The new tournament is aimed to give teams from lower-ranked leagues a shot at European glory.
The UEFA Europa Conference League as it’s been named, will be an opportunity for clubs from lower UEFA member associations to get a chance to participate in a UEFA competition. Indeed, only one team from each of the top five leagues in Europe will get the opportunity to participate in this tournament.
For the Premier League sides, the team which wins the 2020-21 Carabao Cup or finishes sixth or seventh in the league will guarantee qualification for this tournament. The competition will have three qualifying rounds along with a play-off round to decide which teams will make it to the group stages.
UEFA Europa Conference League Details
The first qualifying rounds will see 72 teams participating, comprising of the 26 league runners-up, 22 third-placed teams and 24 cup winners from UEFA’s member associations ranked from 29 to 54.
The 36 winners from those games will directly move onto the second qualification rounds, which will see 90 teams comprising of 14 domestic cup winners, 14 domestic league runners-up, 16 league third-placed teams, nine fourth-place teams and 1 fifth-placed team from member association 6 to 29.
Moreover, 20 losers from the UEFA Champions League preliminary rounds and first qualifying rounds will also be directly placed into these qualifying rounds. 10 teams from those matches between Champions League losers will move into the third-qualifying rounds, while 45 teams from the second qualifying rounds non-champions sides will also progress into it.
One domestic league fourth-placed team from association six(Russia) will also move into the third-qualifying rounds along with six domestic third-placed teams from association seven to 12. In the final qualifying round(called the playoff round), five winners from the Champions League losers will move come in along with eight new teams from the Europa League third-qualifying round losers.
The playoff round will have 26 teams from the third-qualifying rounds non-champions side, along with four domestic sixth-place teams from the top four European leagues and one fifth-place team from Ligue 1.
So when the competition properly starts in the group stages, 5 winners from the play-off rounds for Champions sides will be pit against 17 non-champions playoff rounds winners along with 10 losers from the Europa League play-off rounds.
There will be eight groups of four teams each, with the group winner directly qualifying for the round of 16.
However, the runners-up of each group will be pitted against the 8 third-placed teams from the UEFA Europa League group stages in a preliminary knockout round. The 8 winners from this stage will face the 8 group winners from the UECL group stages in the round of 16.
After that, the math is quite simple with the round of 16 being followed by quarter-finals, semi-finals and finally the grand finale.
This competition has basically been created to give relatively smaller teams their glory in the European stage and is doing exactly that with complicated qualifying methods.
There was a third-European competition many years ago in the UEFA Cup Winners Cup, which was abandoned in 2001. Almost two decades later, another third-tier European competition has come up to lie as a trophy-winning opportunity for the mid-table sides from the different European nations.