UEFA Europa Conference League
UEFA Europa Conference League.svg
Organising bodyUEFA
Founded21 May 2021
RegionEurope
Number of teams32 (group stage)[a]
184 (total)
Qualifier forUEFA Europa League
Related competitionsUEFA Champions League (1st tier)
UEFA Europa League (2nd tier)
Current championsItaly Roma (1st title)
Most successful club(s)Italy Roma (1 title)
Television broadcastersList of broadcasters
WebsiteOfficial website
2022–23 UEFA Europa Conference League

The UEFA Europa Conference League (abbreviated as UECL) 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 active European club football competitions, after the Champions League and the Europa League.

First contested in the 2021–22 season, the competition serves as the bottom level of the Europa League, which was reduced from 48 to 32 teams in the group stage. The competition is primarily 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]

Roma are the inaugural winners of the competition, having beaten Feyenoord 1–0 in the 2022 final.

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 player Evo Christ in a 2021–22 qualifying round match against Spartak Trnava.[6] The first ever goal in the Europa Conference League group stage was scored on 14 September 2021 by Maccabi Tel Aviv player Stipe Perica in a 2021–22 group stage match against Alashkert. On 30 September 2021, the competition's first ever hat-trick was scored by Harry Kane for Tottenham Hotspur in a group stage match against Mura. Kane came on as a 59th minute substitute at 2–1 before scoring three goals within 20 minutes of each other in order to finish off the game (5–1).[7] On 24 February 2022, PAOK became the first ever team to win a Conference League tie on penalties, after beating Danish side Midtjylland 5–3 in a knockout round play-off match.[8] On 5 May 2022, Feyenoord and Roma became the first teams ever to reach the final of UECL, ending with Roma crowned as the inaugural champions.[9]

Format

Qualification

See also: UEFA coefficient

Map of UEFA associations whose teams reached the group stage of the UEFA Europa Conference League .mw-parser-output .legend{page-break-inside:avoid;break-inside:avoid-column}.mw-parser-output .legend-color{display:inline-block;min-width:1.25em;height:1.25em;line-height:1.25;margin:1px 0;text-align:center;border:1px solid black;background-color:transparent;color:black}.mw-parser-output .legend-text{}  UEFA member association that has been represented in the group stage   UEFA member association that has not been represented in the group stage
Map of UEFA associations whose teams reached the group stage of the UEFA Europa Conference League
  UEFA member association that has been represented in the group stage
  UEFA member association that has not been represented in the group stage

Similar to the UEFA Champions League, qualification to the Europa Conference League is split into two paths – separating champions and non-champions - and contains three rounds plus a play-off.[10] 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 either directly into the UEFA Europa Conference League (from UCL Q1&PR to UECL Q2) or via a second relegation from the UEFA Europa League as a result of two straight eliminations (from UCL Q2 to UEL Q3 then to UECL PO).[10]

The association ranking based on the UEFA country coefficients is used to determine the number of participating teams in main path qualification for each association (excluding 3 relegations from UEL Q3 out of five N2s in associations 10–15 and three CWs in associations 13–15):[10]

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 sees eight groups of four teams, followed by the round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final. An additional preliminary knockout round is 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 features 141 matches over 15 match weeks.[2] 56 teams take part.

The final is played at a neutral venue. The winner of the competition is entitled to participate in the UEFA Europa League the following season. The competition's matches are 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 the Premier League.

Teams entering in this round Teams advancing from previous round Teams transferred from Champions League Teams 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 round Champions
(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 round Champions
(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 round Champions
(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.[11]

For the 2022–23 season, group stage participation in the Europa Conference League is 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.[12]

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

Records and statistics

Performances by club

Main article: List of UEFA Europa Conference League finals

Performance in the UEFA Conference League by club
Club Winners Runners-up Years won Years runner-up
Italy Roma 1 0 2022
Netherlands Feyenoord 0 1 2022

All-time rankings

As of 25 May 2022
Rank Club Seasons Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts CH F SF QF
1 Netherlands Feyenoord 1 13 8 4 1 28 16 +12 20 0 1 0 0
2 Italy Roma 1 13 8 3 2 28 15 +13 19 1 0 0 0
3 Norway Bodø/Glimt 1 12 7 4 1 25 14 +11 18 0 0 0 1
4 Greece PAOK 1 12 6 2 4 14 10 +4 14 0 0 0 1
5 Austria LASK 1 8 6 1 1 17 8 +9 13 0 0 0 0
6 France Marseille 1 8 6 1 1 15 7 +8 13 0 0 1 0
7 Czech Republic Slavia Prague 1 12 5 3 4 25 22 +3 13 0 0 0 1
8 France Rennes 1 8 5 2 1 15 10 +5 12 0 0 0 0
9 Denmark Copenhagen 1 8 5 1 2 19 13 +6 11 0 0 0 0
10 Netherlands AZ 1 8 4 3 1 11 7 +4 11 0 0 0 0
11 Switzerland Basel 1 8 4 2 2 16 10 +6 10 0 0 0 0
12 England Leicester City 1 8 4 2 2 13 7 +6 10 0 0 1 0
13 Netherlands Vitesse 1 10 4 2 4 16 13 +3 10 0 0 0 0
14 Serbia Partizan 1 10 4 2 4 12 13 -1 10 0 0 0 0
15 Israel Maccabi Tel Aviv 1 8 3 3 2 15 6 +9 9 0 0 0 0
16 Belgium Gent 1 8 4 1 3 7 5 +2 9 0 0 0 0
17 Azerbaijan Qarabağ 1 8 3 2 3 11 14 -3 8 0 0 0 0
18 Netherlands PSV Eindhoven 1 6 2 3 1 11 7 +4 7 0 0 0 1
19 Slovakia Slovan Bratislava 1 6 2 2 2 8 7 +1 6 0 0 0 0
20 Denmark Randers 1 8 1 4 3 11 16 -5 6 0 0 0 0
21 England Tottenham Hotspur 1 6 2 1 3 11 11 0 5 0 0 0 0
22 Germany Union Berlin 1 6 2 1 3 8 9 -1 5 0 0 0 0
23 Czech Republic Jablonec 1 6 1 3 2 6 8 -2 5 0 0 0 0
24 Cyprus Anorthosis 1 6 1 3 2 6 9 -3 5 0 0 0 0
25 Ukraine Zorya Luhansk 1 6 2 1 3 5 11 -6 5 0 0 0 0
26 Estonia Flora 1 6 1 2 3 5 8 -3 4 0 0 0 0
27 Cyprus Omonia 1 6 0 4 2 5 10 -5 4 0 0 0 0
28 Finland HJK 1 6 2 0 4 5 15 -10 4 0 0 0 0
29 Romania CFR Cluj 1 6 1 1 4 4 7 -3 3 0 0 0 0
30 Israel Maccabi Haifa 1 6 1 1 4 2 7 -5 3 0 0 0 0
31 Denmark Midtjylland 1 2 1 0 1 2 2 0 2 0 0 0 0
32 Austria Rapid Wien 1 2 1 0 1 2 3 -1 2 0 0 0 0
33 Kazakhstan Kairat 1 6 0 2 4 6 11 -5 2 0 0 0 0
34 Slovenia Mura 1 6 1 0 5 5 14 -9 2 0 0 0 0
35 Bulgaria CSKA Sofia 1 6 0 1 5 3 13 -10 1 0 0 0 0
36 Armenia Alashkert 1 6 0 1 5 4 15 -11 1 0 0 0 0
37 Turkey Fenerbahçe 1 2 0 0 2 4 6 -2 0 0 0 0 0
38 Czech Republic Sparta Prague 1 2 0 0 2 1 3 -2 0 0 0 0 0
39 Scotland Celtic 1 2 0 0 2 1 5 -4 0 0 0 0 0
40 Gibraltar Lincoln Red Imps 1 6 0 0 6 2 17 -15 0 0 0 0 0

Note: Clubs ranked on theoretical points total (2 points for a win, 1 point for draw, results after extra time count, all matches that went to penalties count as draw). Excludes qualifying matches.

Number of participating clubs in the group stage

Nation No. Clubs Years
Netherlands Netherlands (3) 2 AZ 2021–22, 2022–23
1 Feyenoord 2021–22
1 Vitesse 2021–22
Czech Republic Czech Republic (3) 2 Slavia Prague 2021–22, 2022–23
1 Jablonec 2021–22
1 Slovácko 2022–23
Cyprus Cyprus (3) 1 Anorthosis 2021–22
1 Omonia 2021–22
1 Apollon Limassol 2022–23
Denmark Denmark (3) 1 Copenhagen 2021–22
1 Randers 2021–22
1 Silkeborg 2022–23
Israel Israel (3) 1 Maccabi Haifa 2021–22
1 Maccabi Tel Aviv 2021–22
1 Hapoel Be'er Sheva 2022–23
Belgium Belgium (2) 2 Gent 2021–22, 2022–23
1 Anderlecht 2022–23
Romania Romania (2) 2 CFR Cluj 2021–22, 2022–23
1 FCSB 2022–23
Armenia Armenia (2) 1 Alashkert 2021–22
1 Pyunik 2022–23
Austria Austria (2) 1 LASK 2021–22
1 Austria Wien 2022–23
England England (2) 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2021–22
1 West Ham United 2022–23
France France (2) 1 Rennes 2021–22
1 Nice 2022–23
Germany Germany (2) 1 Union Berlin 2021–22
1 1. FC Köln 2022–23
Italy Italy (2) 1 Roma 2021–22
1 Fiorentina 2022–23
Norway Norway (2) 1 Bodø/Glimt 2021–22
1 Molde 2022–23
Ukraine Ukraine (2) 1 Zorya Luhansk 2021–22
1 Dnipro-1 2022–23
Turkey Turkey (2) 1 İstanbul Başakşehir 2022–23
1 Sivasspor 2022–23
Serbia Serbia (1) 2 Partizan 2021–22, 2022–23
Slovakia Slovakia (1) 2 Slovan Bratislava 2021–22, 2022–23
Switzerland Switzerland (1) 2 Basel 2021–22, 2022–23
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan (1) 1 Qarabağ 2021–22
Bulgaria Bulgaria (1) 1 CSKA Sofia 2021–22
Estonia Estonia (1) 1 Flora 2021–22
Finland Finland (1) 1 HJK 2021–22
Gibraltar Gibraltar (1) 1 Lincoln Red Imps 2021–22
Greece Greece (1) 1 PAOK 2021–22
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan (1) 1 Kairat 2021–22
Slovenia Slovenia (1) 1 Mura 2021–22
Kosovo Kosovo (1) 1 Ballkani 2022–23
Latvia Latvia (1) 1 RFS 2022–23
Liechtenstein Liechtenstein (1) 1 Vaduz 2022–23
Lithuania Lithuania (1) 1 Žalgiris 2022–23
Poland Poland (1) 1 Lech Poznań 2022–23
Republic of Ireland Republic of Ireland (1) 1 Shamrock Rovers 2022–23
Scotland Scotland (1) 1 Heart of Midlothian 2022–23
Spain Spain (1) 1 Villarreal 2022–23
Sweden Sweden (1) 1 Djurgården 2022–23

Team in Bold: qualified for knockout phase

Performances by nation

Performance in finals by nation
Nation Winners Runners-up Total
 Italy 1 0 1
 Netherlands 0 1 1

Awards

Starting from the first edition of the competition, UEFA introduced the UEFA Europa Conference League Player of the Season award.

The jury is composed of the coaches of the clubs which participate in the group stage of the competition, together with 55 journalists selected by the European Sports Media (ESM) group, one from each UEFA member association.

A graffito in honour of Jose Mourinho in the streets of Rome
A graffito in honour of Jose Mourinho in the streets of Rome
Winners
Season Player Club
UEFA Europa Conference League Player of the Season
2021–22 Italy Lorenzo Pellegrini Italy Roma

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.

References

  1. ^ a b "'Europa League 2': Uefa confirms new tournament from 2021". BBC Sport. 2 December 2018. Archived from the original on 8 December 2018. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "UEFA Executive Committee approves new club competition". UEFA.com (Press release). Union of European Football Associations. 2 December 2018. Archived from the original on 13 May 2019. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Uefa ponders third competition beneath Champions League and Europa League". The Guardian. Associated Press. 16 September 2015. Archived from the original on 28 April 2019. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  4. ^ "Uefa set to introduce third European club competition from 2021–22". The Guardian. PA Media. 11 September 2018. Archived from the original on 28 April 2019. 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. Archived from the original on 26 September 2019. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
  6. ^ "Mosta vs Spartak Trnava – stats, H2H, lineups". FotMob. Archived from the original on 9 July 2021. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  7. ^ "Harry Kane marvels at bonus Europa Conference League hat-trick | Football News". Sky Sports. 1 October 2021. Archived from the original on 2 February 2022. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  8. ^ "ΠΑΟΚ-Μίντγιουλαντ 2–1 (πεν. 5–3): Έγραψε ιστορία ξορκίζοντας κατάρα 48 ετών!" [PAOK-Midtjylland 2–1 (pen. 5–3): He made history by exorcising a 48-year-old curse!] (in Greek). Nova Sports. 25 February 2022. Retrieved 26 February 2022.
  9. ^ "Jose Mourinho: 'A serial winner who has brought Roma to life'". BBC Sport. BBC Sport. 25 May 2022. Retrieved 25 May 2022.
  10. ^ a b c "UEL2 Access List 2021–24" (PDF). UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 2 December 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 December 2018. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  11. ^ "uefadirect 7/09" (PDF). p. 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 August 2020.
  12. ^ "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. Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 August 2021. Retrieved 20 June 2021.