Europa Conference League: Everything you need to know

The UEFA Europa Conference League, which launches this season, will run alongside the Champions League and Europa League.

Published: 9 September 2021 - 2.35pm

A third season-long UEFA club competition, the Europa Conference League, has launched this season.

With days to go until the group stage begins, we explain exactly what it is and everything you need to know.

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What is the Europa Conference League?

The Europa Conference League is another UEFA club competition that will run alongside the Champions League and Europa League from this season.

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.

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.

What are the groups?

Group A: LASK, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Alashkert, HJK Helsinki

Group B: Gent, Partizan, Flora, Anorthosis

Group C: Roma, Zorya Luhansk, CSKA-Sofia, Bodø/Glimt

Group D: AZ Alkmaar, CFR Cluj, Jablonec, Randers

Group E: Slavia Praha, Feyenoord, Union Berlin, Maccabi Haifa

Group F: Copenhagen, PAOK, Slovan Bratislava, Lincoln Red Imps

Group G: Tottenham, Rennes, Vitesse, Mura

Group H: Basel, Qarabağ, Kairat Almaty, Omonoia

Who qualified from the Premier League?

The seventh-placed Premier League team qualifies for the competition.

Tottenham are England’s first ever representatives after they pipped north London rivals Arsenal to seventh on the last day of the 2020/21 Premier League season.

A late double from Gareth Bale earned Spurs a win over Leicester to earn them a place in the new inaugural competition.

They still had to qualify, though. After a 1-0 away defeat to Portuguese side Paços de Ferreira, Harry Kane scored twice in a landmark night after he committed his future to the club in a 3-0 win.

Who qualified from the Scottish Premiership?

There will be no Scottish clubs in the competition after Aberdeen and St Johnstone were both eliminated in the final round of qualifying.

The Dons were outclassed by Azerbaijan’s Qarabag, losing 3-1 on aggregate, while St Johnstone were beaten by Austrian side LASK.

How can I watch the games?

BT Sport will show every game from the Europa Conference League this season, with each match available on btsport.com and the award-winning BT Sport app.

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 games.

The group stage runs from Thursday 16 September to Thursday 9 December.

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.

The Europa Conference League final will be held in Tirana, Albania in 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 through 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.