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Tearing a leaf out of the English Premier League's playbook, the Union of European Football Associations -- better known as UEFA -- has been granted the power to block illegal match streams by the UK's highest court. UEFA won't actually be doing any... | 12/26/17
From the NFL travelling more than 1,000 miles for a game to the football team playing in one of Europe's oldest competitions - Christmas Day isn't a day off for everyone. | 12/24/17
"In the beginning, the world was a scary place. Except for one peaceful valley..." StudioCanal, Aardman and The British Film Institute have released another full trailer for Aardman's stop-motion animated movie Early Man, telling the story of how an early cave man and his friend, a wild boar named Hognob, unites his tribe against the mighty Bronze Age in a battle to beat them at their own game. The primary voice cast features Tom Hiddleston, Eddie Redmayne and Maisie Williams. We've already seen the US teaser trailer and a full international trailer previously, but one more can't hurt, especially since this does look very fun. As with the previous trailer, this one has a bunch of soccer/football jokes to appeal to European crowds. Here's the newest UK trailer (+ new quad poster) for Nick Park's Early Man, direct from YouTube: You can still see the first teaser trailer for Aardman's Early Man here, or the full international trailer. Set at the dawn of ...

Each year in December, I sit down and take a moment to reflect on how the .brands space has progressed in the previous 12 months.

Most folks will understand that starting a movement to create the next evolution of the internet with 'digital superbrands' was a little slow at first. Slowly but surely, that has started to change and especially in 2016, it really felt like people were starting to 'get it' — both in terms of brands themselves, and the media and consumers.

Then came 2017. We entered the year with a lot of ambition, and a great sense of optimism.

That optimism was well and truly rewarded and I can honestly say the progress we've seen in 2017 has been amazing, and incredibly exciting in terms of the future.

From full transitions to emerging usage trends, to some brilliant examples of promotional pages and everything in between — there have been so many great moments.

But let's get to it – my top 10 .brand moments of 2017.

* * *

1. Major Amazon Web Services advertising campaign featuring .aws

We're always on the lookout for .brand domains being used 'in the wild', and in October we were excited to see a national US campaign involving out of home and TV advertising by the tech giant Amazon Web Services. Of equal importance was that this is reportedly the first time that Amazon has done major campaign advertising for AWS Cloud solutions, reinforcing the 'build on' catchphrase with the memorable domain

As I wrote in a blog about this campaign, the size and scale of AWS as a brand makes this all the more impressive — and it serves as a true challenge to other .brand applicants to "tackle the challenges of internal engagement and take advantage of the unique branding opportunities offered by .brand domains — or be left behind by those who are."

2. Major League Baseball's SEO expert shared his advice for .brands

We were thrilled earlier this year to have Matt Dorville of Major League Baseball write a guest series on how a vanity URL strategy using .brand domains could mean great things for search ranking. Matt's insights are well worth a read (start with Part 1 here) and as I've mentioned already, redirecting domains have increased significantly throughout the year — so it seems brands are definitely catching on to the potential here.

3. Full transitions

In addition to the ever-increasing use of .brands being used for campaign sites and social media, it's been incredibly encouraging to see that some have taken the plunge and fully transitioned their digital properties to their .brand TLD.

Whilst most have undertaken the transfer to their .brand as part of a web redesign effort, these organizations should be applauded for embracing the future and taking the leap into the next evolution of the internet.

Some examples of companies that have made this shift include The State Bank of India which moved onto .sbi, Spanish brand SENER Engineering and Construction to .sener, and FAGE yogurt to .fage.

4. Australian Football League paves the way for global sporting organizations

With a live attendance of more than 6 million people in 2016 and an average television audience of over 4 million, the Australian Football League (AFL) is Australia's most popular and influential sporting code. In 2017, the AFL launched its historic women's league, a milestone moment for elite sport in Australia, and chose to use its .brand for the league's primary site. Drawing massive media attention around the country, the site joined other important community assets, including the AFL's grassroots engagement program

5. .brands: the future for a connected world – a video

This year we produced a video that really tells the story of .brands and what they could mean for businesses and consumers. Our 'Connected World' video has already had over 400,000 views, and we're super proud of how it looks and the narrative it conveys — you can check out the video below and read a bit more about how it came together in my blog post 'The story of a video.'

6. Use of .brands in social media becomes a go-to

The topic of integrating .brands into social media through branded URL shorteners has dominated our recent content and been the number one topic of conversation with our clients in recent months. The benefits for branding and security, combined with the ease and simplicity of implementation, have really captured the attention of brands who are moving towards usage of this strategy. You can read my previous blog on this topic or some recent pieces from Neustar's Corey Grant on how branded links in social can boost security, as well as 5 reasons you should use your .brand in social media.

7. AXA integrates Blockchain technology with .brand domains

In recent months insurance company AXA launched a new product for travelers called Fizzy and launched via the domain. Not only is it an interesting product offering, but in this case, AXA has integrated its .brand with an additional new technology — as Andrew Allemann of Domain Name Wire reported, "Fizzy is based on the Ethereum blockchain. Insurance purchases are recorded on the blockchain, so they are tamperproof. Payments are automatically made whenever a contract should pay off; in this case if a flight is 2+ hours late." This is a super cool concept, and I predict we'll see more innovation like this among .brands in 2018.

8. FOX uses its .brand to promote Predator strategy

The media and entertainment industries have been a little slower off the mark in terms of .brand usage, but given their incredible brand recognition and audience sizes, even small steps can be really significant. And recently mass media corporation FOX has taken a huge leap, using its .brand to launch a fan application promoting the new Predator movie at This could be fantastic publicity for .brands as a whole and is an excellent, isolated way for FOX to roll out its TLD and start educating users about new possibilities for navigating to FOX content.

9. French transport company promises customers more with its .brand

Only last week, the French National Railway Corporation (Société nationale des chemins de fer français or 'SNCF') has completely moved its existing ticketing portal from the ugly domain over to (or 'yes'.sncf translated to English).

This is a huge deal, as the site is responsible for millions of tickets and billions of dollars in annual revenue.

While promising no disruption to the service it offers consumers, SNCF explained that the new .sncf website would provide "more clarity in choice", "advice and support" and "more ideas and inspiration" to become "your favorite go-to travel companion." After 17 years in operation and with more than 180,000 employees in 120 countries, this is yet another major European organization to go big with its .brand.

10. A few industries rise to the top

This year we launched the Spotlight series to delve deeper into the some of the interesting facets of the .brands space. Through it, we've examined some of the industry sectors that showed high rates of adoption and interesting use cases — including the Banking & Finance industries, Insurance industry, and Automotive sector.

* * *

With all this momentum driving us into 2018, we're looking forward to some great progress in the New Year and wish all of our readers the happiest of holiday seasons.

This article was originally published on MakeWay.World.

Written by Tony Kirsch, Head of Professional Services at Neustar | 12/20/17
Lonzo Ball’s younger brothers gave up any chance of playing college basketball by signing with an agent, and will now try to succeed against the pros in Europe. | 12/12/17
BBC Sport takes a look at who the British clubs could face when the Champions League and the Europa League knockout-round draws take place on Monday. | 12/10/17
FIFA’s chief ethics enforcer failed to disclose a friendship with Colombia’s disgraced former soccer president, according to a report from one of Europe’s ruling councils. | 12/8/17

The eyes of much of the world Friday were on the FIFA World Cup draw held in Moscow, Russia, but those watching Fox Sports’ live broadcast of on the West coast were a little bleary-eyed: the show kicked off at 6:30 a.m. local time.

And with the United States missing out on its first World Cup in more than 30 years, the mood going in was a little different this year. Stars and Stripes fans weren’t gathered at bars across the country waiting to see who they’d take on in the world’s biggest sporting event. Many of them probably wanted to forget the draw was even happening.

Russian President Vladimir Putin presided over the ceremony, which began with a couple bizarre dance numbers that were followed by a group of tuxedo-clad soccer luminaries including Argentina’s Diego Maradona and Brazil’s Cafu picking slips of paper contained in tiny balls from glass jars to determine which teams play in which groups. And in the Fox studio in Los Angeles, former U.S. national team stars Landon Donovan and Alexi Lalas, former Mexican national teamer Mariano Trujillo and hosts Rob Stone and Kate Abdo tried to figure out what it all meant — and immediately started predicting the tournament.

Also Read: Fox Sports Rallies Viewers for Men's World Cup Without US: 'Greatest Sporting Event on Earth'

The U.S.’s absence has to be disappointing for Fox, which will be broadcasting the World Cup for the first time (and plans to put as many matches on the big Fox broadcast channel as possible), but the draw brought the network a few lucky breaks.

One of those came early, as Spain and Portugal — the last two European World Cup champions — were drawn as the top two teams in Group B and will face off in the final game of the tournament’s first Friday.

Mexico, which has a massive fan base in the U.S., landed in the “Group of Death,” along with defending champions Germany, Sweden and South Korea, which caused Trujillo to grimace when the country’s name was plucked from the jar. Even if Mexico manages to advance, El Tri is likely staring down a matchup with Brazil.

Also Read: USA Eliminated From Men's World Cup for First Time Since 1986 and Fans Are Crushed

Hosts Russia found themselves in the opposite situation, ending up in a group with Uruguay and relative minnows Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

“Is this the worst World Cup group ever?” Donovan wondered aloud to those on the set when Saudi Arabia was announced as the fourth team in the group. He doubled down on that sentiment on air, sarcastically wondering how Russia could have managed such an easy draw.

Immediately after the matchups were announced and before the broadcast cut away from Moscow and back to Los Angeles, a team of researchers descended on the stage with copious notes about the teams, their prior meetings and any other pertinent information. For example, while the rivalry between Spain and Portugal needs little explanation, the crew pointed out that fellow Group B member Morocco also has history with Spain. There was also plenty of talk about Group D, which includes Argentina, Croatia, Nigeria and Euro 2016 darlings, Iceland.

Also Read: How Telemundo Is Trying to Score With One of TV's Growing Audiences: Bilingual Soccer Fans

And while the hosts had plenty of information to digest, they had to quickly pivot to projecting the tournament’s knockout round in order to get their individual brackets ready to be shown during the next segment. Nobody picked Germany to repeat and Lalas went with a surprise choice, Belgium, which raised some of eyebrows on stage despite the country’s No. 5 FIFA ranking.

Lalas was proud of his choice, taking a selfie in front of his bracket projected on a wall-sized monitor during the next commercial break and enduring some light ribbing from TheWrap about his bold prediction.

“Keep walking,” Lalas said with a smile.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Fox Sports Rallies Viewers for Men's World Cup Without US: 'Greatest Sporting Event on Earth'

USA Eliminated From Men's World Cup for First Time Since 1986 and Fans Are Crushed

US, Canada and Mexico Submit Joint Bid for 2026 World Cup | 12/2/17
Bibiana Steinhaus, the first woman to referee a soccer match in a top European league, acknowledges her pioneering status but does not embrace it. | 11/4/17
BBC Sport profile four of the stars of England's run to the final of the Under-17 World Cup where they face European champions Spain in Saturday's final in Kolkata, India. | 10/27/17
The European Court of Justice ruled that a group that organizes bridge tournaments in England was not eligible for a sports-related tax exemption. | 10/26/17
Young American soccer players should STEER CLEAR of MLS -- and take their talents to Europe to get World Cup ready ... so says former Team USA star Jermaine Jones.  With Team USA soccer in shambles -- not even qualifying for the World Cup --… | 10/24/17
Europe's upcoming Ariane 6 rocket, though designed to be expendable, could one day sport a reusable engine, according to Patrick Bonguet, head of the Ariane 6 program at ArianeGroup.
Ten years after Milan won the Champions League, the club and its city rival, Inter, are making changes both hope will return Italy to the top of Europe. | 10/13/17
The Qatari president of one of Europe's most glamorous soccer clubs, Paris Saint-Germain, is under investigation by Swiss prosecutors for suspected bribery of a top FIFA executive to get World Cup broadcasting rights. | 10/12/17


The little country at the edge of the Iberian Peninsula, long under the radar, received a big profile bump last month when Madonna revealed she’d be moving to Lisbon so her son David Banda, 11, could attend the prestigious Benfica soccer academy. The Queen of Pop has reportedly picked up an 18th-century Moorish-style mansion for $8.9 million in the picturesque suburb of Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage site, that was long a summer destination for Portuguese royals.

RELATED: The Best Places to Travel in October, Whether You Want to Peep Leaves or Track Elephants

But Madonna‘s not exactly roughing it while the historic restate is being restored — she’s reportedly staying in a suite at Lisbon’s Pestana Palace hotel.

The Queen of Pop isn’t the only star to purchase property in Portugal. Other noteworthy residents include Christian Louboutin and Michael Fassbender, who purchased a home in the historic Alfama district in May.

Native Cristiano Ronaldo is embracing the influx of A-listers: The second outpost of the soccer star’s hotel CR7 (his initials and jersey number) opened last year. The first was in his hometown of Funchal on the island of Madeira, a Portuguese territory off the coast of Morocco.

WATCH: Take a Virtual Vacation to the Magical Portuguese City of Óbidos with Travel + Leisure 

Portugal has beautiful coastline in the southern Algarve region, which lures sun seeking English celebs to hotels like Vila Vita Parc. In the north, is the culture capital of Porto and the Duoro Valley (the birth place of Port Wine. Stars looking for a one-of-a-kind stay, should check into Pedras Salgadas Spa and Nature Park, where they can relax in a futuristic treehouse between treatments.


Budget-conscious travelers should take note, too. More affordable than many other European destinations, Portugal has plenty to offer for a reasonable price: In Lisbon, book a stay at the stylish B&B Casa Amora (from $100/night) and ride the city’s famous yellow streetcar — route 28 stops at major tourist spots, and a day pass costs $7.25.

RELATED: This Is the Best Week to Buy Your Plane Tickets for Holiday Travel

In Porto, discover the country’s famous blue-and-white tiles, called Azulejos, for free at Porto Cathedral and take in a show or just ogle the architecture at Rem Koolhaas’s ultra-modern Casa da Música.

Whatever you do, don’t leave Portugal without trying its signature egg tart. Pasteis de Belem in Lisbon is a famous purveyor, where the treats cost $1.30 each. | 10/6/17
Credit ratings agency DBRS thinks soccer clubs in Europe will find it increasingly attractive to raise capital in equity and debt markets as a result of their "more sophisticated" business models. | 10/5/17
Many scouts believe his durability will be the only thing separating Kristaps Porzingis from greatness. So far the jury is out in that department. Porzingis, who played a lot of basketball during the European championships this summer, left the third day of Knicks practice with a sore right knee. He was not made available to... | 9/28/17
Kristaps Porzingis has told confidants his goal is to win a gold medal for Latvia at the European Championships. As he flies back to New York this weekend for his third Knicks training camp after falling short of that goal eight days ago in the tournament’s quarterfinals, Porzingis sounds like a player on a basketball... | 9/21/17
Sunday night's thrilling European Basketball Championship finish, dubbed 'The Balkan finals', could probably tell Brussels just as much about the complexities of the Balkans as any commissioned study or research. | 9/18/17
The head of European soccer's governing body and Jordan's Prince Ali have inaugurated a full-size soccer pitch in Jordan's largest camp for Syrian refugees. | 9/12/17

(Note: This post contains some light spoilers from the story of “Destiny 2”.)

If there’s one good thing to come out of the fall of the Last City at the start of “Destiny 2,” it’s that you get to hang out in the game’s new social area, an extremely peaceful farm.

After everyone flees the City when it’s attacked by the evil Red Legion, you can no longer return to the Tower, the place where players congregate between missions in the original “Destiny.” The replacement is a small refugee camp built in an overgrown farm in Earth’s European Dead Zone.

Also Read: 'Destiny 2': What Do the Ending and Post-Credits Scene Mean?

The Farm is pretty different from the Tower aesthetically, but it’s functionally the same place that players hung out in during their previous stays in “Destiny.” You can visit shops and buy new gear, turn in missions for rewards, and meet up with new players. The farm has a couple of other interesting additions: There’s a soccer field at one end where you can play impromptu matches with other players; and since it’s a farm, it has chickens.

But at the end of the “Destiny 2” story campaign, the Tower is rebuilt and you’re able to return there. All the important characters, like the Vanguard leaders and the major shops, are back at the Tower. And the farm’s spot on the map is replaced by the Tower as well, suggesting you can’t return.

There’s good news, though — you can return to the Farm and hang out with chickens. There’s just not a lot to do there.

Also Read: Everything That's Happened in the 'Destiny' Story, Through 'Destiny 2' (Photos)

Since the Tower is rebuilt and most of the important characters return to it, the farm is pretty empty. There’s only a Postmaster, so you can receive mail, the vaults where you can drop off and pick up your stored items, and a Cryptarch, who can decode engrams you find in the game to turn them into weapons and armor. The soccer field is still there and so are the chickens, but none of the other important people, like the Vanguard, Lord Shaxx, or the Gunsmith remain.

Still, the Farm is a nice place to hang out between missions when you haven’t got much to do. There also are bits of story secreted around the place if you’re willing to search for items that your Ghost can scan, so it’s not a total waste of time to wander around in the little slice of rustic paradise.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Everything That's Happened in the 'Destiny' Story, Through 'Destiny 2' (Photos)

14 Times Video Games Continued the Stories of Movies (Photos)

The 30 Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked (Photos)

'Destiny 2': What Do the Ending and Post-Credits Scene Mean? | 9/8/17
Fullback Fabio Coentrao was recalled by Portugal after an absence of nearly two years as the European champions named their squad on Thursday for their next two World Cup qualifiers. | 8/24/17
A cage fighter is accused of killing a champion weightlifter after they got into a street fight over whose sport is better. A sickening video shows world and European powerlifting champion Andrey Drachev, 32, brawling shirtless in the road with a shorter man. The man throwing the punches and kicks was identified as 25-year-old Anar Ziranov,... | 8/22/17
ATHENS, Greece — Greece’s basketball federation has accused the Milwaukee Bucks and the NBA of hatching a plan to prevent All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo from playing in the European championship. The NBA denied the allegation. The saga started Saturday about an hour after Antetokounmpo posted on Facebook and Instagram that he was unavailable because of... | 8/21/17
Turner’s new sports streaming service, to launch in 2018, will broadcast the majority of the games in two of Europe’s top club soccer competitions. | 8/17/17
Reuters sports schedule at 0600 GMT on Tuesday: SOCCER Champions League playoffs (1845 unless stated) Qarabag FK v FC Copenhagen (1600) APOEL Nicosia v Slavia Prague Hoffenheim v Liverpool Sporting v Steau Bucharest Young Boys v CSKA Moscow Liverpool face Hoffenheim without Coutinho BERN - Five-times European champions Liverpool visit Bundesliga side Hoffenheim without their injured Barcelona target Philippe Coutinho in one of five Champions League first-leg playoff ties. | 8/15/17

TEHRAN — Two soccer players have been barred for life from Iran’s national team after they appeared in a match against players from Israel, prompting anger among the sport’s many fans in the Islamic Republic.

Masoud Shojaei and Ehsan Haji Safi played last week in a European league match for the Greek team Panionios against Maccabi Tel Aviv, an Israeli club. That appeared to violate a long-standing rule prohibiting Iranian athletes from competing against opponents from Israel, a nation that the Iranian government doesn’t recognize.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Despite being the reigning U.S. Open winner, Brooks Koepka knows he’s somewhat forgotten when people mention the top young players in the sport. “It doesn’t bother me,’’ he said. “I don’t know if it has to do with the route [he played in Europe when he was younger] or whatever. I just... | 8/10/17


A five-time Grand Slam winner and 2012 Olympic silver medalist, Maria Sharapova was poised for success at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio when her dreams of gold disappeared.

In early 2016 she tested positive for meldonium (also called Mildronate), a supplement she’d taken for years that had just been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned substances list, and the tennis pro was suspended from her sport for 15 months.

“It’s probably the toughest thing an athlete can go through,” Sharapova, 30, says in the current issue of PEOPLE.

There are still some who think she used meldonium to enhance her performance. (The drug is sold over the counter in Russia and Eastern Europe as a treatment for heart ailments but was unceremoniously added to the banned list in early 2016 because it may aid oxygen uptake and endurance.)

But in her memoir, Unstoppable, Sharapova maintains the drug was prescribed by a doctor and she would have stopped taking it if she’d been properly notified of the ban rather than becoming one of 60 people to test positive for the drug in the year after it was added to the banned list.

To read exclusive excerpts from Sharapova’s memoir, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE — on newsstands Friday

But Sharapova is back: On July 31 she won her first U.S. tournament in almost two years.

“Winning is a nice stamp of approval but I really just enjoyed the process of being back at a tournament,” she says. “I gained a new appreciation for the routines before the match and after — the small things that are usually automatic without any thought.”

Her comeback hasn’t been completely smooth (she’s been sidelined by an arm injury after her recent win) but the Russian-born athlete is used to rising above adversity.

In Unstoppable, which is out Sept. 12, Maria holds nothing back as she shares her immigration story and hard path to stardom.

“It was difficult, but putting words to paper really helped me through some hard moments,” she says. “Though, I don’t know a lot of strong people who have had an easy past.” | 8/9/17
Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho said their pursuit of Gareth Bale was "game over" after the Wales forward started in Real Madrid's 2-1 European Super Cup win on Tuesday. | 8/9/17
Ghana attacker David Accam says he has received so many offers from clubs in the Major League Soccer as well as in Europe. | 8/6/17
World football players' union FIFPro is lobbying the European Union to ban transfer fees, which it says concentrates power in the hands of a few mega-rich clubs, to the detriment of most players and to the sport itself. | 8/4/17
Liam McIntyre , Oscar nominee Harvey Keitel and newcomer Jenia Tanaeva will topline the romantic drama See You Soon . First-time feature director David Mahmoudieh is going off of a script from Tanaeva and Mike Cestari with revisions by Joe Ballarini. Poppy Drayton, Oleg Taktarov, Spanish soccer legend Carles Puyol and Larissa Malevannaya also co-star in the pic, which is filming in Europe. The film centers on a soccer star who, after suffering a career-threatening injury in… | 7/31/17
BBC Sport's Simon Stone looks at the money-spinning success of global pre-season tournament the International Champions Trophy. | 7/28/17
Ricardo Rodriguez scored on his debut to give AC Milan a 1-0 win away to Romanian side Universitatea Craiova as they returned to European club competition after a three-season absence on Thursday. | 7/27/17
Suspended Spanish football federation boss Angel Maria Villar has resigned as vice-president and an executive committee member of UEFA, European soccer's governing body said on Thursday. | 7/27/17
The research by "FIX the FIXING", a project co-funded by the European Union's Erasmus project at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, surveyed more than 600 athletes about whether they had experienced manipulation of results in their sports. | 7/25/17
Manchester United defender Eric Bailly has been banned for three European matches for violent conduct and will miss next month's UEFA Super Cup clash against Real Madrid, European soccer's governing body said on Monday. | 7/24/17
Canada goalkeeper Milan Borjan joined former European Cup winners Red Star Belgrade from Bulgarian champions Ludogorets Razgrad on a three-year contract on Monday. | 7/24/17
Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti believes new loan signing James Rodriguez will play a key role in the engine room of the German champions as they seek to export their domestic dominance to the rest of Europe. | 7/24/17
Although Latvian journalists were instructed not to query Kristaps Porzingis about the Knicks travails during training camp for the European Championships, a kid camper had no such restrictions. Last weekend at a basketball camp in Latvia attended by about 250 children, one youngster asked Porzingis in his native tongue why he wouldn’t abandon New York,... | 7/22/17
Wales' Jake Heyward wins Great Britain's first gold of the European Junior Athletics Championships in the men's 1500m. | 7/22/17
With Women's Euro 2017 starting on Sunday, BBC Sport takes a closer look at the health of the women's game across Europe. | 7/14/17
Spain under-21 midfielder Dani Ceballos has signed a six-year contract to join Real Madrid from Real Betis, the European champions said on Friday. | 7/14/17
Both Los Angeles-based Major League Soccer clubs are interested in signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic if he decides to end his career outside Europe. | 7/14/17
The long awaited Gran Turismo Sport finally has a launch date -- October 17th for North America and the 18th for Europe. Originally slated for launch in November of last year, the game's release was delayed last August so as not to sacrifice quality... | 7/13/17
As Europe's top clubs flex their financial muscle in the transfer window, BBC Sport asks who is worth what this summer? | 7/12/17

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 Great Britain. The most common sport in Europe is Association 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. The most popular and successful football leagues are the Spanish La Liga, the English Premier League, the Italian Serie A, the French Ligue 1, German Bundesliga. Rugby union is popular in southern France, parts of Great Britain, Ireland and northern Italy, with rugby league enjoying popularity in Great Britain, France and Russia and although the game is played is played in Germany, Italy, Greece and Malta it is not at a professional level. Cricket is a popular summer sport in the United Kingdom and has been exported to other parts of the former British Empire. Cricket has its origins in south east Britain. It's popular throughout England and Wales, and parts of the Netherlands. It is also popular in other areas and also played in northwest Europe. It is however very popular worldwide, especially in southern Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Indian subcontinent. Other team sports like basketball, handball, volleyball, Ice hockey, waterpolo and 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 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 Gaelic games in Ireland, bandy in Russia and Scandinavia, or bullfighting in Spain. Motorsports 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. Some sport competitions features a European team gathering athletes from different European countries. These teams uses the European flag as an emblem. The most famous of these competitions is the Ryder Cup in golf.

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