For the first time in more than twenty years, in 2021/22 there is a third European men’s club competition to be played over time. If you want to know everything about the UEFA Europa Conference League, you’ve come to the right page.
Who are the entrants in the UEFA Europa Conference League?
Some 184 teams play in the competition over the whole season, with at least one from each of UEFA’s 55 member associations and 46 from the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League.
Prior to a group stage, three qualifying rounds have been scheduled as well as play-offs (separate main path, and champions path for clubs transferred from the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League champions path) . The entry list explains which teams (including some domestic cup winners) from which associations qualified, for which rounds and how clubs could progress between competitions.
No team was directly qualified for the 32-team group stage which is made up as follows:
• 17 teams from the UEFA Europa Conference League main path
• 5 teams from the UEFA Europa Conference League Champions Path*
• 10 teams eliminated in the UEFA Europa League play-offs**
RMA : Alashkert**
TUE : LASK
AZE : Qarabag
CYP : Omonoia**
BEAUTIFUL : The Ghent
BUL : CSKA-Sofia
CYP : Anorthosis Famagusta
CZE : Jablonec, Slavia Prague**
DEN : Copenhagen, Randers**
FR : Tottenham
IS : Flora Tallinn*
END : HJK Helsinki**
ENG : Reindeer
GER : Union Berlin
GIB : Lincoln Red Imps*
SRI : Maccabi Haifa*, Maccabi Tel Aviv
ITA : Rome
KAZ : Kairat Almaty*
NED : AZ Alkmaar**, Feyenoord, Speed
NOR : Bodø/Glimt*
ROU : CFR Cluj**
SRB : Partizan
SU : Basel
SVK : Slovan Bratislava**
SVN : Mura**
UKR : Zorya Luhansk**
Format of the competition
There is a group stage (eight groups of four) before a knockout stage (round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final).
The eight group winners qualify for the round of 16. A play-off is played between the eight runners-up and the teams that finish third in their UEFA Europa League group.
First final: Tirana
Tirana was named as the host city for the competition’s first-ever final at the UEFA Executive Committee meeting on 3 December 2020. The match, which will be played in the Albanian capital’s brand new National Stadium, will take place May 25, 2022.
UEFA Europa Conference League matches are played on Thursdays alongside those of the UEFA Europa League (although the final will be played a week after the UEFA Europa League final, in Seville on 18 May 2022). The kick-offs of the two competitions take place in principle in equal parts at 6.45 p.m. (and more at 6.55 p.m.) and 9 p.m.
First qualifying round draw: June 15
Second qualifying round draw: June 16
First qualifying round: 8 and 15 July
Third qualifying round draw: July 19
Second qualifying round: 22 and 29 July
Play-off draw: August 2
Third qualifying round: August 5 and 12
Play-offs: August 19 and 26
Group stage draw: August 27
Groups: September 16 and 30, October 21, November 4 and 25 and December 9
Knockout stage play-off draw: December 13
Play-offs for the knockout stage: February 17 and 24
Round of 16 draw: February 25
Round of 16: March 10 and 17
Quarter and semi-final draw: March 18
Quarter-finals: April 7 and 14
Semi-finals: April 28 and May 5
Final: May 25 (National Arena, Tirana)
The competition will take place on the 2021-2024 cycle, at least.
What is there to gain?
The winner will be awarded a place in the following season’s UEFA Europa League group stage if they have not qualified for the UEFA Champions League through their league.
Why this competition?
The new UEFA club competition structure ensures that at least 34 UEFA national associations are represented in the group stage of one or more competitions.
There will be a minimum of 14 national champions in the UEFA Champions League group stage, between 8 and 11 national champions in the UEFA Europa League group stage and between 9 and 12 national champions in the UEFA Europa League group stage. the UEFA Conference League. All member associations will have access to the three club competitions, and the quotas of all associations will remain unchanged.
UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said: “UEFA’s new club competition makes UEFA’s club competitions more inclusive than ever before. There will be more matches for more clubs and more associations represented in the group stages”.
Link between UEFA Conference League on other competitions
The launch of the UEFA Europa Conference League does not imply any change to the UEFA Champions League. The UEFA Europa League group stage has been reduced from 48 to 32 teams, eight groups of four.
The eight UEFA Europa League group winners have qualified for the round of 16. There is also an additional play-off round before the UEFA Europa League round of 16, between the eight runners-up from the UEFA Europa League and the eight third-placed groups from the UEFA Champions League.
The UEFA Europa League entry list has also been changed. It automatically includes the winner of the UEFA Europa Conference League who is joined by eleven teams that qualify directly within their national association. In addition, ten teams go through the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Europa League and another ten go through the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Champions League.
UEFA Conference League logo
Following the announcement of the National Arena in Tirana, Albania, as the venue which will have the honor of hosting the first-ever UEFA Europa Conference League final, the competition’s logo has also been unveiled. It features the new tournament trophy, which is placed between two semi-circles, in keeping with the UEFA Europa League logo. The logo was designed to be bold and iconic, ensuring clear visibility across all platforms.