From 3nil, By Association is a narrative podcast about football and the connection we all share with the beautiful game. Find out more about the project by visiting their website here, or following By Association on Instagram and Twitter. Produced by James Parkinson.
In 1992 the European Cup was rebranded as the UEFA Champions League. Along with changes to the competition’s format, including the introduction of a group stage, UEFA called for a complete design overhaul and commissioned the marketing company, TEAM (Television Event And Media) to carry out the rebrand. It was the process that gave us the distinctive “star ball” logo – and the now iconic Champions League anthem.
Tony Britten, a composer and filmmaker was given the task of producing a piece of music worthy of Europe’s most prestigious football competition. UEFA were intent on a classical piece, taking inspiration from George Frederic Handel’s Coronation Anthem, Zadok the Priest.
Britten used the first few bars of Handel’s rising string phrase, adapting them into a full three-minute orchestral composition, performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Next came the lyrics, which were sung by the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Britten employed a linguist to translate numerous superlatives into English, French and German – the three official languages of UEFA.
Since its introduction, the anthem has become synonymous with the competition and is now loved all over the world by fans and players alike.