The 2021/22 season will see the introduction of UEFA’s new club competition – the UEFA Europa Conference League – and Roma will be the first Italian club to take part.
With the Europa League being trimmed from 48 teams to just 32, UEFA have introduced a third competition, which will follow a similar format to the Champions League and Europa League.
What is the Europa Conference League?
The Europa Conference League is UEFA’s third club competition, running alongside the Champions League and Europa League with the idea of giving more opportunities for clubs to play European football.
With the Champions League and Europa League packed full of regulars, UEFA have looked to introduce the competition to give other sides the chance to test themselves against teams from across the continent, particularly sides from countries that struggle to make it in either of the two already-existing competitions.
Who will play in the Europa Conference League?
One team from each of Europe’s top five leagues – LaLiga, Serie A, Premier League, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 – will qualify. Nations ranked sixth to 15th will have two teams enter, and nations ranked 16th to 50th will have three teams. Three teams will also enter from nations ranked 51st to 55th, but will have to go through all of the qualifying rounds to make it.
There will be three qualifying rounds and a playoff round before the final 32 teams in the Europa Conference League group stage. Teams who win their playoff will reach the group stage, as will those who lose in the Europa League playoff.
There will be eight groups of four teams, much like the Champions League and, from next season, the Europa League as well.
How will it work?
Each group’s winner will advance to the round of 16. Second-placed sides will then go into another playoff round against the teams who fall down into the Conference League from finishing third in their Europa League groups. The winners of those will advance to face the Europa Conference League group winners in the round of 16.
Games will be played over two legs before a one-legged final. The winner of the competition will qualify for the following season’s Europa League.
The first final of the Europa Conference League will be played on May 25, 2022 in Tirana, Albania.
When will its games be played?
Much like the Europa League, Europa Conference League matches will be played on Thursday evenings. Kick offs will be scheduled for 18:45 and 21:00 Central European Time.