UEFA Europa Conference League

Last updated

UEFA Europa Conference League
UEFA Europa Conference League.svg
Founded2021
Region Europe (UEFA)
Number of teams32 (group stage) [lower-alpha 1]
184 (total)
Qualifier for UEFA Europa League
Related competitions UEFA Champions League (1st tier)
UEFA Europa League (2nd tier)
Television broadcasters List of broadcasters
Website Official website
Soccerball current event.svg 2021–22 Europa Conference League qualifying phase and play-off round

The UEFA Europa Conference League (abbreviated as UECL), colloquially referred to as the UEFA Conference League, is an annual football club competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) for eligible European football clubs. [1] Clubs qualify for the competition based on their performance in their national leagues and cup competitions. It is the third tier of European club football, after the Champions League and the Europa League.

Contents

Introduced for the 2021–22 season, the league serves as the bottom level of the existing UEFA Europa League competition, which was reduced from 48 to 32 teams in the group stage. The competition will primarily be contested by teams from lower-ranked UEFA member associations. [1] No teams qualify directly to the group stage, with 10 teams eliminated in the Europa League play-offs and the rest coming from the Europa Conference League qualifiers. The winners of the competition are awarded a position in the Europa League the following season, unless they qualify for the Champions League. [2]

History

UEFA had reportedly considered adding a third-tier competition since at least 2015, believing that a bottom-level tournament could act as a means of giving clubs from lower-ranked UEFA member countries a chance of progressing beyond their customary elimination from the Champions League and Europa League. [3] In mid-2018, talk of an announcement intensified, with news sources claiming an agreement had already been reached for the competition to be launched and that the 48-team Europa League group stage would be split in two, with the lower half forming the nucleus of what would be the new event. [4]

On 2 December 2018, UEFA announced that the competition – provisionally known as "Europa League 2" or just "UEL2" – was to be launched as part of the 2021–24 three-year competition cycle, with UEFA adding that the new tournament would bring "more matches for more clubs and more associations". [2]

The official name of the competition, "UEFA Europa Conference League", was announced on 24 September 2019. [5]

On 24 May 2021, UEFA revealed the competition's trophy and brand identity. The first ever goal in the Europa Conference League qualifiers was scored on 6 July 2021 by Mosta F.C. player Evo Ememe Christ in a qualifying round match vs. FC Spartak Trnava. [6]

Format

Qualification

Similar to the UEFA Champions League, qualification to the Europa Conference League will be split into two Paths – the Champions Path and the League Path. Unlike the Champions League, however, the Champions Path will only be contested by teams which lost the qualification for the Champions League group stage and consequently have been relegated directly into the UEFA Europa Conference League.

The association ranking based on the UEFA country coefficients is used to determine the number of participating teams in the league path for each association: [7]

Based on this reorganisation, no association will benefit from more berths to continental football than they had before the 2021–24 competition cycle, with the tournament essentially being the lower orders of the existing Europa League tournament but split off into a secondary tournament.

Group stage and knockout phase

The format will see eight groups of four teams, followed by the round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final. An additional preliminary knockout round will be played before the round of 16 between teams ranked second in their groups and the third-ranked teams of the UEFA Europa League groups. The new competition will feature 141 matches over 15 match weeks. [2] 56 teams will take part.

The winner of the new competition will be entitled to participate in the UEFA Europa League in the following season. The new competition matches will be played on Thursdays. [2]

Distribution (from 2021–22 to 2023–24)

All qualification berths are based on UEFA's default assumption that each association will submit one domestic cup winner as its highest-ranked qualifier after those eligible to enter the Champions League, and will define its remaining entrants by their league position in the previous year. England allocates its lowest-ranked qualification place to the winners of the EFL Cup or, if it already qualified to Champions League or Europa League, to the sixth or seventh placed in Premier League.

Teams entering in this roundTeams advancing from previous roundTeams transferred from Champions LeagueTeams transferred from Europa League
First qualifying round
(72 teams)
  • 26 domestic cup winners from associations 30–55
  • 25 domestic league runners-up from associations 30–55 (except Liechtenstein)
  • 21 domestic league third-placed teams from associations 29–50 (except Liechtenstein)
Second qualifying roundChampions
(20 teams)
  • 17 teams eliminated from Champions League first qualifying round
  • 3 teams eliminated from Champions League preliminary round
Non-champions
(90 teams)
  • 14 domestic cup winners from associations 16–29
  • 14 domestic league runners-up from associations 16–29
  • 16 domestic league third-placed teams from associations 13–28
  • 9 domestic league fourth-placed teams from associations 7–15
  • 1 domestic league fifth-placed team from association 6
  • 36 winners from the first qualifying round
Third qualifying roundChampions
(10 teams)
  • 10 winners from the second qualifying round for champions
Non-champions
(52 teams)
  • 6 domestic league third-placed teams from associations 7–12
  • 1 domestic league fourth-placed team from association 6
  • 45 winners from the second qualifying round for non-champions
Play-off roundChampions
(10 teams)
  • 5 winners from the third qualifying round for champions
  • 5 teams eliminated from Europa League third qualifying round for champions
Non-champions
(34 teams)
  • 1 domestic league fifth-placed team from association 5
  • 4 domestic league sixth-placed teams from associations 1–4 (EFL Cup winners for England)
  • 26 winners from the third qualifying round for non-champions
  • 3 teams eliminated from Europa League third qualifying round for non-champions
Group stage
(32 teams)
  • 5 winners from the play-off round for champions
  • 17 winners from the play-off round for non-champions
  • 10 teams eliminated from Europa League play-off round
Preliminary knockout round
(16 teams)
  • 8 group runners-up from the group stage
  • 8 group third-placed teams from Europa League group stage
Knockout phase
(16 teams)
  • 8 group winners from the group stage
  • 8 winners from the preliminary knockout round

Prize money

Similar to the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, the prize money received by the clubs is divided into fixed payments based on participation and results, and variable amounts that depend on the value of their TV market. [8]

For the 2021–22 season, group stage participation in the Europa Conference League awarded a base fee of €2,940,000. A victory in the group pays €500,000 and a draw €166,000. Also, each group winner earns €650,000 and each runner-up €325,000. Reaching the knock-out stage triggers additional bonuses: €300,000 for the round of 32, €600,000 for the round of 16, €1,000,000 for the quarter-finals and €2,000,000 for the semi-finals. The losing finalists receive €3,000,000 and the champions receive €5,000,000. [9]

Also, each domestic champion not qualifying for the Group Stages of any final tournament will receive an additional €260,000.

See also

Notes

  1. The second-placed teams in each group advance to the preliminary knockout round, where they are joined by the eight third-placed teams in the Europa League group stage.

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References

  1. 1 2 "'Europa League 2': Uefa confirms new tournament from 2021". BBC Sport. 2 December 2018. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "UEFA Executive Committee approves new club competition". UEFA.com (Press release). Union of European Football Associations. 2 December 2018. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  3. "Uefa ponders third competition beneath Champions League and Europa League". The Guardian . Associated Press. 16 September 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  4. "Uefa set to introduce third European club competition from 2021–22". The Guardian. PA Media. 11 September 2018. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  5. "Format change for 2020/21 UEFA Nations League". UEFA.com (Press release). Union of European Football Associations. 24 September 2019.
  6. "Mosta vs Spartak Trnava - stats, H2H, lineups". FotMob. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  7. "UEL2 Access List 2021–24" (PDF). UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 2 December 2018. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  8. uefadirect 7/09 p.7
  9. "Distribution to clubs from the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League and the 2021 UEFA Super Cup Payments for the qualifying phases Solidarity payments for non-participating clubs" (PDF). UEFA.com (Press release). Union of European Football Associations. 20 May 2021. Retrieved 20 June 2021.