UEFA have announced the formal title of its third club competition which will begin in 2021.
Created “with a view to giving more clubs in more countries a chance to participate in European football,” it will be called the Europa Conference League.
UEFA previously had a long-running third competition for only domestic cup winners – the Cup Winners Cup – but that was disbanded in 2001.
Over the last 18 years, the Champions League has remained constant, with the UEFA Cup having been repackaged as the Europa League.
Now, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin confirmed at a meeting of UEFA’s executive committee the plan for the new competition.
The winners of the Carabao Cup in 2020/21, or the side who finishes 6th or 7th in the Premier League, will be the Premier League’s sole representative in the inaugural competition.
Only five teams from the top five leagues – England, Spain, Germany, Italy, France – will enter, as opposed to the 15 from those nations that currently take part in the Europa League.
The UECL will comprise of 32 teams with eight groups of four. They will then be whittled down to a round of 16, following a play-off fixture between the second-placed teams and those who finish third in the Europa League.
Quarter-finals and semi-finals will follow suit, before a 141st game – the final of the competition.
UEFA also confirmed that VAR will be used from the beginning of the knockout stages in this season’s Europa League, as well as confirming numerous stadiums that will be on final duties in the coming years.
Wembley will host the Champions League final in 2023, with Munich’s Allianz Arena in 2022 and St Petersburg the previous year.
The 2021 European Super Cup will be held in Belfast, with Sevilla’s Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan hosting that year’s Europa League final.
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