It is not only about the UEFA Champions League as far as Europe’s continental-level tournament is concerned. While it is true that the Champions League remains the ultimate tournament that teams look to be a part of and win, the sport’s governing body in Europe has ensured that there are other things to look forward to and chase if one has not been able to make it to the best competition.
Closely behind in importance and stature is the Europa League. However, the UEFA had decided to add yet another European competition last season which meant more opportunities for teams who have missed out on qualifying from either the Champions League or Europa League and thus came into existence the Europa Conference League.
How do clubs qualify?
The usual norm is that the top-four teams in the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, and Bundesliga qualify for the UEFA Champions League. The top two teams from Ligue 1 also directly qualify for the group stage of the Champions League but the third-placed team in the league will advance to the third qualifying round before a playoff to reach the group stage.
Similarly, the fifth-placed team from Premier League, for instance, qualifies directly into the group stage of the Europa League. The next berth is for the winners of the FA Cup. However, if the winner is already assured of a place in the Champions League through its position in Premier League, then the next best-ranked team will play Europa.
The next competition in the European hierarchy is Europa Conference League and EFL or the Carabao Cup final winners are assured of a group-stage entry into this competition. However, if the EFL cup winners are already assured of a place in other continental events like the Champions League or Europa League the next best-ranked team plays in this competition.
Quite similar is the distribution across the leagues in Europe for example the winner of the Copa del Rey qualifies for the subsequent season’s UEFA Europa League group stage, but if the winner has already qualified for Champions League then the best-ranked team secures qualification in this.
Prize money & perks
The only qualification for the group stage of the Europa Conference League amounts to $3.2m which is roughly over 24 crore Indian Rupee. This amount is a minimum takeaway for the 32 teams which reach there, some through direct qualifications, others through Playoffs.
From there on, there are performance and result-linked bouses before the tournament progresses to the knockout stage. A side that reaches the quarter-final gets $1.1m or over 8.5 crore Indian rupees. The amount escalates to $3.2m for teams that play semis and the eventual champions are awarded $5.4m which is over 41 crore in Indian currency.
Which teams have qualified for Europa Conference League from the 2021-22 season?
Premier League– West Ham United
Serie A- Fiorentina
La Liga– Villarreal
Bunesliga– FC Koln
Ligue 1– Nice (Conference League qualification)
In the 2021-22 edition of the Conference League Jose Mourinho’s Roma will take on Dutch outfit Feyenoord in the first Europa Conference League final on May 25 (May 26 IST) at Arena Kombetare in Tirana, Albania.