The Europa Cup, with the support of PHILIP MORRIS, was held for the first time in 1979. It was conceived as a competition between the national club champions of all EBL member countries. Countries were placed in regional qualifying heats, from which the winners went on to the European final. The event suffered because many countries that do not hold inter-club competitions simply sent their national teams instead. This created an uneven playing field and defeated the purpose of the event, which was ultimately discontinued after 1988.
The concept was revived, in a different format, with the introduction of the European Champions' Cup in 2002.