The UEFA Europa Conference League (UECL) is a newly formed competition by UEFA that will start in 2021. The UEFA Conference League will be the 3rd tier of European club football competition, behind the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League.
Subsequently, participants in the Europa League will be reduced from 48 teams to 32.
The new competition was primarily created to be contested by teams from lower-ranked UEFA member associations.
How Can Teams Qualify for the UEFA Europa Conference League
Qualification for the UECL will be based on performance by teams in their respective national league and cup competitions.
However, these teams will play each other in qualifying matches to determine who makes it to the group stages of the UECL.
The teams who qualify directly for the group stage, with the 32 teams consisting of:
• 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
After the group stage, eight group winners automatically go through to the last 16. While there will be extra knockout round play-offs, played before the round of 16 between the eight group runners-up and the third-ranked teams of the UEFA Europa League groups.
Thus, the 8 teams who finished 3rd in their Europa League groups will move to the UEFA Conference League for the knockout stages (like we have in the Europa league where 3rd placed teams in the Champions League group stage join those in the Europa League for the knockout stages).
The winner of the UEFA Conference League automatically qualifies for the Europa League in the following season, except if the team qualified for the Champions League, which is the highest.
The UEFA Conference League matches will be played on Thursdays, like the Europa League.
The 2021/2022 UEFA Europa Conference League
The 2021/22 season — which will be the maiden edition of the competition — will have its qualifiers played between the 8th of July 2021 to the 26th of August, while the competition proper will be from the 16th of September 2021 to the 25th of May 2022.
The final of the 2021/22 season of the UEFA Conference League will be played at the Arena Kombetare in Tirana, Albania on the 25th of May 2022.
The prize money of the UEFA Europa Conference League has not been announced. However, the prize money of the 2019/20 Europa League was €8,500,000, so we expect it to be around that range.