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Europa Conference League: Everything you need to know
The UEFA Europa Conference League, launching in 2021/22, will run alongside the Champions League and Europa League.
A third season-long UEFA club competition is launching next year when the Europa Conference League begins.
With qualifying places still up for grabs, we explain exactly what it is and everything you need to know.
What is the Europa Conference League?
It has been introduced so clubs from more national associations are involved in UEFA competitions. The new structure means that at least 34 nations will be represented in the group stage of the three competitions, with 12 domestic champions set to feature in the Europa Conference League.
One place is also reserved for a Premier League club. Spain, Germany, Italy and France will have one spot, while Scotland, Portugal, Netherlands, Russia and Belgium get two.
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said: “The new UEFA club competition makes UEFA’s club competitions more inclusive than ever before. There will be more matches for more clubs, with more associations represented in the group stages.”
How will it work?
There will be eight groups of four teams in which every team will play each other twice. The group winners automatically qualify for the last 16.
Prior to the first knockout round, an additional play-off round will be contested between the eight group runners-up and the teams who finished in third-place in the Europa League groups. The winners will progress to the last 16 of the Europa Conference League.
Who qualifies from the Premier League?
As it stands, the likelihood is that the seventh-placed Premier League team will be England’s representative in the Europa Conference League.
The winner of the Carabao Cup would ordinarily be granted a place in the competition, but this year it was Manchester City who lifted the cup (for the fourth consecutive season) and they’ve already qualified for the Champions League.
This means that their place will be passed onto the next highest-ranked Premier League side who haven’t qualified for Europe.
Therefore, provided the Foxes remain in their current position, sixth place would get a place in the Europa League and seventh a spot in the inaugural Europa Conference League.
Who qualifies from the Scottish Premiership?
Third-placed Hibernian and fourth-placed Aberdeen have already qualified for the Europa Conference League.
When are the games?
Matches will take place on Thursdays, with kick-offs at 5.45pm and 8pm. They will be played on the same days as the Europa League.
Where will the final be played?
The 2022 final will be played at the Arena Kombëtare in Tirana, Albania.
The national stadium, which has a capacity of 22,500, will host the showpiece on Wednesday 25 May 2022.
What do the winners get?
The winners of the inaugural Europa Conference League will earn a place in the following season’s Europa League group stage if they have not qualified for the Champions League though league position.
Will it impact the Champions League and Europa League?
The introduction of the Europa Conference League means the number of teams competing in the Europa League group stages will be reduced from 48 to 32.
Like in the Europa Conference League, the eight runners-up in the Europa League groups will take on the eight third-placed teams in the Champions League groups for a place in the last 16.
You can watch the Europa Conference League live on BT Sport from the 2021/22 season.