The Union of European Football Associations, almost always referred to by the abbreviation UEFA (pronounced you-AY-fuh), is the administrative and controlling body for European football.
It represents the national football associations of Europe, running nine national and four club competitions in Europe, controlling the prize-money, regulations and media rights to those competitions. It is one of the six continental confederations of FIFA.
Of the confederations, it is by far the strongest in terms of wealth and influence over the global game. Virtually all of the world's top players play in European league because of the salaries available from the world's wealthiest football clubs, particularly in England, Italy, Spain and Germany. Many of the world's strongest national sides are in UEFA. Of the 32 available spots in the Football World Cup 2006, 15 are allocated to UEFA national teams.
UEFA was founded on June 15, 1954 in Basel, Switzerland following discussions between the French, Italian and Belgian FAs. The headquarters was in Paris until 1959 when the organisation moved to Bern. Henri Delaunay was the first General Secretary and Ebbe Schwartz the president. Its administrative centre since 1995 is in Nyon, Switzerland. It was initially made up of twenty-five national associations; currently there are 52 associations.