UEFA represents the national football associations of Europe, runs nation and club competitions including the UEFA European Championship, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, and UEFA Super Cup, and controls the prize money, regulations, and media rights to those competitions.
Henri Delaunay was the first general secretary and Ebbe Schwartz the first president. The current president is Aleksander Čeferin, a former Football Association of Slovenia president, who was elected as UEFA's seventh president at the 12th Extraordinary UEFA Congress in Athens in September 2016, and automatically became a vice-president of the world body FIFA.
UEFA was founded on 15 June 1954 in Basel, Switzerland after consultation between the Italian, French, and Belgian associations. The European football union began with 25 members; that number doubled by the early 1990s. Until 1959 the main headquarters were located in Paris, and later in Bern. In 1995, UEFA headquarters were transferred to Nyon, Switzerland. UEFA membership coincides for the most part with recognition as a sovereign country in Europe, although there are some exceptions. Some states (Monaco and Vatican City) are not members. Some UEFA members are not sovereign states, but form part of a larger recognized sovereign state in the context of international law. These include Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales, (Countries of the United Kingdom), Gibraltar (British Overseas Territory), the Faroe Islands (autonomous country within Denmark), and Kosovo (disputed territory and partially recognised state), however in the context of these countries government functions concerning sport tend to be carried at the territorial level coterminous with the UEFA member entity. Some UEFA members are transcontinental states (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Georgia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Russia). Countries which had been members of the Asian Football Confederation were also admitted to the European football association, particularly Israel and Kazakhstan. Additionally some UEFA member associations allow teams from outside their association's main territory to take part in their "domestic" competition. AS Monaco, for example, takes part in the French League (though a separate sovereign entity); Welsh clubs Cardiff City, Swansea City and Newport County A.F.C. participate in the English League; Berwick Rangers, situated in England, play in the Scottish Professional Football League and Derry City, situated in Northern Ireland, play in the Republic of Ireland-based League of Ireland.
UEFA runs official international competitions in Europe and some countries of Northern, Southwestern and Central Asia for national teams and professional clubs, known as UEFA competitions, some of which are regarded as the world's most prestigious tournaments.
The main competition for men's national teams is the UEFA European Football Championship, started in 1958, with the first finals in 1960, and known as the European Nations Cup until 1964. It is also called UEFA or the EURO. UEFA also runs national competitions at Under-21, Under-19 and Under-17 levels. For women's national teams, UEFA operates the UEFA Women's Championship for senior national sides as well as Women's Under-19 and Women's Under-17 Championships.