Everything You Need to know about UEFA Europa Conference League

What is UEFA Europa Conference League?

The UEFA Europa Conference League (UECL) is the third season-long UEFA men’s football club competition at the club level. The first and second are The Champions League and the Europa League. After more than 20 years, another UFEA Club competition will be starting this year. The UECL will be running alongside the Champions League and Europa League. They will not hamper the domestic leagues of the countries. The UECL will start from this season and there will be a lot of teams participating. One of the main reasons to start this league is to give more clubs experience and also the taste of European football, especially from the part of the countries where clubs struggle to qualify for the Champions League or the Europa League.

You will find out everything you need to know about this new league here.  

Which teams will qualify for this competition?

The UFEA wants to give exposure to more domestic clubs. There will be 32 teams. The format is the same as the Champions League. 8 groups, 4 teams in each group. No team will directly qualify for this league. There will be three types of qualifying rounds and a play-off round which is split into the main path, and the path of a champion for those transferring from the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League champions path.

The main path – This is the path where the domestic cup winners of different countries will be selected. If the domestic cup winner is qualified for any of the other two UEFA competitions (CL or UEL), the seventh-place team in the league is qualified for the knockout round. In this path, there will be a domestic cup winner or the  7th place team in the league. In the end, 17 teams will qualify from this path

There is also an important note. If the domestic cup winner is already qualified for the UCL or UEL, and the 7th place team wins any other UEFA competition, there will be no club from that country. For example :

In La Liga, the domestic cup is won by Barcelona who is already qualified for the Champions League next year. Currently, Villarreal is 7th and they are in the Europa League finals. If Villarreal wins the Europa League and finishes 7th in La Liga, they will automatically qualify for the Champions League, and because of that Spain will have no representative in the UEFA Europa Conference League.

Champions  League path – The teams who do not qualify in the Champions League qualification round will then compete for the UECl. 5 teams will be from this path

Europa League path – The teams who won’t qualify for the Europa League will then try for a place in the new competition. In the end, 10 teams will qualify for the competition. This totals up to the 32 teams for the UECL.

Format of the competition

The format of the competition is the same as the Champions League. There are some differences though.

The format is 8 groups, 4 teams each. Each team will play 6 matches each. Then it will be knock-out round play-offs, a round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals, and then in the last, finals.

The 8 teams who will be the group winners will directly qualify for the round of 16. 

The rest of the 8 teams who will come in second place at the table of the UEFA Europa Conference League will be having a knockout round. The knockout round will be against the teams who finished third place in the UFEA Euroa league.

After the knockout round, the format will be the same as the rest of the competition. This format will be played till 2024. 

Everything You Need to know about UEFA Europa Conference League

When will the competition start?

The qualification of the minor teams will start on 15 June 2021. They have to play two rounds of knockout. Teams from the top leagues will only have to play one qualifying round which will start in August. Here are the official dates which are given by the UEFA.

  • First qualifying round draw: 15 June 2021
  • Second qualifying round draw: 16 June 2021
  • First qualifying round: 8 & 15 July 2021
  • Third qualifying round draw: 19 July 2021
  • Second qualifying round: 22 & 29 July 2021
  • Play-off round draw: 2 August 2021
  • Third qualifying round: 5 & 12 August 2021
  • Play-offs: 19 & 26 August 2021
  • Group stage draw: 27 August 2021
  • Group stage Match 1: 16 September 2021
  • Group stage Match 2: 30 September 2021
  • Group stage Match 3: 21 October 2021
  • Group stage Match 4: 4 November 2021
  • Group stage Match 5: 25 November 2021
  • Group stage Match 6: 9 December 2021
  • Knockout round play-off draw: 13 December 2021
  • Knockout round play-offs: 17 & 24 February 2022
  • Round of 16 draw: 25 February 2022
  • Round of 16: 10 & 17 March 2022
  • Quarter-finals & Semi-final draw: 18 March 2022
  • Quarter-finals: 7 & 14 April 2022
  • Semi-finals: 28 April & 5 May 2022
  • Final: 25 May (National Arena, Tirana) 2022

Everything You Need to know about UEFA Europa Conference League

Some key facts about the UEFA Europa Conference League

  • The winner of this competition will automatically qualify for the UEFA Europa League next season if they have not qualified for the Champions League in their domestic league.
  • The matches will be played on Thursdays which is the same day as the Europa League matches.
  • The time of the matches will be 18:45 CET and 21:00 CET.
  • The league will impact the Europa league. The Europa League will be reduced from 48 teams to 32 teams. The Champions League will have no impact.
  • National Arena (Arena Kombëtare) will stage the first final on 25 May 2022
  • Throughout the competition, 184 teams will be involved.
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