UEFA have introduced a brand new tournament - The Conference League - for European clubs in addition to Champions League and Europa League. The tournament has been announced to incorporate the clubs from lower-ranked UEFA member associations. The trophy for the winners of this tournament has also been revealed on Monday.
When is the tournament starting?
The UEFA Conference League is set to kick-off in 2021-22 season and is expected to run at least throughout the 2021-24 cycle.
What is the format of the tournament?
There will be three Qualifying Rounds followed by a Play-Off round before the Group Stage, which will feature a total of 32 teams (8 groups of 4 teams each). It will be followed by knockout stages with the final set to be played on May 25 in Tirana, Albania. Notably, the winners of the tournament will qualify for next year's Europa League.
Which big teams have qualified for the first edition?
Some of the major teams that have qualified for the tournament are: Tottenham (Premier League), Union Berlin (Bundesliga), Villareal (La Liga), AS Roma (Serie A), Rennes (Ligue 1). However, if Villareal wins the Europa League final this week, they will go straight into the Champions League next season and there won't be any representative from Spain in the Conference League.
Who else will join UEFA Conference League?
Apart from all the teams who have already qualified for the tournament on the basis of their performance in domestic leagues this season, the following teams will also enter the tournament at the respective stages:
Second qualifying round: 20 losers from Champions League qualifying enter
Playoff round: 8 losers from Europa League third-qualifying round enter
Group stage: 10 losers from Europa League playoff round enter
Knockout stage: 8 third-placed teams from Europa League groups enter
When will the matches be played?
The matches of Conference League will be played on Thursdays (just like Europa League) at 10:45 PM (IST) and 12:30 AM (IST)