6 forgotten football tournaments – from Le Tournoi to iconic Intertoto Cup

Since the FA Cup was launched 150 years ago, it's fair to say the game's had some interesting formats since.

With the exception of the new Europa Conference League, the current football calendar is made up of long-running tournaments and competitions.

However, there are a number of tournaments that have ceased to exist and are no longer played, ranging from short-lived cups to competitions lasting over a quarter of a century.

Including the Anglo-Italian Cup and the Mitropa Cup, here is a selection of six of football's forgotten tournaments from the past.

Le Tournoi

While some tournaments on this list lasted for a considerable period of time, Le Tournoi was an exception to those as it existed for just one edition.

A pre-cursor for the remodelled version of the also now defunct Confederations Cup, Le Tournoi was a warm-up tournament played a year ahead of the 1998 France World Cup.

The four-team tournament was made up of France, Brazil, Italy and England, with the teams all playing each other once with the group winner lifting the trophy.

The tournament is best remembered for Roberto Carlos' famous outside of the boot free-kick in the opening match but it may also be known for England lifting the trophy thanks to wins over Italy and France.

Intertoto Cup

Originally known as the International Football Cup, the Intertoto Cup had a bizarre format in that multiple teams would win it each year.

From 1967 to 1995, seven to 14 different teams could win it and claim the cash prize reward, two to 11 winners would enter the UEFA Cup from 1995 onwards.

This came following UEFA's takeover of the competition but it was merged with the UEFA Cup in 2008, with the sides who would have qualified for the Intertoto Cup entering UEFA Cup qualifying instead.

The most successful side in the competition's history was Stuttgart with three wins while English winners included Newcastle United in 2006 and West Ham United in 1999.

Anglo-Italian Cup

With its roots starting in the 1960s, the Anglo-Italian Cup in its most well-known format was first contested in 1970 and made up of six English and six Italian clubs split into three groups of four.

The two sides who accumulated the most points in the group stage would then face each other in a one-legged final.

The tournament originally ran from 1970 to to 1986 with periods as a professional and a semi-professional tournament before it was relaunched for four years in the 1990s.

Across the 21 editions of the competition, Italian sides won 15 to England's six, with Modena's two titles making them the most successful participants.

Cup Winners' Cup

As the name suggests, the Cup Winners' Cup was competed in by the champions of each UEFA member's domestic cup competition up until it was abolished in 1999.

Unlike modern UEFA competitions, the Cup Winners' Cup was a straight knockout from start to finish, concluding with a final at the end of each season.

The most successful team in its history was Barcelona with four titles, but the likes of Anderlecht, AC Milan, Dynamo Kiev and Chelsea all won it more than once.

Ultimately, the competition faded into irrelevance after the launch of the Champions League, as it allowed multiple entries from a single nation, often taking teams who would previously have played in the Cup Winners' Cup.

Mitropa Cup

Known by some as Central European Cup, the Mitropa Cup was founded in 1927 and was originally played out by clubs in regions formerly a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

It later expanded to all central European nations, meaning some of Europe's biggest clubs competed in the annual four-team tournament.

Having been launched almost 30 years before the European Cup, its winners could argue that they were European champions having lifted the trophy.

Only five different nations had clubs win the Mitropa Cup, with Hungary's Vasas the most successful side with six wins.

Watney Cup

The shortest-lived tournament on this list, the Watney Cup was only competed for between 1970 and 1973, with a bizarre format designed to increase excitement.

Played prior to the start of each season, the cup was made up of the two highest-scoring sides from each of England's top four divisions from the season before.

In addition, the 1971, 1972 and 1973 tournaments only implemented the offside rule inside the area to further create more goal-scoring opportunities.

Despite this, the 1972 final between Bristol Rovers and Sheffield United finished 0-0 and the tournament was ultimately disbanded a year later.

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