoza
(ESP)
2–1 Spain Valencia
(ESP)
Camp Nou,
Barcelona
Single match played
1964–65

Details

Italy Juventus
(ITA)
0–1
Hungary Ferencváros
(HUN)
Stadio Comunale,
Turin
Single match played
1965–66

Details

Spain Barcelona
(ESP)
0–1 Spain Real Zaragoza
(ESP)
Camp Nou,
Barcelona
Spain Real Zaragoza
(ESP)
2–4
aet
Spain Barcelona
(ESP)
La Romareda,
Zaragoza
Barcelona won 4–3 on aggregate
1966–67

Details

Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Dinamo Zagreb
(YUG)
2–0 England Leeds United
(ENG)
Maksimir,
Zagreb
England Leeds United
(ENG)
0–0 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Dinamo Zagreb
(YUG)
Elland Road,
Leeds
Dinamo Zagreb won 2–0 on aggregate
1967–68

Details

England Leeds United
(ENG)
1–0 Hungary Ferencváros
(HUN)
Elland Road,
Leeds
Hungary Ferencváros
(HUN)
0–0 England Leeds United
(ENG)
Nepstadion,
Budapest
Leeds United won 1–0 on aggregate
1968–69

Details

England Newcastle United
(ENG)
3–0 Hungary Újpest
(HUN)
St James' Park,
Newcastle
Hungary Újpest
(HUN)
2–3 England Newcastle United
(ENG)
Megyeri úti Stadium,
Budapest
Newcastle United won 6–2 on aggregate
1969–70

Details

Belgium Anderlecht
(BEL)
3–1 England Arsenal
(ENG)
Parc Astrid,
Brussels
England Arsenal
(ENG)
3–0 Belgium Anderlecht
(BEL)
Highbury,
London
Arsenal won 4–3 on aggregate
1970–71

Details

Italy Juventus
(ITA)
2–2 England Leeds United
(ENG)
Stadio Comunale,
Turin
England Leeds United
(ENG)
1–1 Italy Juventus
(ITA)
Elland Road,
Leeds
Aggregate: 3–3
Leeds United won on away goals

aet – after extra time

Results by club[edit]

Club Wins Runners-up Years won Years runner-up
Barcelona 3 1 1958, 1960, 1966 1962
Valencia 2 1 1962, 1963 1964
Leeds United 2 1 1968, 1971 1967
Real Zaragoza 1 1 1964 1966
Ferencváros 1 1 1965 1968
Dinamo Zagreb 1 1 1967 1963
Roma 1 0 1961
Newcastle United 1 0 1969
Arsenal 1 0 1970
Birmingham City 0 2 1960, 1961
Juventus 0 2 1965, 1971
London XI 0 1 1958
Újpest 0 1 1969
Anderlecht 0 1 1970

Results by country[edit]

Country Wins Runners-up
 Spain 6 3
 England 4 4
 Hungary 1 2
 Italy 1 2
 Yugoslavia 1 1
 Belgium 0 1

Trophy play-off match[edit]

On 22 September 1971, a one-off match was played between the first ever winners (FC Barcelona) and the last ever winners (Leeds United) of the Fairs Cup, to decide who would gain permanent possession of the original trophy. Barcelona won this play-off 2–1.

Season Home Team Score Away Team Venue
1971

Trophy Play-Off

Spain Barcelona
(ESP)
2–1 England Leeds United
(ENG)
Camp Nou,
Barcelona
Single match play-off

All-time top goalscorers[edit]

This is the list of top scorers in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, from 1955 to 1971 when the competition was taken over by UEFA and rebranded as UEFA Cup.

Rank Player Goals Club
1 Waldo 31 Valencia
2 Peter Lorimer 20 Leeds United
3 Flórián Albert 19 Ferencváros
Ferenc Bene Újpest
José Antonio Zaldúa Barcelona
6 Pedro Manfredini 18 Roma
7 Evaristo de Macedo 17 Barcelona
8 Vicente Guillot 16 Valencia
9 Marcelino Martínez 15 Real Zaragoza
10 Héctor Núñez 14 Valencia
Source: rsssf.com

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "UEFA Cup: All-time finals". UEFA. 30 June 2005. Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  2. ^ "Legend". UEFA. 21 August 2006. Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  3. ^ "UEFA Europa League: History: New format provides fresh impetus". UEFA. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  4. ^ "Classic Football: Clubs: FC Barcelona". FIFA. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
    "Classic Football: Clubs: AS Roma". FIFA. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Head and Tails for the English (Spanish) This articles indicates F. C. Barcelona participated in this first edition of the tournament representing the City of Barcelona, and using, not the colors of the club, but the colors of the city.

External links[edit]