Europa League

UEFA Europa League Review

The UEFA Europa League is the second most important tournament in Europa. It always comprises 48 European clubs. The UEL has six rounds, and the one team that grabs the title automatically wins the right to compete in next year’s Champions League.

A lot has changed since season 1971-1972 when the tournament began. One season after another, the UEL picked up the pace and quickly became one of the most important tournaments in Europe. Fast forward to 2009 when a lot of changes were introduced, especially regarding the qualifications procedures.

From that year on, all seasons share the same rules: the teams that are eager to join the UEL must reach the finals of their domestic leagues or the domestic cup tournaments respectively. This way, only the top European teams have the chance to secure their spot among the other UEL competitors.

UEFA Europa League Rules

But ranks are not as simple as they look, and the road to the UEL is harder than it seems at first glance. For example, teams in higher-ranked associations in UEFA’s coefficients start qualifying later, and vice versa. In total, there are four qualification rounds for the UEL. The results of each team during any round become part of a coefficient system that comprises all results from every association. The scores that help generate this system are harvested from the past five UEL and Champions League seasons.

There is also a direct correlation between these two championships. Some teams may qualify directly for the UEL based on their successful performance in the domestic championships, but others have another way of qualifying. The six teams that were dropped from the Champions League playoffs automatically get the chance to compete in the group phase of the UEL.

The above means that not all 48 teams walk the same path toward a UEL qualification. Here is how they can be differentiated:

  • 21 teams qualify through the standard UEL process
  • 17 teams qualify for the group phase thanks to their coefficients
  • 6 teams qualify automatically as Champions League drop-outs
  • 4 teams qualify after dropping out from the Champions League third qualifying round

The most successful club in the history of the UEL is Sevilla. The club has a whopping five titles (2006, 2007, 2014, 2015, and 2016).