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UEFA Futsal Cup and UEFA Futsal Champions League

The UEFA Futsal Cup began in 2001/02 and Spanish sides have proved the dominant force in what in 2018 became the UEFA Futsal Champions league.

Inter's fifth title came in 2018
Inter's fifth title came in 2018 ©Sportsfile

There were nine unofficial European club competitions prior to the start of the UEFA Futsal Cup, with the winners always being the hosts and always hailing from Spain, Russia or Italy, Dina Moskva winning three titles.

UEFA introduced its own competition for the 2001/02 season. The inaugural tournament ended with a finals competition in Lisbon for the top eight teams in February 2002. Playas de Castellón of Spain were the winners, defeating Action 21 Charleroi in the final.

In 2002/03, the tournament culminated in a two-legged home and away final between Castellón and Charleroi in April/May 2003. Again, the Spanish side were the victors, claiming their second European crown in a row.

The 2003/04 event boasted 33 teams from 32 nations but Spanish dominance continued. However, there was a new name on the trophy as Inter FS triumphed over Iberian rivals SL Benfica 7-5 on aggregate.

Finally, the Spanish dominance was ended in 2004/05 as Charleroi atoned for their disappointments of 2002 and 2003 by finally lifting the trophy. They did so in dramatic fashion, defeating FC Dynamo 4-3 in the opening leg in Belgium before two extra-time goals gave them a 6-6 draw in Moscow to secure a 10-9 aggregate triumph.

In 2005/06 Inter and Dynamo made the final by defeating Shakhtar Donetsk and Kairat Almaty respectively in two-legged semis. The Spanish side then won back the trophy after winning the first leg 6-3 and surviving a scare in Moscow to win 9-7 overall.

For the first time, 40 clubs entered in 2006/07, with a new four-team final tournament reached by seeds Inter, Dynamo, Charleroi and Murcia, who had all been given byes to the elite round. Murcia were picked as hosts but lost to Spanish rivals Interviú in the semi-finals, only for the Madrid side to go down 2-1 to Dynamo in the decider two days later with Murcia pipping Charleroi for bronze.

The entry was up to 44 by 2007/08, though without Charleroi for the first time after they lost the Belgian title. The format was the same and again the top four seeds, Dynamo, Murcia, Kairat and Russian debutants MFK Sinara Ekaterinburg, reached the final four, staged by the holders. However, they were only to take bronze as they lost on penalties to Murcia but they won 5-0 against Kairat, who had been beaten 4-1 by Ekaterinburg. And it was the previous season's Russian runners-up, who had never won their domestic league, that took the European title, a 4-4 draw with Murcia followed by a 3-2 shoot-out success.

Again 44 teams played in the 2008/09 edition, and again the top four seeds reached the finals: Ekaterinburg, chosen as hosts, Dynamo, Inter and Kairat. Inter overwhelmed Kairat 5-0 in the semi-finals while Ekaterinburg delighted a capacity crowd with a tense 2-0 defeat of Dynamo, who were to lose the bronze match this time 1-0 to Almaty. There was also a Russian defeat in the final as Inter's 5-1 success gave them an unprecedented third victory.

In 2009/10 there was a new look to the finals, as hosts Benfica, Luparense of Italy and Azerbajian's Araz Naxçivan qualified with Inter. The final matched Benfica and Inter, and to the delight of then competition-record 9,400 crowd at Lisbon's Pavilhão Atlântico, the venue for the inaugural competition eight years earlier, the Eagles won 3-2 after extra time.

Benfica and city rivals Sporting CP both qualified for the 2010/11 finals, which uniquely contained no team from either Spain or Russia. Ekaterinburg and Araz were both topped in the elite round by Italian debutants Città di Montesilvano, and they were to claim their nation's first title with a 5-2 final defeat of Sporting – the pair having surprisingly beaten holders Benfica and hosts Kairat Almaty in the last four.

The trophy returned to Spain in 2011/12 as Barça, on their debut camapign, made it to the finals and, as hosts in Lleida, beat Sporting CP 5-1 then Dynamo 3-1 to lift the cup in front of a boisterous 5,000 full house. Another debutant club, Italy's Marca Futsal, knocked out Montesilvano in the elite round and beat Sporting on penalties for bronze.

Iberia Star Tbilisi, the only tournament ever-presents, made their first finals in 2012/13 and hosted the event. But Kairat Almaty took Kazakhstan's first UEFA title as they beat Barça 5-4 in a semi-final thriller and then Dynamo 4-3 in the decider. Dynamo had beaten Iberia Star 5-2 in the semi-finals and the hosts lost 4-1 to Barcelona for third place.

Barça reclaimed their title in 2013/14, and once again Dynamo were the beaten finalists, 5-2 after extra time. Araz hosted the finals, the first time any UEFA tournament had been in Azerbaijan, and although they lost to Barça on penalties in the semis, they claimed bronze with victory against Kairat, their reign ended 2-1 by Dynamo in the last four.

Kairat were the champions again in 2014/15. A record 12,076 crowd in Lisbon (at the same arena as 2002 and 2010) saw Barça beat Sporting CP in the semis but they were dethroned once again by Kairat, 3-2. Dina made their UEFA competition debut, finishing fourth.

A new name was etched on the trophy in 2015/16 as Russian debutants Ugra Yugorsk beat Inter (hosting the event in Guadalajara) 4-3 in a stunning final. Benfica added to their 2010 gold and 2004 silver by taking bronze on penalties against Pescara, also in Europe for the first time.

Inter finally got their fourth title in 2016/17 with a record-breaking 7-0 win against Sporting CP. Just as in 2010/11, Sporting fell short in Almaty, but did knock out Ugra in the semi-finals. Kairat defeated Ugra on penalties for bronze after a 5-5 draw.

A year on in 2017/18 and Inter did it again, beating Sporting once more 5-2 in Zaragoza. Barça claimed bronze ahead of first Hungarian semi-finalists Győr. That was the last UEFA Futsal Cup ahead of a relaunch as the UEFA Futsal Champions League.

Under the new branding in 2018/19, Sporting CP finally ended their run of final defeats, beating Inter in the semis and hosts Kairat Almaty in the decider. Barça, who had falen to Inter in the 2018 semi-finals, gained revenge to pick up bronze.

In 2019/20 the finals were moved to October and played behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Barça hosted at their Palau Blaugrana and won the first all-Spanish final 2-1 against Murcia. Two Russian debutants also made the finals, with KPRF beating Tyumen, the side that knocked out holders Sporting CP, on penalties for bronze.

The pandemic also meant a different format for 2020/21, with single-legged knockout throughout leading to an expanded eight-team finals in Zadar, Croatia. The previous two winners made the final and Sporting came back from two down at half-time to dethrone Barça 4-3.

Things returned to normal in 2021/22, though the finals were again on neutral territory at Arena Riga. Barça and Sporting once more reached the final; the Blaugrana recovering from three down to beat Benfica at the end of extra time and Sporting seeing off first French finals contenders ACCS Asnières Villeneuve 92 (who had replaced the excluded Tyumen). Barça again led the final 2-0 at half-time but were able to seal a 4-0 victory for their fourth title.

A new winner emerged in 2022/23. Mallorca Palma Futsal, on debut, made the finals, were selected as hosts and beat Benfica 4-3 in the semis and Sporting on penalties in the decider after a 1-1 draw to lift the trophy. Benfica took bronze ahead of Sporting Anderlecht Futsal, the first Belgian team to make the finals since Charleroi in 2006/07.

Palma did it again in 2023/24, in Yerevan. They again defeated Benfica in the last four, on penalties, and then took on Spanish rivals Barça, who had edged out Sporting 5-4. Benfica again got bronze as they saw off Sporting 6-3 and then Palma came from behind to defeat Barça 5-1, the first team to win the title on their two debut seasons since Castellón .