2013 may not be a World Cup year but in terms of major football events, there’s still plenty going on! Prepare to back your team all way and experience the excitement all over again for another year;
Capital One Cup Final, Wembley Stadium, London, UK, 24 February 2013
Wembley will play host to the Football League Cup final football match which is better known as the Capital One Cup. The 54th season sees all 92 football clubs in England compete in a series of knockout stages to crown one final winner. The first five rounds have already been played with the semi-finals scheduled for January 2013 with just 4 teams remaining, interestingly last year’s cup winners team Liverpool, were knocked out in the fourth round. The remaining four teams which will play 2 legs (once home and away) are; Bradford City (league two), Aston Villa (premier league), Chelsea (premier league) and Swansea City (premier league).
FA Cup Final, Wembley Stadium, London. UK, 11 May 2013
The world’s oldest association football competition, the FA Cup, will reach its conclusion on 11th may in London. Founded in 1871 the FA Cup sees every team across the UK compete as equals regardless of standings in the football league tables or indeed salary. And there have been some legendary upsets over the years of the knockout tournament! Some 763 teams compete for the prestigious cup which currently resides with the current champions, Chelsea.
UEFA Champions League Final, Wembley Stadium, London, UK, 25 May 2013
In May Wembley will host the annual UEFA Champions League final and there’s an upset in the air already as current holders Chelsea have already been eliminated! Founded in 1955 a total of 77 European football teams compete in one of the most prestigious football events in the world. The teams start a series of knockout rounds the previous July to end with the final in the following May, which last year was watched by 179 million avid sports fans across the world. The most successful football clubs since the tournament began are; Real Madrid (won 9 times), Milan (won 7 times) and Liverpool (won 5 times). Wembley is home to the England football squad and last hosted the tournament in 2011, the only stadium in the world to hold the final twice within 3 years. Winners of the Champions League will automatically qualify to compete in the UEFA Super Cup and also the FIFA Club World Cup.
Europa League Final, Amsterdam Arena, Netherlands, 15 May 2013
Formerly known as the UEFA Cup, the Europa League features 193 teams from across Europe based on an association rankings system. Clubs play in the first, second and third qualifying rounds then proceed to the play-off and group stages. The knockout matches will be played with the remaining teams on 20 December 2012 and the quarter and semi-finals will then be played out on 15 March 2013. This then leaves the two remaining contenders to play head to head in the May 15th final in Amsterdam. Current holders Atlético Madrid will be the team to watch.
And if you’re not lucky enough to be attending a big final football match, there’s plenty going on all year round in the English Premier League which attracts some 900,000 foreign football tourists each year. The most popular destinations for football mad travellers are Old Trafford to watch Manchester United and Anfield to watch Liverpool.
UEFA Super Cup 2013, Eden Arena, Prague, Czech Republic, 30 August 2013
The 38th UEFA Super Cup will be played in August 2013 in Prague. The annual fixture will pit the two existing champions of the both the Champions League and the Europa League against each other in one super playoff. This time around the match will be played at Prague’s Eden Arena rather than the usual Stade Louis II in Monaco.
FIFA Club World Cup 2013, Morocco, 11 December 2013
The FIFA Club World Cup 2013 football tournament will be held in Morocco from 11 to 21 December and will be the tenth such tournament. Competing will be the champion clubs from the confederation of each continent. Morocco has also won the bid to host the 2014 tournament, despite stiff competition from Iran, South Africa and the UAE (which hosted the 2009 and 2010 versions in Abu Dhabi). The winners of seven top football tournaments across the world will be eligible including the winning team of the 2013 Copa Libertadores, the team that wins the 2012–13 UEFA Champions League and the AFC and CAF Champions League victors from 2012.
By Julie Bowman