When we discuss great comebacks in the history of this competition, It is more correct to say a particular game represented the greatest comeback in Champions League history, or the greatest comeback in Champions' League history?

Specifically, after Barcelona stunned Paris Saint-Germain, when we ask if that feat equalled the Liverpool comeback against AC Milan in Istanbul, were these teams competing in a Champions' League or a Champions League?

In other words, would it be alright to say Barcelona staged a comeback, that in terms of the Champions' League, is probably second only to what Liverpool achieved in the Miracle of Istanbul ?

Given that this is a league where more than one champion side competes, if it is their league, should we use the possessive form Champions' League in the nomenclature for such a competition? In support of this line of reasoning, consider that the evolution of the name itself has two roots, one that seems grammatically more correct and the other more colloquial. Ref: UEFA Champions League. So, if the original was correctly called "European Champion Clubs' Cup", did the creators of the current incarnation take the easy route and favour the dumbed down over a name that might be confusing to the uninitiated supporter, or perhaps more importantly, sponsor?

Thank you to the contributors who have pointed out the official name of the competition. I was not questioning the point that this is in fact the current name. Rather, I was musing on whether this was the best or most correct name that should have been chosen circa 1992, given the 1955 potential precedent.

OP aside:- This question was "put on hold as unclear what you're asking".
So in response I have attempted to distill the headline to the nub of my question and to add further germane reference pointers. Please remove the hold, if you feel I have addressed that concern.


3 Answers 3


I think it is correct to use the "official" name regardless if we like its punctation, i.e. no apostrophe as in:


UEFA's website uses the following style consistently:

UEFA Champions League latest results

So, I think the apostrophe question here is the same (eternal) one as:

Where should the apostrophe be placed in "Goats Milk"?

  • 2
    You might want to find an example of Champions League not wholly in capitals, as some might use a 'fully capitalised variants are allowed to drop apostrophes, unlike other variants' rule. Though questions asking whether authorities are using apostrophes correctly have been covered on ELU more than the one allowable time. Here, if the authority perversely chooses C'ham'pio'ns Lea'gue, they're still correct. Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 11:36
  • 1
    @EdwinAshworth Good point. Added some non-uppercase text from their website.
    – k1eran
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 11:42

The Champions League is a league comprising of several teams. Each team are champions in their own countries. (Actually membership criteria are no longer quite that strict but that is the original meaning.)

A list comprising of several guests is called a guest list. A guest's list would be a list that belonged to, or pertained to a guest; and a guests' list would belong, or pertain, to several guests. A guest list does not belong to or pertain to a guest, it comprises of guests.

Similarly we might have a book list or an address list.

A league may be considered as comprising of teams, rather than belonging to teams. So considered, a league is like a list.

If each participant in the league was a single individual champion we might call it a champion league, a league comprising of champions. However, each participant is a team, each team individually consists of champions, so it is not a champion league, it is a champions league.

Therefore I think there is nothing grammatically wrong with "Champions League"

Champions' League is also possible grammatically meaning that the league belongs to, or pertains to, teams of champions. This is similar to a boys' league being for boys.

As both "Champions League" and "Champions' League" are possible grammatically there is no reason to say that that organisation is misnamed.


The correct way is to say

Champions League's History

This is because the official title of the League is Champions League, and the comeback happened in the league's history.

So you can say

Barcelona staged probably the second greatest comeback in the Champions League's history

  • No it would not.The name of the competition should be considered as a proper noun and so should be treated as a whole. The point whether champions compete in it or not is invalid! Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 10:27
  • FYI @Suyash Thite, deleted my comment because it had typos, but there was no option to edit it.
    – MikeRoger
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 10:50
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    "Champions League" can equally be used as an attributive, and the unapostrophised version (eg "Champions League history") seems far more common if one performs a quick Google search. Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 11:55

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