What is the Europa Conference League? Who has qualified?

Tottenham Hotspur‘s 4-2 victory over Leicester City yesterday qualified them to be the sole English representative in the new UEFA Europa Conference League.

The competition, which will take place for the first time next season, is a step below the Europa League, and will mean that three UEFA-organised European competitions will take place in the same season for the first time since 1998/99.

What is the competition, and who has qualified?

What is the Europa Conference League?

The Europa Conference League was announced by UEFA in 2018, and will contain 32 clubs.

It is the third domestic European competition, below the Europa League and Champions League.

The winner of the competition will qualify for the following season’s Europa League group stage, unless they have already qualified for the Champions League.

How will the Europa Conference League work?

The competition will begin with a series of qualifying rounds, before the play-off round takes place at the beginning of August.

The play-off round will consist of 44 teams, including the eight teams eliminated from the Europa League third qualifying round via both the Champions Path and the Main Path.

That is the stage at which clubs from the five main associations will join, with Spurs, Villarreal, Rennes, Union Berlin and Roma all involved.

The group stage begins in September and will contain 32 teams, including the 10 teams eliminated from the Europa League play-off round.

The eight group winners will advance straight to the knockout stage, whilst the teams that finish second and third in their respective group play in a preliminary knockout stage.

From there, the competition transitions into a traditional knockout format, with the final taking place on May 25, 2022.

Who qualifies for the Europa Conference League?

Unlike the other two competitions, there is more of a focus on those countries with lower UEFA Association Rankings as far as qualification numbers are concerned.

The five highest-ranked associations (Spain, England, Germany, Italy, France) are allocated one spot. Those ranked below them are allocated two to three spots.

Liechtenstein (ranked 31st) are the exception. All seven teams in Liechtenstein play within the Swiss league system, so only the winners of the Liechtenstein Football Cup qualify.

Below is how the allocations are awarded:

Associations ranked 1-5 – One spot

Associations ranked 6-16 – Two spots

Associations ranked 17-30 & 32-50 – Three spots

Associations ranked 51-55 – Two spots

Which teams are already qualified?

The majority of sides that will enter in the opening two qualifying rounds have already been decided. The third qualifying round and the play-off stage so far consists of the following teams:

Third qualifying round

  • Anderlecht (Belgium)
  • LASK (Austria)
  • Kolos Kovalivka (Ukraine)
  • Pacos de Ferreira (Portugal)
  • Rubin Kazan (Russia)
  • Trabzonspor (Turkey)
  • Vitesse (Netherlands)

Play-off stage

  • Rennes (France)
  • Roma (Italy)
  • Tottenham Hotspur (England)
  • Union Berlin (Germany)
  • Villarreal (Spain) – could still qualify for Europa League if they win UEL final

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