Have you heard of the new UEFA Conference League? If you haven’t, don’t worry as it seems to have been missed by a lot of people. The all-new tournament from UEFA will kick off during the 2021-22 season. So, what is the UEFA Conference League?
What is the Conference League?
The Conference League is a third club cup contest presented by UEFA. It will begin in 2021-22 with teams taking part that missed out on both Champions League and Europa League qualification. In essence, the new tournament takes the place of the old Cup Winners’ Cup, which was abandoned in 1999.
What will the tournament look like?
The winner of the Europa Conference League will qualify directly to the following season’s Europa League and begin at the group stage. Teams that finish second in Conference groups must play a play-off against the third-placed teams from the Europa League to qualify for the Conference round of 16.
In years past, teams that lost in the Champions League qualification rounds were relegated to the Europa League. That will change from 2021. The Europa League will have 32 teams and no team will come from the Champions League qualification stage. Instead, those teams will help make up the UEFA Conference League.
The Conference League will feature 32 teams divided into eight groups. The groups will be slimmed down to 16 teams courtesy of the playoff fixture between the second-placed teams and those third-place finished from the Europa League.
The tournament’s creation will allow more nations to be represented in UEFA competitions. It is hoped some of the countries that rarely see teams make it to the latter stages of the Europa League or Champions League can qualify for a final.