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UEFA Europa League 2

The UEFA Europa League 2 (abbreviated as UEL2) is a new annual football club competition to be organised, starting from 2021, by UEFA for eligible European football clubs.[1] Clubs will qualify for the competition based on their performance in their national leagues and cup competitions. It will be the third tier of European club football, after the Champions League and the Europa League, after which it takes its name. The name "Europa League 2" is a working name only, to be replaced with the official title at a later stage of planning.[1]

UEFA Europa League 2
Founded2021 (planned)
RegionEurope (UEFA)
Number of teams32 (group stage)
38 clubs join from the Champions League and Europa League[a]
176 (total)
Qualifier forUEFA Europa League
Related competitionsUEFA Champions League (1st tier)
UEFA Europa League (2nd tier)

The competition is scheduled to first be run from the 2021–22 season, and will effectively serve as the bottom level of the existing UEFA Europa League competition, which is due to be reduced to 32 teams in the group stage. The competition will primarily be contested by teams from lower-ranked UEFA member associations.[1]

Contents

HistoryEdit

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 to have a chance of progressing to the later stages beyond the stages they traditionally would be eliminated in the Champions League and Europa League.[2] 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 into two, with the lower-half forming the nucleus of what would be the new event.[3]

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 announcing that the new tournament would bring "more matches for more clubs and more associations".[4]

FormatEdit

QualificationEdit

Similarly to the UEFA Champions League, qualification to the Europa League 2 will be split into two "paths" - the Champions Path and the League Path. Unlike the Champions League, however, the Champions Path will only be contested by teams which have lost qualification matches in the Champions League and consequently have been relegated directly into the UEL2.

Qualification to the League Path is based on the standard UEFA coefficient criterion common to UEFA tournaments.[5] Each association shall have three berths, except for:

  • Nations ranked 1 through 5, which shall only have one;
  • Nations ranked 6 through 15, which shall have two;
  • Nations ranked 52 through 55, which shall have two, excluding:
  • Liechtenstein and San Marino which due to their small size will both submit only one team to the tournament, with no further entries into the primary Europa League henceforth

Based on this reorganisation of UEFA football 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 phaseEdit

The format will see eight groups of four teams, followed by the round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final. An additional preliminary knockout round will be 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 will feature 141 matches over 15 match weeks.[4]

The winner of the new competition will be entitled to participate in the UEFA Europa League in the following season. The new competition matches will be played on Thursdays.[4]

Distribution (from 2021–22 to 2023–24)Edit

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 and France allocate their lowest-ranked qualification place to the winners of their second domestic cup competitions.

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
  • 24 domestic league runners-up from associations 30–55 (except Liechtenstein and Kosovo)
  • 21 domestic third-placed teams from associations 29–51 (except Liechtenstein)
Second qualifying round Champions
(20 teams)
  • 20 losers from Champions League preliminary and first qualifying rounds
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 association 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 associations 6
  • 45 winners from the second qualifying round for non-champions
Play-off round Champions
(10 teams)
  • 5 winners from the second qualifying round for champions
  • 5 losers from the Europa League third qualifying round for champions
Non-champions
(34 teams)
  • 4 domestic league sixth-placed qualifiers from associations 1–4
  • 1 domestic league fifth-placed qualifier from association 5
  • 26 winners from the third qualifying round for non-champions
  • 3 losers from the 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 losers from the Europa League play-off round
Preliminary knockout stage
(16 teams)
  • 8 group runners-up from the group stage
  • 8 group third-placed teams from the group stage
Knockout phase
(16 teams)
  • 8 group winners from the group stage
  • 8 winners from the preliminary knockout stage

NotesEdit

  1. ^ 20 losing teams from the UEFA Europa League Champions Path join in the Second Qualifying Round and a further five join in the Play-off round. Additionally, three teams join from the Europa League in the Play-off round.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "'Europa League 2': Uefa confirms new tournament from 2021". BBC Sport. 2 December 2018. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  2. ^ "Uefa ponders third competition beneath Champions League and Europa League". The Guardian. 16 September 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Uefa set to introduce third European club competition from 2021-22". The Guardian. 11 September 2018. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "UEFA Executive Committee approves new club competition". UEFA. 2 December 2018. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  5. ^ "UEL2 Access List 2021–24" (PDF). UEFA. 2 December 2018. Retrieved 2 December 2018.

External linksEdit