The Europa Conference League is a new addition to the European football calendar this season and Tottenham begins their campaign this week as the Premier League’s sole representative.
Sport Telegraph explains how the tournament will be structured …
What is the Europa League Conference?
Originally dubbed “Europa League 2” (UEL2), the Europa Conference League is a new UEFA competition which is considered the third tier of European club football, after the Champions League and the Europa League.
The competition will initially run over three seasons from 2021 to 2024 as UEFA assesses its viability. The competition started with qualifying rounds in July, with the competition starting properly in September.
The idea behind the new competition is to allow more teams to gain experience playing European football.
UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said: “The new UEFA club competition makes UEFA club competitions more inclusive than ever. There will be more matches for more clubs, with more clubs. associations represented in group stages. ”
How will the competition work?
After the first three qualifying rounds, the last of which will take place on August 19 and 26, the competition itself will follow a structure similar to the current iteration of the Champions League.
Thirty-two teams will advance to the group stage, with these teams divided into eight groups of four. There will then be a traditional knockout format from the round of 16 to a final, with knockout matches played over two sets. As with other UEFA competitions, the away goal rule will apply.
In order to automatically qualify for the round of 16, a team must win the group. The second-placed team from each group will participate in a qualifying round for the knockout stage, where they will face the third-placed teams from the Europa League groups. The winners of these matches will enter the last 16 of the Europa Conference League.
A total of 141 matches will be played over the course of 15 weeks during the tournament itself. The winner of the tournament will automatically qualify for the Europa League next season.
How many qualified English teams?
Only Tottenham have qualified for the Europa Conference League. The place had been given to the winners of the EFL Cup, but Manchester City winning the competition meant that the place went to the team which finished seventh in the Premier League, namely Spurs.
Who is Tottenham playing?
Spurs ended a disappointing campaign last season with an entertaining 4-2 victory at Leicester to retain seventh place and ensure they will be the first representatives of English football in UEFA’s new tertiary competition.
They start with the Portuguese team Pacos Ferreira, who have spent the vast majority of the last two decades in the top flight. Pacos Ferreira finished fifth in the Portuguese Primeira Liga last season. Their home stadium is the Estádio da Capital do Móvel, which has a capacity of 9,146.