Sport in Europe

Sport in Europe

Sport in Europe tends to be highly organised with many sports having professional leagues.

The origins of many of the world's most popular sports today lay in the codification of many traditional games, especially in Britain.

The most common sport in Europe is undoubtedly football. European clubs teams are the strongest (and highest paid) in the world, and the UEFA Champions League (the European clubs championship) is one of the sport's most prestigious tournaments. European national teams compete in the UEFA European Football Championship and apart from South American teams, dominate in FIFA World Cup play.Fact|date=September 2008 The most popular and successful football leagues are the Spanish La Liga, the English Premier League, the Italian Serie A and German Bundesliga.

In addition to football, other team sports are popular is some regions of the continent. Basketball is a commonly participated sport across Europe and is particularly popular in Mediterranean countries, as is volleyball. Road bicycle racing is very popular in many European countries, especially in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland. Ice hockey is popular in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. Handball is popular in many countries including Germany, Spain, Denmark and Sweden. Rugby union is popular in the British Isles, France and northern Italy, with rugby league still maintaining a small following in some parts of Great Britain. Cricket is a popular summer sport in the United Kimgdom and has been exported to other parts of the former British Empire. Field hockey is also popular in some European countries.

Individual sports are also very important. In fact Europe was the birthplace of the Olympic Movement that has become so central to modern individual sport, with Greece being to first country to hold the Olympics in 1896. In 1972 the Olympics was held in Munich, West Germany, which was a member of the European Communities, a forerunner of the EU. The XXV Olympiad took place in Barcelona, Spain in 1992, after the signing of the the Maastricht Treaty on the formation of the EU on 7 February 1992, but before the treaty came into force on 1 November 1993. The first Olympics to take place in the EU was the XXVIII Olympiad in Athens, Greece in 2004, where EU sportspeople won 81 gold medals, 101 silvers and 113 bronzes, a total of 295. The next will be the 2012 Games of the XXX Olympiad in London in the United Kingdom. The Winter Olympic Games have also been held in the EU: in 1992 the XVI Olympic Winter Games was in Albertville, France; and in 2006 the XX Olympic Winter Games was in Turin, Italy.

The most prestigious and lucrative athletics and aquatics meets are in Europe, as are several major golf tournaments. Europe also compete as a single team in the Ryder Cup. Tennis is popular in most of Europe and 2 of the 4 major Grand Slam events are held here, in France and the UK.

For those areas with the proper climate, winter sports are also an important. In Scandinavian and Alpine countries, various forms of skiing and snowboarding are popular. European competitors have traditionally dominated at the Winter Olympics.

Other regions have games that are particular to their home, for example hurling in Ireland, bandy in Russia or bullfighting in Spain.

Motorsports such as are popular across nearly all of Europe. Formula One is traditionally dominated by European drivers and teams and many grand prix are held in Europe. Motorcycle speedway is also popular in Poland, Scandinavia, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom.

Club over franchise

Unlike major team sports in North America, where franchises are awarded to nominated cities, most European teams have grown from small clubs formed by groups of individuals before growing rapidly. Churches and work places have often been the most fertile birth place of many of Europe's major sports clubs, particularly in Britain, which in latter part of the twentieth century led the way in organised sports Facts|date=July 2008.

Clubs therefore had an equal chance to grow to become among the strongest in their particular sport which has led to a situation where many cities are represented by two or even three top class teams in the same sport. In the 2007-08 football season, London has five teams playing in the English Premier League while Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham also have double representation. The cities of Nottingham and Sheffield have also previously had double representation in the Premier League (Sheffield currently has double representation in the second-level Championship) with the clashes between these sides being considered a major event in the city.

ee also

*Sport in Asia

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