Have you heard of the UEFA Europa Conference League? No, you won’t be the only one.
Scottish clubs are gearing up for the inaugural competition as the New Look competition makes its debut.
But what is it and what does it mean for our teams?
As Rangers and Celtic aim for the Champions League, there is a great opportunity for Premiership clubs to rub shoulders with some of the European elite.
At first glance, the setup may look like a bronze medal for clubs, but it could be a great opportunity for some successful matches.
Sport record puts new competition under the microscope.
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What is the Conference League?
It’s a new idea from UEFA and the third European football competition behind the Champions League and the Europa League.
It was presented by the governing body as a chance to give more players the chance to experience European football,
“We want to make our competitions more inclusive – to give clubs and supporters the chance to dream and compete for European honors,” said UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin.
“That’s why we created the UEFA Europa Conference League. We have 55 national associations that make up UEFA, and it’s important to give clubs from as many federations as possible the opportunity to extend their European campaigns as long as possible.
A total of 184 teams will be involved during the season, including at least one from each of the 55 associations and 46 clubs transferred from the UEFA Champions League or the UEFA Europa League.
The competing teams will all try to advance to the group stage, which, like the UEFA Champions League and the condensed UEFA Europa League, will consist of eight groups of four teams, followed by the knockout stages, the round of 16, quarter-finals. finals, semi-finals and final.
So who is in the competition?
Well, first of all from Scotland, St Johnstone has the best chance of qualifying for the group stage if he drops out of the Europa League.
The Callum Davidson are no longer assured of the groups after the results of the final day in England and Spain, but they will only have to qualify for the play-offs after winning the Scottish Cup even if they cannot. reach second level competition.
Alternatively, by winning their draw in the third round of the Europa League and then losing in that play-off, they will jump straight into the group stage of the Conference.
Aberdeen and defeated finalists Hibs are also heading to the Europa Conference League qualifying rounds after their top four Premiership spots.
Teams that finished sixth or seventh in England, Spain, Germany and Italy will also participate in the competition.
The Scottish teams are therefore faced with the prospect of facing West Ham, Tottenham, Villarreal, Real Betis, Bayer Leverkusen, Union Berlin, Lazio and Roma.
Basel, Ghent, Feyenoord, Rosenborg, CSKA Sofia, Hajduk Split, Osijek, AEK Athens and Molde are all in the qualifying round.
When is the draw?
All clubs will meet their Europa Conference League opponents on 16 June 2021. The draw will take place at 12 noon UK time at UEFA headquarters in the Swiss city of Nyon.
When is the final?
The centerpiece will take place on May 25, 2022 in Tirana, Albania.